Development of new tuberculosis vaccine

The development of a new and improved tuberculosis vaccine is on the way!  The Serum Institute of India has licensed patents for a promising vaccine, originally developed in Germany,  and are now planning to introduce it into the clinical setting. Studies have shown that the new vaccine is more effective and better tolerated than currently available options. By signing a contract with the Hannover-based Vakzine Projekt Management GmbH (VPM), Serum, one of the World’s leading vaccine manufacturers, has effectively secured the license to the various patents and technologies related to the new vaccine.


Picture: Bacteria of the attenuated tuberculosis vaccine strain (BCG) inside a macrophage, a scavenger cell of the immune system.
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Technology offer: Cyclosporin derivatives for the treatment of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis

Cyclophilines are enzymes that help proteins in the human body to take on the right shape; only then can proteins fulfill their function in the cells. However, several of these “protein folding helpers” can also lead to inflammatory reactions in the body. Although previous therapies using cyclosporin inhibit inflammatory processes, they also severely weaken the immune system. At the Lead Discovery Center (LDC) and the Max Planck Research Unit for Enzymology of Protein Folding cyclosporin derivatives were developed which make it possible to address only disease-related cyclophilines and to inhibit them. Thereby the inflammation is inhibited without weakening the immune system. The new derivatives could thus represent a new treatment option for diseases such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).CyclophilinPicture:  The enzyme cyclophilin

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Fight against Metastatic and Drug-resistant Cancers

According to the WHO, the number of cancer deaths worldwide is still on the rise, with 13.1 million deaths predicted in 2030. Up to 90% of cancer deaths are thought to be due to metastasis. So far, there is no effective treatment available for metastasis, and there are only very few projects under development. A new Axl kinase inhibitor addresses a severe unmet medical need: The Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB), the Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC) and Qurient Co., Ltd have entered into a license agreement providing Qurient with world-wide, exclusive rights to a new kinase inhibitor for the treatment of metastatic cancer.

Research at the LDCPicture: Research at the LDC (© LDC)
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Technology Offer: Conkunitzin-S1 For Treating Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disease. Approximately seven million people suffer from diabetes in Germany of which 90% suffer from type 2 diabetes. The main characteristic of type 2 diabetes is a resistance to insulin. During the course of the disease, this insulin resistance can severely damage vital organs and can even lead to death. The Max Planck Institute for Experimental Medicine developed a new procedure based on the administration of Conkunitzin-S1, a natural neurotoxin derived from the venom of the cone snail Conus striatus. Conkunitzin-S1 enables the regulation of blood sugar levels. Thereby, the neurotoxin constitutes a promising approach for treating type 2 diabetes.

Image: Cone striatus near Guam © Wikipedia/NOAA

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Patent: Taxol Induces Axonal Growth – Hope after spinal cord injuries

About 130,000 people throughout the world suffer spinal cord injuries every year, often as a result of sports or motorcycle accidents. Around half of those affected by such injuries can no longer move their legs, and many are paralyzed from the cervical vertebrae down. Special proteins hinder the renewed growth of the severed nerve cell fibers, the axons. A research team from the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology discovered that the injection of the drug Taxol makes the axons grow again. These basic research findings now have to be developed further and could be the basis for future treatment of spinal cord injuries.

Picture: A damaged axon with the microtubules arranged in an orderly
manner continues to grow (top) –unlike one with its cytoskeleton
in disarray (bottom).

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Invention: Novel treatment of arteriosclerosis

A hardening of the blood vessels, known as arteriosclerosis, is a widespread disease in western societies which can lead to cardiac infarction and stroke. For treatment normally so called stents are implanted. These artificial tubes which are put into the artery help to prevent the blood flow constriction in the vessel. However, after a surgery very often a restenosis emerges which is the reoccurrence of stenosis, the narrowing of a blood vessel, leading to restricted blood flow again. Scientists from the MPI for Heart and Lung Research have now developed a novel treatment for this restenosis based on small non-coding RNAs (miRNAs 143/145). Micro-RNAs are known only for few years. These short RNA fragments are firmly integrated in the genotype and regulate the completion of proteins. They have an essential influence on the development and the stability of proteins in the cell. The patented findings of the MPI researchers show that there is a connection between miRNA 143/145 and the emergence arteriosclerosis. The Development of new stents eluting miRNA 143/145 mimetics is a very promising approach to combat ateriosclerosis and to inhibit restenosis.

Picture: Fluorescence-microscope picture of artery tissue. In contrast to a normal artery (left half) the vascular wall of miR143 / to 145 knockout mice is significantly extended by plaques. Typically the massive immigration of Makrophagen is (red. Smooth muscle cells are coloured green, nucleuses blue. Copyright: Max-Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research

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Patent: Novel antioxidative peptides for better sunscreens

The thinning of the ozone layer leads to the increase of deadly skin cancer melanoma. To prevent this and other damage of the skin by UV radiation, modern suntan products often contain antioxidants, because antioxidants could help to increase the effectiveness of sunscreens.

That´s because the antioxidants can help prevent free radicals in the body. These free radicals, molecules which have a single unpaired electron in an outer shell, are highly reactive, which means that they can damage biological structures in the body. Antioxidants are agents which limit these damages to biological structures by passivating free radicals.

The novel peptides, which have been identified by Max Planck researchers, contain Tyrosine- and/or tryptophane and are very effective antioxidants. Besides the skin cancer protection, the petides could be used for therapy and prevention of more diseases which involve oxidative processes in the extracellular space. Such diseases are eg. artheriosclerosis, cataracts, diabetes, arthritis as well as the aging of skin and joints.

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