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Developing mRNA for therapy

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Abendvortrag von Biochemikerin Prof. Dr. Katalin Karikó

Urkundenübergabe Klasse II Lebenswissenschaften & Verleihung der Schleiden-Medaille

Datum: Mittwoch, 19. April 2023
Uhrzeit: 17:00 bis 19:45
Ort: Vortragssaal der Leopoldina, Jägerberg 1, 06108 Halle (Saale)

Messenger RNA was discovered in 1961. But it took 60 years for the first mRNA to be approved by the FDA in the form of the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine. During that time a lot of progress has been made by hundreds of scientists. In 1978, for example, when the first-time isolated mRNA delivered into mammalian cells produced the encoded protein. In vitro transcription introduced in 1984, made it possible to generate mRNA from the encoding plasmid using phage RNA polymerases. In the 1990s mRNA was used for therapy as well as vaccine in animal studies. However, the nucleoside uridine made mRNA inflammatory and too little amount of protein was produced from mRNA. By replacing uridine with the modified version pseudouridine, the mRNA became non-inflammatory, more stable and highly translatable. mRNA is revolutionizing the delivery of effective and safe vaccines, and therapeutics.

Katalin Karikó ML is a Hungarian biochemist. After studying biology and obtaining her PhD at the University of Szeged, she worked at the Biological Research Center of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and later at the University of Pennsylvania in the USA, among others. Throughout her research career, she focused on RNA-mediated mechanisms. Her work enabled the development of mRNA-based vaccines against SARS-Cov-2 in 2020, only a few months after the virus appeared. Karikó has been honored for her contributions with countless awards, honorary doctorates and memberships. She was Senior Vice President at BioNTech between 2013 and 2022.

ML = Mitglied der Leopoldina

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Dr. Henning Steinicke
Abteilung Wissenschaft - Politik - Gesellschaft
Tel.: +49 (0)345 47 239 - 864
E-Mail: politikberatung@leopoldina.org