Stiftelsen Assar Gabrielssons Fond annually awards, according to its regulations, "two grants for large projects, preferably one for preclinical cancer research and one for clinical cancer research".
This year, two projects of high quality are granted and will receive 600 000 SEK each: Aishe Sarshad's and Ka-Wei Tang's, both researching at the University of Gothenburg.
Project title: RNAi-based tumor treatment – a pre-clinical approach to precision gene silencing
The project aim is to define the mechanism of nuclear RNA interference for the application of precision gene targeting
of cancer driving oncogenes specifically found in the nucleus and evaluate if nuclear targeting is more effective than
the current state of the art silencing strategies.
Aishe Sarshad is a tenure-track Associate Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Biomedicine, University of Gothenburg, as well as a group leader within the WCMTM network. She received her PhD in Medical Science from the Karolinska Institute in 2014 and, after a postdoctoral fellowship with Markus Hafner at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA, Aishe started her lab in January 2020. Her main interest is in RNA biology and her lab aims at unraveling the function of nuclear RNA interference in humans.
Project title: Develop an inhibitor against Epstein-Barr virus BNLF2a for the treatment of associated neoplasms
Ka-Wei Tang is awarded the grant to develop anti-cancer/viral treatment against Epstein-Barr virus associated cancer. The research is focused on characterizing viral expressed genes in primary cancer and inhibition of these elements in tissue models. The grant will support a project for small molecule drug screening against the viral protein BNLF2a which downregulates MHC1 in cancer cells. Disruption of BNLF2a may cause the cancer cells to be recognized by T-lymphocytes and targeted for destruction.
Ka-Wei Tang studied medicine at University of Gothenburg and continued with his graduate and postdoctoral studies at the same institute. He did his internship at Sahlgrenska University Hospital and is currently a resident physician at the department of Clinical Microbiology. In 2018 he was recruited as one of the clinical group leaders to the Wallenberg Centre for Molecular and Translational Medicine. His translational group consists of clinicians, molecular biologists and bioinformaticians.