Three IBG projects will receive funding according to the Evaluation Results of the 1003 Priority Area R&D Funding Programme

Three IBG projects will receive funding according to the Evaluation Results of the 1003 Priority Area R&D Funding Programme

14 out of 358 applications made to the TUBITAK 1003 SBAG support group have been accepted and we are pleased to announce that 3 of these are projects of IBG.

Out of 7 project applications made by IBG, the following three were accepted: Prof. Dr. Mehmet ÖZTÜRK’s “Development and Production of Lung Cancer Monoclonal Antibodies Commonly Used in Clinical Pathology” under the Innovative Diagnostic Kits call, Assoc. Prof. Sinan GÜVEN’s “Development of Corneal Endothelial Cells Through Stem Cell and Bioengineering Approaches” under the Developing Innovative Cell Therapy Products call, Assoc. Prof. Canan Aslı YILDIRIM’s “Development of a New Topical Therapy Method for Macular Corneal Dystrophy” under the Rare Diseases call. We would like to congratulate our investigators who, through their multidisciplinary work and partnerships with public and private universities, increase interaction and thus contribute to bringing our Center to the forefront in national platforms.

Project Name: Development and Production of Lung Cancer Monoclonal Antibodies Commonly Used in Clinical Pathology

Project Topic: Histopathological examination is one of the diagnostic methods using tissue taken from patients. Immunohistochemical (IHC) staining, an indispensable element of this process, is widely and routinely used in pathology laboratories. IHC staining makes antigenic biomarkers on the tissue visualized by binding antibodies. The advantages of IHC staining compared to other techniques can be summarized as follows; (i) easy to apply on formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues (FFPE) obtained from routine tissue follow-up, (ii) technically easy, (iii) provides more selective and sensitive results in the clinic, (iv) efficient in terms of cost and time. In recent years, new molecular biomarkers specific for each malignancy have been discovered and new antibodies have been developed for these. Thanks to these antibodies, which have been shown to be unique to each malignancy, more effective and objective histopathological diagnosis classifications were made possible. With more accurate classification and diagnosis, patients are directed to more effective treatments, thus their survival times can be increased and treatment costs can be reduced.

Although more accurate diagnosis provides many advantages, increased number of antibody panels increases the expense of pathology laboratories. Most of the time, different diagnosis panels must be used together for a diagnosis and IHC staining is required for all those. Every year, approximately 3 million immunohistochemical tests are used in pathology laboratories in Turkey and these antibodies are all imported. Due to high costs of antibodies, our country undergoes major economic losses and it makes our country dependent on outside. The aim of this project is to develop 7 monoclonal antibodies used in diagnosis of lung cancer, the most common cancer in the world. Phage display and hybridoma technologies will be utilized to develop these 7 monoclonal antibodies, and a prototype kit named “lung cancer diagnosis kit for targeted therapy” will be developed.

Project Team:

Izmir Biomedicine and Genome Center (IBG)
Prof. Dr. Mehmet ÖZTÜRK (Project Director)
Dr. Sibel KALYONCU UZUNLAR (Researcher)
Dr. Özden ÖZ (Researcher)

Acıbadem University
Prof. Dr. Ümit İNCE (Advisor)
Assist. Prof. Fatma TOKAT (Advisor)

Project Name: TÜBİTAK 218S989 Generation of cornea endothelium with stem cell and bioengineering approaches

Project Topic: The corneal endothelium is composed as a single layer of specialised endothelial cells, which protects and nourishes the inner surface of the cornea. This layer also serves as a pump, regulating the osmotic balance of the cornea and ensuring its transparency. Corneal endothelial cells do not reproduce after birth and decrease with age. Cell loss could also occur through trauma, inflammation or surgery. When the loss is serious, the osmotic pump mechanism is negatively affected, which could result in corneal oedema that could lead to vision impairment or blindness. Damage in corneal endothelium is one of the most common types of clinical vision impairment, and at present time, it can only be treated through an endothelial layer transplant from another person (endothelial keratoplasty).

Through a cell engineering approach, this project aims to develop the human corneal endothelium in vitro by using stem cells, biomaterials and bioengineering technologies. By means of developing corneal endothelial cells from human-induced pluripotent stem cells, the planned multidisciplinary work aims to develop custom-made artificial corneal endothelial cells through obtaining culture in innovative in vitro platforms. Project outcomes will compensate large gap in ophthalmology and lead the way for stem cell therapies and personalised medicine in clinics.

Project Team

Izmir Biomedicine and Genome Center (IBG)
Assoc. Prof. Sinan GÜVEN (Project Director)
Assoc. Prof. Canan Aslı YILDIRIM (IBG and Asya Biyomedikal)
Assist. Prof. Ezgi KARACA EREK (Researcher)
Assoc. Prof. Duygu SAĞ (Researcher)
Assist. Prof. Serhat TOZBURUN (Advisor)

Izmir Katip Celebi University
Assoc. Prof. Nesrin HORZUM (Sub-project Director)
Assist. Prof. Ozan KARAMAN (Researcher)

Ege University
Assist. Prof. İsmail Hakkı AKGÜN (Sub-project Director)

Izmir Institute of Technology
Assoc. Prof. Ümit Hakan YILDIZ (Advisor)

Project Name: TÜBİTAK 318S208 Development of a topical therapy approach for Macular Corneal Dystrophy

Project Topic: Corneal dystrophies are rare and usually hereditary disorders. Due to the progressive abnormal accumulation of undissolvable proteins on various layers of the cornea the transparency is decreasing and leading to serious visual impairments that can go as far as to blindness. Macular corneal dystrophy (MCD) is a rare autosomal recessive disorder and is estimated to have a prevalence of 9.7 in a million. MCD-specific treatment has not been developed yet. When the vision is drastically affected, then a corneal transplantation is needed. However, due to potential reoccurrence of the MCD and other risks related to corneal transplantation (cataract, glaucoma, graft rejection, etc.), there is a need to develop alternative treatments. This project aims to develop a new medical treatment method based on the molecular mechanism of MCD. The objective is to conduct research on the enzyme replacement therapy method and develop novel topical approaches.

Project Team:

Izmir Biomedicine and Genome Center (IBG)
Assoc. Prof. Canan Aslı YILDIRIM (Project Director)
Dr. Sibel KALYONCU UZUNLAR (Researcher)
Assoc. Prof. Sinan GÜVEN (Advisor)
Prof. Dr. Hüsnü Alper BAĞRIYANIK (Advisor)

Dokuz Eylul University
Prof. Dr. Gülgün OKTAY (Sub-project Director)
Assist. Prof. Nilgün YENER (Researcher)

Izmir International Biomedicine and Genome Institute
Dr. Hasan Buğra ÇOBAN (Researcher)