A single molecule may provide hope for millions of people, as researchers have combined two hormones formed in the digestive tract into one novel molecule.
This hormone combination acts on the receptors of insulin-stimulating hormones and is thus able to reduce blood sugar levels in patients suffering from obesity or type 2 diabetes.
In the coming years, this new therapeutic approach could help successfully treat both of these diseases, which the United Nations and the World Health Organization count among the greatest medical challenges facing modern society.
For their ground-breaking research, a team of chemists, pharmacologists and hormone and cancer researchers led by Matthias Tschöp, director of Helmholtz Zentrum München and professor at Technische Universität München (TUM), has received the 2014 Erwin Schrödinger Prize, an interdisciplinary research award that includes €50,000 in prize money.
This completely new single-molecule hormone combination leads to effective weight loss and improved blood sugar in animal models. The two hormones employed, GLP-1 and GIP, originate in the human digestive tract, where they control food intake and various metabolic processes. When sugar is ingested, the combined hormone the researchers have created causes an increased release of insulin; it also functions as an appetite suppressant and increases fat-burning processes.
The findings of the research team, which included Matthias Tschöp, Brian Finan, Kerstin Stemmer (all of the Institute for Diabetes and Obesity at the Helmholtz Zentrum München) and Richard DiMarchi (Indiana University, USA), were able to prove that metabolic regulation in the brain can be influenced via natural gut hormones. Should further scientific and clinical tests confirm this, then this approach will represent a breakthrough in diabetes prevention and therapy. This could result in the establishment of new therapeutic concepts for metabolic disorders.
However, not all hope hinges on one agent alone. In the meantime, the interdisciplinary researcher team has identified a series of combined agents. These include combinations of GLP-1 and glucagon as well as GLP-1-based conjugates that deliver steroid hormones such as oestrogen only to cells affecting metabolism, yet not to cells that could suffer from side effects.
The discovery and successful development of such new pharmacological compounds is especially important due to the fact that, despite the almost-epidemic spread of obesity and type-2 diabetes among the general populace in recent years, almost no new pharmacology-based therapeutic approach to treatment has yet been developed.
Although it will be some time until it can be employed as an approved therapy method, this new multifunctional agent approach would offer the possibility of designing personalised therapies to treat people suffering from type-2 diabetes.
“This award shows how important research in the field of metabolic disorders is to modern society,” says Jürgen Mlynek, President of the Helmholtz Association. “The mission of the Helmholtz Association is to find solutions to problems facing society through our basic research.” Mlynek will present the Erwin Schrödinger Prize on 18 September 2014 at the Helmholtz Annual Meeting in Berlin.
The award recipients:
Prof. Matthias Tschöp, Institute for Diabetes and Obesity, Helmholtz Zentrum München – German Research Center for Environmental Health and the Technische Universität München
Prof. Richard DiMarchi, Standiford H. Cox Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, Linda & Jack Gill Chair in Biomolecular Sciences, Department of Chemistry, Indiana University
Dr Kerstin Stemmer, Division of Metabolism and Cancer, Institute for Diabetes and Obesity, Helmholtz Zentrum München – German Research Center for Environmental Health
Dr Brian Finan, Division of Molecular Pharmacology, Institute for Diabetes and Obesity, Helmholtz Zentrum München – German Research Center for Environmental Health
The Erwin Schrödinger Prize
Since 1999, the Helmholtz Association and the Stifterverband – Erwin Schrödinger Prize honours outstanding and innovative scientific and technological achievements realised on the frontiers of various disciplines in medicine, the natural sciences and engineering. Representatives from at least two disciplines have to have been involved in the research effort. The prize money is supplied by the Stifterverband one year and the Helmholtz Association the next. The prize winners can use the €50,000 in prize money as they please.
The Helmholtz Association contributes to solving major challenges facing society, science and the economy with top scientific achievements in six research fields: Energy, Earth and Environment, Health, Key Technologies, Structure of Matter, Aeronautics, Space and Transport. With 36.000 employees in 18 research centres and an annual budget of approximately 3.8 billion euros, the Helmholtz Association is Germany’s largest scientific organisation. Its work follows in the tradition of the great natural scientist Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1894).
Contacts for the Media:
Prof. Dr Angela Bittner
Press Officer Coummunications and Media
Tel.: +49 (30) 206 329-54
Jan-Martin Wiarda | Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft
Laser-based Production Process for High Efficiency Solar Cells Wins Award
11.05.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Solare Energiesysteme ISE
Award for ground-breaking measuring methods
09.05.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
Permanent magnets are very important for technologies of the future like electromobility and renewable energy, and rare earth elements (REE) are necessary for their manufacture. The Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM in Freiburg, Germany, has now succeeded in identifying promising approaches and materials for new permanent magnets through use of an in-house simulation process based on high-throughput screening (HTS). The team was able to improve magnetic properties this way and at the same time replaced REE with elements that are less expensive and readily available. The results were published in the online technical journal “Scientific Reports”.
The starting point for IWM researchers Wolfgang Körner, Georg Krugel, and Christian Elsässer was a neodymium-iron-nitrogen compound based on a type of...
In the Beyond EUV project, the Fraunhofer Institutes for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen and for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF in Jena are developing key technologies for the manufacture of a new generation of microchips using EUV radiation at a wavelength of 6.7 nm. The resulting structures are barely thicker than single atoms, and they make it possible to produce extremely integrated circuits for such items as wearables or mind-controlled prosthetic limbs.
In 1965 Gordon Moore formulated the law that came to be named after him, which states that the complexity of integrated circuits doubles every one to two...
Characterization of high-quality material reveals important details relevant to next generation nanoelectronic devices
Quantum mechanics is the field of physics governing the behavior of things on atomic scales, where things work very differently from our everyday world.
When current comes in discrete packages: Viennese scientists unravel the quantum properties of the carbon material graphene
In 2010 the Nobel Prize in physics was awarded for the discovery of the exceptional material graphene, which consists of a single layer of carbon atoms...
The trend-forward world of display technology relies on innovative materials and novel approaches to steadily advance the visual experience, for example through higher pixel densities, better contrast, larger formats or user-friendler design. Fraunhofer ISC’s newly developed materials for optics and electronics now broaden the application potential of next generation displays. Learn about lower cost-effective wet-chemical printing procedures and the new materials at the Fraunhofer ISC booth # 1021 in North Hall D during the SID International Symposium on Information Display held from 22 to 27 May 2016 at San Francisco’s Moscone Center.
24.05.2016 | Event News
20.05.2016 | Event News
19.05.2016 | Event News
25.05.2016 | Trade Fair News
25.05.2016 | Life Sciences
25.05.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering