The four-year project focuses on developing methods for production of valuable pharmaceutical compounds using plant cells as a production host in an effective and controlled manner.
The methods based on plant biotechnology are an alternative to chemical synthesis. By controlling the cell metabolism of a 'green factory', i.e. a living plant cell, it is possible to affect the production of desired high-value compounds. This kind of metabolic engineering also stimulates the cells towards producing completely new compounds.
Plants generate valuable secondary metabolic compounds, which can be used as pharmaceuticals. Most of these compounds are so complex that their chemical synthesis is not economically feasible. This is why biotechnology opens up a whole new avenue of possibilities. The SmartCell project will focus on terpene compounds, which are valuable for the pharmaceutical industry. These compounds for example are used in the treatment of cancer and malaria. The expertise and technology created during the project can be applied to a considerable extent in developing the biotechnological production of other compound groups in plants and plant cells.
"The opportunities offered by plant biotechnology could be much more extensively exploited in the pharmaceutical industry. The latest research methods can be used to intensify the production of valuable agents in plant cells; in a manner of speaking, plant cells could become real 'green factories'," says project coordinator, Chief Research Scientist Kirsi-Marja Oksman-Caldentey of VTT.
The SmartCell project brings together research partners from fourteen leading European research institutes and universities as well as three small and medium-sized and two major industrial enterprises. In addition to VTT, the project participants include e.g. VIB (Belgium), Leiden University (the Netherlands), Lleida University (Spain) and Fraunhofer IME Aachen, (Germany). The project's total budget is EUR 8.5 million, of which the EU's contribution is EUR 6 million. The contractual negotiations will soon be concluded, and the project will start in January 2009.
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Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
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MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...
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