Otto Loewi Forschungszentrum

Research focus Metabolism and the gut

PI: Rudolf Schicho

Focus: The group focuses on the role of cannabinoid and prostaglandin receptors in models of intestinal inflammation, and of colon and lung cancer. Immune cells are integral part of the inflamed intestinal mucosa and the tumor microenvironment. The behavior of immune cells in this environment is regulated by these receptors and their endogenous ligands, the endocannabinoids and prostaglandins. Pharmacological manipulation of these receptors, therefore, critically influence tumorigenesis and inflammation.

Network: With regard to colon and lung cancer models, the research team closely cooperates with the group of Julia Kargl from the Division of Pharmacology. To investigate immune cell functions in eosinophilic esophagitis, a collaboration with the group of Eva Sturm from the Division of Pharmacology has been established. Collaborations also exist with Christoph Högenauer and Franziska Durchschein from the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology of the Medical University of Graz.


Immune-endocannabinoid system and tumor microenvironment

  • Tumors are infiltrated by immune cells that fundamentally determine the fate of tumor growth. Various components of the endocannabinoid system like cannabinoid receptors and enzymes for degradation of endocannabinoids are expressed in immune cells. In our project, we study the possibility that immune cell functions and tumor growth are influenced by a local ‘immune-endocannabinoid system’. The goal of the project is to find out whether (endo)cannabinoids have therapeutical value for antitumor therapy.
  • Duration: 2020-2024
  • Funded by: FWF
  • Project partners: Julia Kargl (Division of Pharmacology, Medical University of Graz); Johannes Haybäck (Institute of Pathology, Neuropathology and Molecular Pathology, Medical University of Innsbruck); Luca Brcic (Institute of Pathology, Medical University of Graz); Nerea Ferreirós Bouzas (Institute of Clinical Pharmacology, Goethe University Frankfurt / Main, Germany)


Division of Pharmacology

Assoz.-Prof. Priv.-Doz. Mag. Dr.
Rudolf Schicho  
T: +43 316 385 74132