Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Launch of the EU large-scale integrating project "BlueGenics" to combat osteoporosis

07.12.2012
Project aims to discover the genetic blueprints for new drugs from marine organisms that could help to prevent and to treat major human diseases such as osteoporosis

Searching for substances from the deep sea to combat osteoporosis and other human common diseases is one of the objectives of the new European research project "BlueGenics" which has received funding of EUR 6 million from the European Commission.

Specifically, the international research team, coordinated by Professor Dr. Werner E.G. Müller from the Institute of Physiological Chemistry of the Mainz University Medical Center, intends to identify and to utilize genetic blueprints from marine organisms, including deep-sea sponges and bacteria, for the production of biomedically relevant substances. The novel research approach provided by this research team will allow the sustainable use of marine resources without negative impact on biodiversity.

"As we can see, by funding this joint large-scale research project the European Union has recognized the need to make every effort to develop new and effective drugs for the prevention and treatment of common diseases, for which efficient therapies are still missing, such as osteoporosis," said the coordinator of the BlueGenics project, Professor Dr. Werner E.G. Müller. "I am extremely glad that this project has now been successfully started. BlueGenics brings together leading researchers from nine countries. The unique and complementary expertise provided by these and their advanced equipment provide an excellent basis to reach the ambitious objectives of this project," Müller continued.

The innovative research concept of BlueGenics offers the chance of achieving extraordinary success as seen by the European Commission. The international team of scientists led by the molecular biologist Professor Dr. Werner E.G. Müller together with NanotecMARIN GmbH, a research-based spin-off company at Mainz University, headed by Professor Dr. Heinz C. Schröder and Professor Dr. Xiaohong Wang, both also from the Institute of Physiological Chemistry at JGU, have developed a research strategy that aims to combine research on biomedical-relevant genes from marine animals and bacteria with the most advanced chemical synthesis and structure analysis techniques. The team led by Müller will use this research approach to develop substances up to pre-clinical testing. In this project, the Mainz team will primarily focus on substances that could be used for prophylaxis and/or therapy of osteoporosis as well as on new antimicrobial peptides and compounds with neuroprotective activity.

Müller and his research team have already demonstrated that bioactive substances can be synthesized by applying recombinant molecular biology techniques. They were able to demonstrate that defensin, a toxin and defense peptide produced by sponges, is bioactive if produced in a recombinant way. "This paves the way for exploiting the large treasure of genetic blueprints present in the world-wide oceans for human benefit," Müller said.

The European project BlueGenics brings together the leading researchers from the areas of marine genomics, biosynthesis, and chemical structure analysis. Participants of this project coordinated by Professor Dr. Werner E.G. Müller at the Mainz University Medical Center are 16 research institutions and industrial companies from Germany, France, Croatia, Portugal, Iceland, Italy, Sweden, UK, and China. According to Professor Dr. Dr. Reinhard Urban, Chief Scientific Officer of the University Medical Center, the EU is well advised to fund projects like BlueGenics: "We are practically just at the beginning to exploit marine resources, especially those from the little-explored deep sea, for biomedical purposes. However, it is now already foreseeable that research on deep-sea organisms is likely to produce remarkable results for our society."

BLUE BIOTECHNOLOGY
The so-called Blue Biotechnology is primarily concerned with the biotechnological use of marine organisms. Of particular interest are sponges and deep-sea bacteria that live under extreme conditions in more than 1,000 meters below the sea level. These organisms are considered to be a source of novel valuable substances that can be used in biotechnology and biomedicine. While the majority of the known enzymes break down on exposure to high temperatures, the biocatalysts produced by deep-sea bacteria remain active under extreme conditions, even in the vicinity of marine hydrothermal vents.

What makes blue technology so interesting for research is the fact that even obviously simple organisms, such as marine sponges, are remarkably similar to humans in many ways. The evolutionary relationship between these oldest animals and human beings is surprisingly close, as the Mainz research team has demonstrated in recent years by means of molecular biological techniques. In addition, these organisms produce a variety of substances that have evolved a high degree of specificity and effectiveness during the course of evolution, and hence have attracted increasing interest with regard to their possible therapeutic use in humans, for example for the treatment of viral infections.

Contact
Professor Dr. Werner E.G. Müller
Institute of Physiological Chemistry, Mainz University Medical Center
phone +49 6131 39-25910, fax +49 6131 39-25243, e-mail: wmueller@uni-mainz.de

Petra Giegerich | idw
Further information:
http://www.uni-mainz.de/presse/15944_ENG_HTML.php
http://www.uni-mainz.de/magazin/874_ENG_HTML.php

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Meadows beat out shrubs when it comes to storing carbon
23.11.2017 | Norwegian University of Science and Technology

nachricht Migrating Cells: Folds in the cell membrane supply material for necessary blebs
23.11.2017 | Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Underwater acoustic localization of marine mammals and vehicles

23.11.2017 | Information Technology

Enhancing the quantum sensing capabilities of diamond

23.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Meadows beat out shrubs when it comes to storing carbon

23.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>