The departments of Neuroregeneration and Neuroimmunologyin the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience in Amsterdam are recruiting a post-doctoral fellow for a project entitled "Development of a non-invasive gene therapy for Multiple Sclerosis
". The post-doctoral fellow will be involved in developing non-invasive adeno-associated viral vectors (AAVs) encoding genes involved in myelin repair. These AAVs will be applied in an animal model for MS to investigate the beneficial effects on myelination and functional recovery.Qualifications
You have experience with molecular biological techniques, including plasmid design and cloning, cell culture, plasmid transfections and PCR. Experience with the production of adeno-associated viral vectors and working with laboratory animals would be an asset.Team
The project will be executed in the departments of Neuroregeneration and Neuroimmunology in the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience in close collaboration with the biotechnology company SanaGen B.V. based in Amsterdam.Additional information
The objective of this Health-Holland funded project is to develop a non-invasive restorative gene therapy for Multiple sclerosis (MS). MS is an inflammatory demyelinating disease that affects 2.8 million people worldwide. Demyelination is accompanied by axon damage and disrupts the ability of nerve cells to transmit signals, resulting in physical and mental problems. Disease-modifying anti-inflammatory therapies counteract inflammation in relapsing-remitting MS. Although these immune-modifying treatments are important for reducing the relapse frequency, these drugs are of limited benefit for MS patients with a central nervous system (CNS) that is damaged due to the inflammatory process.
Studies in the Neuroimmunology group headed by Prof. dr. Inge Huitinga on MS-brain tissue from the Netherlands Brain Bank have resulted in the identification of a number of molecular targets that may potentially stop the progression of MS by preventing inflammation-induced tissue damage and promoting myelin repair. In this project a novel non-invasive gene therapy approach, based on a new generation of adeno-associated viral vectors (AAV) that can pass the blood-brain-barrier and operative in the Neuroregeneration group led Prof dr. Joost Verhaagen, will be employed to deliver these targets directly to the CNS in an animal model for MS. The beneficial effects of the non-invasive gene therapy will be investigated by a battery of functional test and by histological analysis of myelin and axon regeneration in brain and spinal cord tissue.
This project is an important first step towards developing a non-invasive restorative treatment for MS and lays the groundwork for a treatment for MS which is radically different from other treatment approaches that are currently used for MS in daily clinical practice. The development of a restorative treatment would have a tremendous positive impact on the quality of life of patients with progressive, chronic MS and would result in significant medical and socio-economic benefits.