Health care

  • “Biological Bandage” Could Help Heal Wounds

    Is the "biological bandage" coming soon? A team of researchers at the University of Bremen led by Dorothea Brüggemann and Karsten Stapelfeldt has now created a fibrinogen network. Kai Uwe Bohn / University of Bremen

    Scientists at the University of Bremen have now developed a three-dimensional protein structure in the laboratory that could help to heal wounds in the future. It is conceivable that one day this network could be produced as a kind of “biological bandage” from the blood of the person who will use it. The development is now patent pending.

  • 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.

  • Artificial DNA can Control Release of Active Ingredients from Drugs

    Prof. Oliver Lieleg uses models to visualize how nanoparticles are bound together by DNA fragments. Such connections may become the basis of drugs that release their active ingredients in sequence. Uli Benz / TUM

    A drug with three active ingredients that are released in sequence at specific times: Thanks to the work of a team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), what was once a pharmacologist's dream is now much closer to reality. With a combination of hydrogels and artificial DNA, nanoparticles can be released in sequence under conditions similar to those in the human body.

  • 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 identify drug against the formation of metastasis

    The image represents an artistic coloration of a cluster of circulating tumor cells (CTCs), isolated from the blood of a patient with breast cancer, trapped on a microfluidic device. © M Oeggerli / Micronaut 2018, supported by Pathology-, C-CINA / Biozentrum-, and I Krol, and N Aceto, Faculty of Medicine-, University Hospital and University Basel.

    The most deadly aspect of breast cancer is metastasis. It spreads cancer cells throughout the body. Researchers at the University and the University Hospital of Basel have now discovered a substance that suppresses the formation of metastases. In the journal Cell, the team of molecular biologists, computational biologists, and clinicians reports on their interdisciplinary approach. The development of metastasis is responsible for more than 90% of cancer-related deaths, and patients with a metastatic disease are considered incurable.

  • 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 Risk Potential of Nanoparticles Studied

    Two CD34+ stem cells containing carbon nanoparticles (coloured magenta); the cell nuclei can be seen in blue. The researchers found that the nanoparticles are encapsulated in the cell lysosomes. HHU / Stefan Fasbender

    Publication in Scientific Reports

    Carbon nanoparticles are a promising tool for biomedical applications, for example for targeted transportation of biologically active compounds into cells. A team of researchers from the Physics, Medicine and Chemistry departments at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf (HHU) has now examined whether these particles are potentially dangerous for the organism and how cells cope with them once they have been incorporated. The findings of the interdisciplinary study have just been published in the journal Scientific Reports.

  • 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.

  • Black Nanoparticles Slow the Growth of Tumors

    Infrared thermal images - Right side: Elevated tumor (yellow) temperature in mice after laser irradiation in with OMV-melanin treated mice. Left side: mouse treated with OMVs without melanin. Vipul Gujrati / Technical University of Munich

    The dark skin pigment melanin protects us from the sun’s damaging rays by absorbing light energy and converting it to heat. This could make it a very effective tool in tumor diagnosis and treatment, as demonstrated by a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Helmholtz Zentrum München. The scientists managed to create melanin-loaded cell membrane derived nanoparticles, which improved tumor imaging in an animal model while also slowing the growth of the tumor.

  • 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.

  • Creating Blood Vessels on Demand

    A hydrogel injection affects the growth of new blood vessels. Photo: AG Shastri

    When organs or tissues are damaged, new blood vessels must form as they play a vital role in bringing nutrients and eliminating waste. This is the only way for organs and tissues to resume their normal function. At present, the injection of growth factors or genetic material into the tissue site of interest can trigger angiogenesis, i.e. the growth of new blood vessels from pre-existing vessels. In a study published in the journal Advanced Materials, scientists from the Universities of Freiburg and Basel led by Prof. Dr. Prasad Shastri show that stable angiogenesis can be achieved by simple hydrogel injection. Due to its mechanical properties, this hydrogel resembles a blood clot. 

  • 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.