Vital lymphoma research continues with Aust-German collaboration

Microscopy image of Burkitt lymphoma cells - a form of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

Griffith University’s Institute for Glycomics and Germany’s Bremen University have received funding to continue a research exchange program focusing on the development of a novel dual-functional drug delivery system to treat Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, the sixth most common type of cancer in Australia andone of the ten most common globally.

Associate Professor Thomas Haselhorst & Professor Sørge Kelm

Scientists at the Institute for Glycomics led by Associate Professor Thomas Haselhorst will work closely with Bremen University’s Professor Sørge Kelm and his research team to deliver a drug delivery system to target B lymphoma cells and simultaneously trigger an increased drug uptake, causing rapid cell death.

This research could pave the way for alternative treatment for patients suffering from B-cell lymphomas.

“Our research will not only help to develop the next generation of lymphoma treatments that are urgently needed but also foster the mobility of PhD and MSc students, providing opportunities to incorporate complementary experimental expertise in their research projects,” said Associate Professor Thomas Haselhorst.

“We will be using state-of-the-art methods and glycotechnology available at both our laboratories to provide an excellent opportunity to open new avenues in disease control.”

The $25,000 grant from Universities Australia will ensure the exchange of academics between research leaders, young scientists, PhD students and post-doctorates from both countries.

Professor Kelm said the partnership allowed an unprecedented exchange of science between Australia and Germany, complimenting the knowledge-base of all scientists involved.

“It is important for young scientists, PhD students and post-doctorates to be involved in this type of exchange as it will have a huge impact on their research careers,” said Kelm.

World-leading scientist, Professor Mark von Itzstein, will have the honour of accepting the Queen's Baton when it arrives on the Gold Coast campus.
Professor Mark von Itzstein AO

Professor Mark von Itzstein AO, Director of the Institute for Glycomics, was pleased the Australia-Germany research collaboration would continue, as it supports the Institute’s internationalisation strategy to promote collaborative research with German and other world-leading scientists.

“Associate Professor Haselhorst and Professor Kelm have a longstanding collaboration spanning more than a decade, so it will be exciting to see what results their combined research expertise will deliver in our ongoing fight against Lymphoma,” said Professor von Itzstein AO.

Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is a type of blood cancer that affects the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system forms part of the immune system and contains specialised white blood cells called lymphocytes that help protect the body from infection and disease. These abnormal lymphocytes, called lymphoma cells, form collections of cancer cells called tumours, in lymph nodes (glands) and other parts of the body.

In 2015, about 4.3 million people were diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and 231,400 died. Each year in Australia around 5,000 people are diagnosed with lymphoma. Around 85% of these cases are consiered a type of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.

The research exchange program is funded by the Australia—Germany Joint Research Co-operation Scheme (Universities Australia) (Application ID: 57500423).