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Johan Rockberg

Professor of antibody technology and targeted evolution

Today, recent curative medical treatments make it possible for the blind to regain sight and give paralyzed patients control over their arms and legs. Hence advances over the past three years have been revolutionary for our way at looking at healthcare and treatment of at least certain disease. Treatments are based on gene therapy that makes it possible to cure conditions by replacing missing or damaged genes in our cells. However, these treatments remain highly expensive.

Johan Rockberg’s research focuses on how we can get human cells to efficiently and “cheaply” produce the harmless, synthetic viruses required for treatment. One of the key challenges is creating ways for cells to produce viruses without them realizing that they are doing so. Other challenges include preventing viruses from destroying cells, filling viruses with the relevant components, and getting them to right cells of the patients.

To do this, the researchers use a number of so-called omics methods, techniques that provide detailed measurements of DNA, RNA and proteins, to measure how the cells “feel” when they produce viruses. These measurements are used to tailor cells with genetic improvements using the gene editing tool CRISPR-Cas9. Techniques used also include protein engineering which allows to change the surface of the virus so that it will be delivering its cargo to the right cells of the patient.

Belongs to: About KTH
Last changed: Apr 19, 2022
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