Health care

  • 3D-microdevice for minimally invasive surgeries

    Figures 1 and 2. Microswimmer CAD and microswimmer micrograph. © MPI IS

    Scientists take challenge of developing functional microdevices for direct access to the brain, spinal cord, eye and other delicate parts of human body. A tiny robot that gets into the human body through the simple medical injection and, passing healthy organs, finds and treats directly the goal – a non-operable tumor… Doesn’t it sound at least like science-fiction? To make it real, a growing number of researchers are now working towards this direction with the prospect of transforming many aspects of healthcare and bioengineering in the nearest future. What makes it not so easy are unique challenges pertaining to design, fabrication and encoding functionality in producing functional microdevices.

  • 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). 

  • Antibiotic Resistance – Quick and Reliable Detection

    DZIF scientists (from left to right): Alexander Klimka, Sonja Mertins, Paul Higgins. Uniklinik Köln/Klimka

    Early detection of antibiotic resistant pathogens can be life-saving. DZIF-scientists at the Institute for Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Hygiene, University of Cologne, have developed an antibody-based diagnostic test, which can identify carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii bacteria in only 10 minutes – in a process similar to a pregnancy test.

  • Antibodies as ‘messengers’ in the nervous system

    A Ganglion in the human intestine, which shows nerval activity after giving the anti-HuD-serum. The activity is red.  (Fig.: Schemann, Michel/ TUM)

    Antibodies are able to activate human nerve cells within milliseconds and hence modify their function — that is the surprising conclusion of a study carried out at Human Biology at the Technical University of Munich (TUM). This knowledge improves our understanding of illnesses that accompany certain types of cancer, above all severe intestinal malfunctions.

  • Attacking Flu Viruses from Two Sides

    IgA1 antibodies binding to the influenza A virus antigen hemagglutinin. TSRI/UZH

    UZH researchers have discovered a new way in which certain antibodies interact with the flu virus. This previously unknown form of interaction opens up new possibilities for developing better vaccines and more efficient medication to combat the flu. Fever, shivering, headaches, and joint pains – each year millions of people around the world are affected by the flu. While most people recover after a few days, the WHO estimates that each year between 250,000 and 500,000 people die from the disease.

  • Basel Researchers Succeed in Cultivating Cartilage from Stem Cells

    Development of cartilage tissue from mesenchymal stem cells after eight weeks in vivo: Stable cartilage tissue, indicated by red staining (left), versus development towards bone tissue (right). Image: University of Basel, Department of Biomedicine

    Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS. Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration.

  • Biological Signalling Processes in Intelligent Materials

    Graphic: Wilfried Weber

     

    Scientists from the University of Freiburg have developed materials systems that are composed of biological components and polymer materials and are capable of perceiving and processing information. These biohybrid systems were engineered to perform certain functions, such as the counting signal pulses in order to release bioactive molecules or drugs at the correct time, or to detect enzymes and small molecules such as antibiotics in milk. The interdisciplinary team presented their results in some of the leading journals in the field, including Advanced Materials and Materials Today.

  • Brought to Light – Chromobodies Reveal Changes in Endogenous Protein Concentration in Living Cells

    Antigen-Mediated-ChromoBody-Stabilization (AMCBS). NMI

    Scientists at the Natural and Medical Sciences Institute (NMI) in Reutlingen and the Eberhard Karls University of Tuebingen have developed new molecular probes to monitor and quantify changes in the concentration of endogenous proteins by live-cell fluorescence microscopy. In a study now published in Molecular & Cellular Proteomics, Keller et al. describe how fluorescently labeled intrabodies (so-called chromobodies) are stabilized in the presence of their target proteins. Based on this newly uncovered property of chromobodies, the authors present a broadly applicable strategy to optimize chromobodies in order to visualize and measure changes of endogenous target proteins within living cells. 

  • Care-O-bot® 4 celebrates its première as shopping assistant

    Paul, a member of the Care-O-bot® 4 robot family, has been greeting customers in Saturn-Markt Ingolstadt since the end of October 2016 and directing them towards their desired products. Source: Saturn

    In January 2015, Fraunhofer IPA presented a prototype of the “Care-O-bot® 4” service robot. The charming helper is now proving its worth in the real world. “Paul” the robot has been greeting customers in Saturn-Markt Ingolstadt since the end of October 2016 and directing them towards their desired products. Care-O-bot 4®, alias Paul, approaches Saturn customers and welcomes them to the store. If they ask him about a certain product, he accompanies the customer to the department and points them in the direction of the relevant shelf. As he indulges in small talk about the weather or another subject, Paul turns out to be a most charming contact partner. However, he prefers to leave actual customer service to his human colleagues.

  • Center for plasma medicine opened in Korea

    Opening ceremony of the APMC in Korea, with Prof. Chun, Director of the Kwangwoon University of Seoul, Prof. Choi, Director of the PBRC Seoul and Prof. Weltmann, Director of the INP Greifswald  INP

    With a ceremonial opening in presence of the German ambassador in Korea on February 6th, 2017 the cross-national „Applied Plasma Medicine Center“ (APMC) of the Leibniz-Institute for Plasma Science and Technology e.V. (INP Greifswald) and the Plasma Bioscience Research Center (PBRC) in Seoul, Korea was founded.

  • COMPAMED '18 Presents International Medical Technology Experts with their Future Trend Technologies

    Concept of the Sens-o-Spheres with power receiver, microcontroller and signal processing, battery as well as encapsulation. (c) TU Dresden

    The COMPAMED, which takes place annually co-located to the MEDICA in Dusseldorf, Germany, is an established and world-wide well-known marketplace for medical components and technologies. Every year, the COMPAMED asserts itself as the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing.

    Especially in the field of medical devices for mobile diagnostics, therapy and laboratory equipment increasingly powerful, smart and reliable high-tech solutions are needed. This is why the demand for miniaturization of medical components continues to grow steadily.

  • COMPAMED 2017: New Manufacturing Processes for Customized Products

    The product market of the IVAM Microtechnology Network was the largest joint stand of the fair. IVAM

    COMPAMED 2017, the international supplier fair for medical technologies and components, has once again proven that the demand for smart high-tech components and high-precision manufacturing processes continues unabated. In addition to the euphoria of the exhibitors about the good business leads, this year also the uncertainty about the new European Medical Device Regulation was noticeable. The Medical Device Regulation (MDR) was a much-discussed topic at the joint booth of the IVAM Microtechnology Network in Hall 8a and the accompanying specialist forum.

  • Decoding the Regulation of Cell Survival - A Major Step Towards Preventing Neurons from Dying

    Neurite outgrowth assay of neurons expressing GFP. The first and last time point (0 min, 50 min) are pseudocolored in magenta and cyan, respectively. Busskamp Lab CRTD

    An interdisciplinary and international research group led by Dr. Volker Busskamp from the Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden at the TU Dresden (CRTD) has decoded the regulatory impact on neuronal survival of a small non-coding RNA molecule, so-called miRNA, at the highest resolution to date. This deciphering of gene regulation primes applications for strengthening neurons in order to protect them from neurodegenerative diseases. The extensive systems biology methods used here could become a new standard for the way miRNAs are researched.

  • eTRANSAFE – Collaborative Research Project Aimed at Improving Safety in Drug Development Process

    An aim of the project eTRANSAFE is to analyze whether and to what extent preclinical data enable reliable prediction of clinical findings. Felix Schmitt, Fraunhofer ITEM

    (Hannover/Germany) The 40 million euro European project eTRANSAFE, to be kicked off at the end of September 2017, is aimed at speeding up the development of better and safer medicines for patients. Coordinated by the Fundació Institut Mar d'Investigacions Mèdiques (IMIM) and led by the pharmaceutical company Novartis, the project consortium is a public-private partnership of eight academic institutions, six SMEs, and twelve pharmaceutical companies. One of the project partners is Fraunhofer ITEM.

  • Fewer Laboratory Animals Thanks to Secondary Nanobodies

    Three-dimensional structure of a nanobody. Tino Pleiner and Sergei Trakhanov / MPI for Biophysical Chemistry

    Antibodies are indispensable in biological research and medical diagnostics. However, their production is time-consuming, expensive, and requires the use of many animals. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, Germany, have now developed so-called secondary nanobodies that can replace the most-used antibodies and may drastically reduce the number of animals in antibody production. This is possible because the secondary nanobodies can be produced in large scale by bacteria. Moreover, the secondary nanobodies outperform their traditional antibody counterparts in key cell-biological applications.

  • 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.

  • Fighting Myocardial Infarction with Nanoparticle Tandems

    Injection: Via a cannula introduced into the infarction area, the cells loaded with magnetic nanoparticles are injected into the damaged heart muscle tissue of the mouse. © Photo: Dr. Annika Ottersbach/Uni Bonn

    How can damaged cardiac tissue following a heart attack best be treated with replacement muscle cells? A research team under the supervision of the University of Bonn is now presenting an innovative method on mice: Muscle replacement cells, which are to take over the function of the damaged tissue, are loaded with magnetic nanoparticles. These cells are then injected into the damaged heart muscle and held in place by a magnet, causing the cells to engraft better onto the existing tissue. The scientists show that this leads to a significant improvement in heart function. The journal "Biomaterials" presents the results in advance online, the print version will be published in the future.

  • First-Ever “Live” Observation of Formation and Repair of Myelin Sheaths Around Nerve Fibers

    Still from time-lapse video of myelin growing around axons. (c) Technical University of Munich

    Nerve fibers are surrounded by a myelin sheath. Scientists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have now made the first-ever “live” observations of how this protective layer is formed. The team discovered that the characteristic patterns of the myelin layer are determined at an early stage. However, these patterns can be adjusted as needed in a process apparently controlled by the nerve cells themselves.

  • Flexible New Method for Early Cancer Diagnosis

    Göran Landberg. Photo: Johan Wingborg

    Earlier discovery of cancer and greater precision in the treatment process are the objectives of a new method developed by researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy and Boston University. Investments are now being made to roll out this innovation across healthcare and broaden the scope of the research in this field.

    “We can screen at-risk patient groups, and we also plan to spot the cancer patients who are relapsing so that we can adapt their treatment,” says Anders Ståhlberg, docent in molecular medicine and corresponding author for two articles about the method.
    The technique was created based on the fact that people with cancer also have DNA from tumor cells circulating in the blood, molecules that can be discovered in a regular blood sample long before the tumor is visible via imaging such as tomography, MRI, X-ray and ultrasound.

  • Growing brain cancer in a dish

    Neoplastic cerebral organoid with GFP-positive tumor regions (green), which demonstrates glioblastoma-like cellularity. IMBA

    For the first-time, researchers at IMBA- Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences – develop organoids, that mimic the onset of brain cancer. This method not only sheds light on the complex biology of human brain tumors but could also pave the way for new medical applications.