Drug Targeting

  • 3D Images of Cancer Cells in the Body: Medical Physicists from Halle Present new Method

    A picture of a tumor (green) generated with the newly developed technique. Jan Laufer

    Making tumour cells glow: Medical physicists at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) have developed a new method that can generate detailed three-dimensional images of the body's interior. This can be used to more closely investigate the development of cancer cells in the body. The research group presents its findings in "Communication Physics", a journal published by the Nature Publishing Group.

  • A CLOUD of possibilities: Finding new therapies by combining drugs

    Immunofluorescence analysis of prostate cancer cells treated with 15mM flutamide, 35 µM PPC or the combination for 24 h. Scale Bar 20 µM  © Nature Chemical Biology / Stefan Kubicek

    The CeMM Library of Unique Drugs (CLOUD) is the first condensed set of FDA-approved drugs representing the entire target and chemical space of all clinical compounds. Its potential was shown in a combinatorial high throughput screen at the CeMM chemical screening platform, published in Nature Chemical Biology: by testing all CLOUD compounds in combination with each other, a pair of hitherto unrelated drugs proved to be highly effective against multiple prostate cancer cell lines known for their resistance to therapy. Testing CLOUD combinations in this highly automated procedure could pave the way for a new era of drug repurposing and provide novel strategies for personalized medicine.

  • A Step Ahead in Pharmaceutical Research

    Novel sensors make it possible to measure the activation or deactivation of GPCRs with high-throughput methods. Graphic: Hannes Schihada

    Researchers of the University of Würzburg have developed a method that makes it possible to measure the activation of receptors in a very short time. This might speed up the development of new drugs. Hormones and other neurotransmitters, but also drugs, act upon receptors. “Their active substances bind to the receptors and modify the three-dimensional receptor arrangement regulating the downstream signal pathways,” says Hannes Schihada from the Institute for Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Würzburg (JMU). 

  • Better Contrast Agents Based on Nanoparticles

    Scientists at the University of Basel have developed nanoparticles which can serve as efficient contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging. This new type of nanoparticles produce around ten times more contrast than common contrast agents and are responsive to specific environments. The journal Chemical Communications has published these results.

  • Cancer Detection with Sugar Molecules

    Like a spaceship, the complex sugar molecule (coloured) lands exactly on the tumor protein galectin-1, which here looks like a meteorite and is shown in black and white. Picture: Workgroup Seibel, VCH-Wiley

    Scientists from the University of Würzburg have synthesized a complex sugar molecule which specifically binds to the tumor protein Galectin-1. This could help to recognize tumors at an early stage and to combat them in a targeted manner. Galectins are a family of proteins that have become a promising source of cancer research in recent years. A representative thereof is galectin-1. It sits on the surface of all human cells; on tumor cells, however, it occurs in enormous quantities. This makes it an interesting target for diagnostics and therapy.

  • COMPAMED 2016 connected medical devices and people

    Materialise NV from Belgium speaking on “Innovation in 3D Printed Wearables” at COMPAMED HIGH-TECH Forum 2016. IVAM

    Miniaturized connected systems and outstanding business contacts: forming networks on both technical and business level was one of the key features of COMPAMED 2016, the international trade fair for suppliers and manufacturers of medical technologies. This trend was visible at and enhanced by the joint trade fair booth of the IVAM Microtechnology Network in hall 8a, the accompanying presentation forum and numerous B2B meetings between companies from Germany and Japan.

  • Developing tailor-made nanoparticles to fight cancer

    It is only by separating the two phases - particle formation (nucleation) and particle growth - in the different regions of the water bath, that researchers are able to precisely determine the size of the particles. Copyright: Mady Elbahri

    Electronic devices, coatings or biomedical therapeutics – nanoparticles, smaller than a human hair, can have very different properties and thus broad application options. The respective function depends primarily on the size of the particles. An interdisciplinary research group, including members of the priority research area "Kiel Nano, Surface and Interface Science" and the Cluster of Excellence "Inflammation at Interfaces" at Kiel University (CAU), has developed a method to produce size-tailored particles of zinc peroxide. This allows targeted modification of their properties, such as the destruction of cancer cells.

  • Domino effect in pharmaceutical synthesis

    Domino effect in pharmaceutical synthesis. © Photo: Svetlana B. Tsogoeva, FAU

    Chemists at Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) headed by Prof. Dr. Svetlana B. Tsogoeva at the Chair of Organic Chemistry have made research into pharmaceutical ingredient synthesis more efficient, more sustainable and more environmentally friendly. They have developed a novel synthetic route towards antiviral quinazoline heterocycles that have not been described previously in professional literature. The results of their work have recently been published in the renowned journal Nature Communications.

  • Fighting Forgetfulness with Nanotechnology

    The international research team is working on a treatment on dementia like Alzheimer, which leads to a death of neuronal cells. © shutterstock.com/Naeblys

    About 29 million people around the world are affected by the disease "Alzheimer". In an international collaboration, scientists of the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz together with teams from Italy, Great Britain, Belgium and the USA are now working together on an approach for a therapy. On the one hand, the goal is to understand the processes occurring in the brain that lead to the disease; on the other hand the development of a method for targeted drug delivery.

  • Funding of Collaborative Research Center developing nanomaterials for cancer immunotherapy extended

    CRC 1066 logo. © CRC 1066

    Focus on the development of drug carriers from polymer chemicals for use in biological systems.

    The German Research Foundation (DFG) has agreed to fund the Mainz-based Collaborative Research Center (CRC) 1066 "Nanodimensional Polymer Therapeutics for Tumor Therapy" involved in the development of nanomaterials for cancer immunotherapy for another four years to the end of June 2021. This extension confirms Mainz as a major research hub in this field that requires input from both chemistry and biomedicine alike. Contributing to CRC 1066 are the Chemistry, Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Physics institutes at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) together with the Mainz University Medical Center and the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz. The German Research Foundation will provide nearly EUR 13 million in financing over the next four years.

  • Hepatitis C and HIV prophylaxis: microwave reduces viral transmission in the drugs scene

    PD Dr. Eike Steinmann und Anindya Siddharta. TWINCORE/Romy Weller

    Infections with hepatitis C virus (HCV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) among people who inject drugs (PWID) are a global health problem. For example, sharing of drug preparation equipment within this population contributes to more than 80% of newly acquired HCV infections. As a response to these circumstances, scientists at TWINCORE validated a simple and safe method to reduce the risk of viral transmission, namely by microwave irradiation. This method has been published recently in Scientific Reports.

  • How to Target a Gene

    Moss plants on a Petri dish. Photo: Sigrid Gombert (University of Freiburg)

    Scientists find proteins important for plant development, DNA repair and gene targeting. All living cells have invented mechanisms to protect their DNA against breaks during duplication and against damage by UV-light or chemicals. A team of biologists led by Prof. Dr. Ralf Reski from the Faculty of Biology of the University of Freiburg, Germany has now found that members of the RecQ family function in development, DNA repair and gene targeting in the moss Physcomitrella patens.

  • Improved accuracy when testing cancer drugs

    Berglind Osk Einarsdottir. Photo: Cecilia Hedström

    A method to more accurately test anti-cancer drugs has now been developed at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg. The method paves the way to much earlier assessment of who benefits from a specific drug and who does not.

    “It is common for cancer patients to be prescribed drugs that fail to help them, often with side effects. But, we have shown that this method can be used as early as in the drug development phase to determine which patient groups will benefit from the drug,” says Berglind Osk Einarsdottir, a researcher at Sahlgrenska Cancer Center.

  • Molecules change shape when wet

    The preferred structure of a crown ether changes when water molecules bind to it (dashed lines). © C. Pérez et al.

    Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water. In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter at CFEL and from the Hamburg Centre for Ultrafast Imaging (CUI) show that water promotes the reshaping of crown ethers and biphenyl molecules, two classes of chemically fascinating molecules. Crown ethers are key systems in catalysis, separation and encapsulation processes, while biphenyl-based systems are employed in asymmetric synthesis and drug design.

  • Nanocarriers Should Cure Grapevine Trunk Diseases

    The NanoProtect project aims to find a cure for the grapevine trunk disease. Copyright: Dr. Frederik Wurm

    The Volkswagen Foundation (VolkswagenStiftung) has selected the interdisciplinary project “NanoProtect” of Dr. Frederik Wurm, head of the Functional Polymers research group at the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, for its funding initiative 'Experiment!'. Wurm’s research is focussing on the design and development of degradable polymers and nanocarriers.

  • New Computational Method for Drug Discovery

    The graphical image used for the cover of the JCTC (see picture below). Image: Daria Kokh/HITS

    HITS researchers developed tauRAMD, a tool to predict drug-target residence times from short simulations. The method is illustrated on the cover page of July 2018 issue of the Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation, software is freely available. The design of a drug with a desired duration of action, whether long or short, is usually a complicated and expensive trial-and-error process guided only by a mix of expert intuition and serendipity.

  • New therapeutic strategy against sleeping sickness

    Structure of the interface of PEX14 and PEX5  (back) including the structure of the inhibitor (front). Source: Dr. Grzegorz Popowicz, Helmholtz Zentrum München

    A newly developed small molecule selectively kills the pathogen causing sleeping sickness and Chagas disease. Scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum München, along with colleagues from the Technical University of Munich and the Ruhr University Bochum, report these findings in ‘Science’. The trick: The researchers could first determine the parasite's Achilles heel by using modern structural biology techniques and then develop an inhibitor with a perfect fit.

  • Pharmacoscpy: Next-Generation Microscopy

    Graphical abstract of the Pharmacoscopy method.  Vladimer Gregory/CeMM

    A novel microscopy method allows unprecedented insights into the spatial organization and direct interactions of immune cells within blood and other liquid multi-lineage tissues. The assay, called “Pharmacoscopy”, developed and patented by scientists from CeMM Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, is able to determine immunomodulatory properties of drugs within large libraries on immune cells in high resolution and high throughput. Introduced in Nature Chemical Biology, Pharmacoscopy enables new possibilities for drug discovery, particularly in cancer immunotherapy, personalized medicine, and the research on signaling pathways of the immune system.

  • Physicists Developed Self-propelled Droplets that can act as Programmable Micro-carriers

    Development of a Janus droplet: The fluorescent microscope images show water-ethanol droplets in an oil-surfactant mixture with a fluorescent dye (scale bar 100 µm). Image: Menglin Li, Saarland University

    In the life sciences, researchers are working to inject drugs or other molecules into a human body using tiny “transport vehicles.” Researchers at the Saarland University and the University of Barcelona have shown in a model system that small emulsion droplets can be used as smart carriers. They have developed a method for producing self-propelled liquid droplets capable of providing spatially and temporally controlled delivery of a “molecular load”. The study was published in “Communications Physics”.

  • Proteins as a 'shuttle service' for targeted administration of medication

    Prof. Dr. Yves Muller and Karin Schmidt

    Medication that reaches the spot where it’s needed without placing strain on the rest of the body is no longer a vision of the future. Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) has successfully developed proteins that function like a shuttle and release medication directly in the place in the body where they are actually needed. The study could serve as a model and could enable targeted and tissue-specific administration of medication in future. The findings have been published in the renowned journal ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’ (PNAS)*.