19 January 2024

BRIC professor Janine Erler awarded Novo Nordisk Foundation Distinguished Innovator Grant

BRIC Professor Janine Erler
Professor Janine Erler is awarded DKK 5,94 million from the Novo Nordisk Foundation

Professor Janine Erler receives a DKK 5,94 million grant to support the development of a new anticancer therapy for clinical applications. Her goal is to produce RNA-based therapies targeting metastatic tumor growth.

A therapy that stops the growth of cancer that has spread through a patient’s body could potentially save the lives of many cancer patients. Professor Janine Erler’s work aims to develop a treatment for cancer patients with metastatic tumors.

Today, you can treat the original tumor, but once the cancer spreads, there are almost no treatments that can stop the growth of the metastatic tumors,” says Janine Erler. “We are designing the therapies and testing them for preclinical proof of concept to enable clinical development and commercialization,” she says.

RNA in cancer research

The Erler Group is focused on understanding what cancer cells need to spread to and grow on metastatic sites in the body. Based on these studies, they have identified the molecules that support metastatic tumor growth.

We will use RNA-based therapies to target these molecules because they are highly selective,” explains Janine Erler.

While RNA medicines are used to tackle a wide variety of human diseases, such therapies have not yet been developed for metastatic cancer. Professor Janine Erler will work together with the expert in RNA therapeutics, Professor Sakari Kauppinen from the Center for RNA Medicine at Aalborg University to develop the novel therapies.

Professor, CEO and founder

Throughout her entire academic career innovation has always been a part of her job. As a CEO and founder of multiple startups, she regards the Distinguished Innovator Grant as both an honor and recognition of her outstanding contributions to innovation.

My lifetime goal is to reduce patients’ suffering, and I have always applied myself where there is a clinical problem. So, I focused my research on metastases and how we can stop them from growing, because there is a lack of effective treatments,” says Janine Erler.