I started my PhD studies at Lund University in the spring of 2010. I work with a group of enzymes, deoxyribonucleoside kinases (dNKs) that can be used as activators of anticancer pro-drugs in suicide gene therapy. The basis of the therapy is that a heterologous kinase gene is introduced into the cancer cells where it will be expressed. The expressed kinase can then activate an otherwise non-toxic pro-drug to its activated toxic form and hereby lead to cell death.
My goal is to find new or improve already known dNKs to use as suicide genes for anti-cancer gene therapy in the treatment of malignant glioma. Malignant gliomas are the most common primary brain tumor in adults; they are rapidly progressive and largely unresponsive to standard therapies.
Currently, I am working with a thymidine kinase from tomato (ToTK1) that in combination with the pro-drug 3-azido-2,3-dideoxythymidine (AZT) shows promising potential for the future treatment of gliomas.