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Katharina Rindler awarded L'Oréal Austria Fellowship

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(Vienna, 14 August 2017) Katharina Rindler is to receive a L'Oréal Austria Research Fellowship for her project, aimed at investigating new metastasis mechanisms in pancreatic cancer. The study is being conducted at MedUni Vienna's Institute of Cancer Research, where Rindler works as a postdoc in Paola Martinelli's working group. She is a member of the Pancreatic Cancer Unit (CCC PCU) of the Comprehensive Cancer Center Vienna of MedUni Vienna/Vienna General Hospital.

Pancreatic cancer is still one of the most frequently terminal cancers in humans. The bleak prognosis is primarily due to the fact that pancreatic tumours migrate into the surrounding tissue, so that they are then very difficult or even impossible to remove surgically.

The reasons for the extremely aggressive spread of pancreatic tumours within the body have not yet been fully explained and there are very few options available for treating the cancer cell mutations we already know about.

However, continuous developments in research have simplified the search for points at which to attack the tumour and could result in personalisation of treatment.

For example, CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing, which is used in Rindler's study, makes it possible to switch off certain genes of tumour cells in a very targeted way. If, in the laboratory, the cancer cells then modify their characteristics in the direction of metastasis or become resistant to treatment with chemotherapy drugs, these cells can be collected and the inactivated genes identified by sequencing.
"We then want to conduct a detailed analysis of the role these genes play in tumour cells, to enable us to infer how the disease will progress and also to test new forms of treatment that have not yet been used for pancreatic cancer. I look forward to tackling this exciting project in Paola Martinelli's working group," says Rindler.

About Katharina Rindler
Katharina Rindler was born in Tamsweg in 1988 and studied genetics and microbiology at the University of Vienna. While still a PhD student at MedUni Vienna's Department of Gynaecology, Rindler was researching cancer and the genes that play a significant role in the development of metastases. She successfully demonstrated that characterising the genetic profile of metastases provides information about the course of the disease. Since 2016, she has held a postdoc post in Paola Martinelli's working group at the Institute of Cancer Research, where she is working on metastasis in pancreatic cancer. Rindler is also a member of the Pancreatic Cancer Unit (CCC PCU) of the Comprehensive Cancer Center of MedUni Vienna/Vienna General Hospital.

About the L'Oreal Austria Research Fellowship
The aim of the L'Oréal Austria Research Fellowship for young female basic scientists is to increase the proportion of women in doctoral and postdoctoral posts within medicine, mathematics and natural sciences. Each fellowship is worth 20,000 euros.

The L'Oréal Austria Fellowships are awarded in collaboration with the Austrian UNESCO Commission and the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) and financially supported by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Science, Research and Economic Affairs.