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.
Courtesy: MPI for Infection Biology – CF Microscopy / Volker Brinkmann Continue reading
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).Picture: The enzyme cyclophilin
On 4 June the BioVaria technology fair will be the market place for life science inventions from leading European research institutions and universities for the 6th time in Munich. Under the motto “Europe’s Next Top Technologies” numerous licensable technologies will be presented by the scientists. Max-Planck-Innovation together with the Lead Discovery Center (LDC) will introduce a novel 14-3-3 platform technology, originating from the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology and the Chemical Genomics Centre, to an audience from the biotech- and pharmaceutical- as well as the venture capital sectors.
Picture: BioVaria fair at Sofitel Munich Bayerpost
Tumours need a steady supply of sufficient nutrients to be able to grow. So they stimulate neighbouring blood vessels to proliferate and sprout using messenger compounds. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Neurological Research have now figured out the role of the Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) and its receptor ‘VEGFR-2’ in human lung adenocarcinoma. When VEGF binds to VEGFR-2 on cancer cells, secretion of the growth-factor itself is boosted consequently accelerating tumour growth. In experiments the scientists switched off the growth-factor and proteins responsible for this signalling thereby slowing down tumour growth. The tumours were even reduced in size by employing other inhibitors in combination. Furthermore they also learnt from examinations of lung cancer patients that therapy with these inhibitors only makes sense if the cancer cells express large numbers of VEGFR2. These results can contribute to developing new cancer therapies.
Picture: The feedback loop of the tumour: The cancer cells secrete the growth-factor VEGF (yellow) in order to stimulate nearby blood vessels to introduce small sprouts into the tumour. At the same time, the cells also express VEGFR-2 on their surface, which the VEGF binds to. In this way, the cancer cells are stimulated to produce even more VEGF. © MPI for Neurological Research
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.
Picture: Research at the LDC (© LDC)
Professor Hans Schöler, Director of the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Molecular Biomedicine in Münster, welcomes the clear commitment to CARE made by the state government of North-Rhine Westphalia: “We are delighted to report that a firm agreement has been reached on the development of this important institute.” The proposed translational research centre will jointly further develop insights from basic research together with the business community so that they can provide a real benefit for patients in the form of new treatment and diagnostic processes. CARE was initiated by the MPI in Münster and Max Planck Innovation, the Max Planck Society’s technology transfer organisation.
Picture: Neural stem cells can become pluripotent. They can then be differentiated into smooth muscular cells that are found, for example, in blood and lymph vessels (red: muscle cells, bleu: cell nuclei). © MPI for Molecular Biomedicine – Kinarm Ko
MPI of Colloids and Interfaces: New microcontainers delivering medical substances to diseased tissue
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Golm, Potsdam, have developed an effective drug delivery technique. The researchers use porous calcium carbonate microspheres as templates for the production of hollow three-dimensional balls. These microcontainers can be loaded with medically effective substances. Furtmerore, small signalling molecules can be attached to their surface, with the help of which the spheres can then find their way to diseased tissue.
Picture: Illustration of the production of colloid spheres.
© Dr. X.Yan
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research in Bad Nauheim and Justus Liebig University Giessen have discovered an enzyme which regulates the division of tumour cells and blood vessel growth in the cancer tissue. Now they aim to starve lung tumours by blocking the phosphodiesterase PDE4.
Picture: Formation of PDE4 in oxygen-deficient lung tumour cells. Lung cells produce PDE4 (stained green: left) even if their oxygen content is normal. More PDE4 is produced (right) if they are oxygen-deficient (hypoxia). The cell nuclei are stained blue. © Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research
On May 15 the technology fair BioVaria 2012 will show “Europe’s Next Top Technologies”, i.e. the latest licensable technologies developed by leading university and non-university research institutions in Europe. Max Planck Innovation is again main partner and co-organiser of the technology fair, which takes place for the fifth time this year. Max Planck Innovation together with the Lead Discovery Center (LDC) will present novel Inhibitors for Rab Geranylgeranyl Transferase (RabGGTase), deriving from the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology, to an audience from the biotech- and pharmaceutical- as well as the venture capital sectors. The inhibitors could be the basis for the development of new cancer drugs.
When exploiting the economic potential of scientific discoveries, the problem often arises that a technology in the form developed at the Max Planck institutes (MPI) is not sufficiently close to the market for industry. With the establishment of the Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC) and the Life Science Inkubator GmbH & Co KG (LSI), we have created two very successful companies to bridge this innovation gap.
Picture: The Lead Discovery Center GmbH was jointly developed by Max Planck Innovation and the Max Planck Society as a novel approach to advance findings from excellent basic research into the development of medicines. © LDC