Three-year key project receives 560,000 euros in funding
Researchers at the Institute of Pharmacy and Molecular Biotechnology of Heidelberg University are exploring new approaches to the treatment of diseases of the central nervous system such as Alzheimer's and brain tumours. In collaboration with a research team from the USA, Prof. Dr. Gert Fricker in the field of pharmaceutical technology and neurobiologist Prof. Dr. Ulrike Müller are developing transport systems that can penetrate the blood-brain barrier to "ferry" certain agents into the brain. The Else Kröner-Fresenius Foundation is funding the three-year key project with approximately 560,000 euros. Research work is scheduled to begin in April 2016.
The blood-brain barrier, which separates the central nervous system from circulating blood, is formed by the vascular walls of the cerebral capillaries and allows the free passage of only a few nutrients. The barrier is virtually impermeable especially to macromolecules like proteins, DNA and RNA. Yet it is precisely these molecules, known as biologicals, that Prof. Fricker indicates are highly interesting for treating Alzheimer's and aggressive brain tumours, the glioblastomas.
His working group has now developed special polymer nanoparticles with a modified surface that enables them to specifically dock onto and permeate the blood-brain barrier, after which they dissolve in the brain. Prof. Fricker explains that these particles can be loaded with low molecular agents, i.e., substances of low molecular weight. The particles then transport the otherwise disallowed substances into the central nervous system, where they reach the therapeutically necessary concentrations.
The underlying concept is now being applied to biologicals provided by Prof. Müller and her colleague Prof. Dr. Olivia Merkel of Wayne State University Detroit (USA). Ulrike Müller specialises in Alzheimer’s research. The Heidelberg neurobiologists and her working group supply the peptide APPsα, which protects the nerve cells and acts as an antagonist to the toxic ß amyloid. The ß amyloid deposits are thought to be one of the main causes of Alzheimer’s disease. Olivia Merkel and her research team are supplying the so-called small interfering RNA molecules. These short molecules of ribonucleic acid help turn off the expression of certain genes in brain tumours.
The charitable Else Kröner-Fresenius Foundation promotes the advancement of medical research. The foundation supports key projects with the potential to make fundamental and groundbreaking discoveries that could impact an entire field of research.
Prof. Dr. Gert Fricker and Prof. Dr. Ulrike Müller
Institute of Pharmacy and Molecular Biotechnology
Phone: +49 6221 54-8336 (Fricker) and -6717 (Müller)
Communications and Marketing
Press Office, phone: +49 6221 54-2311
Marietta Fuhrmann-Koch | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Single-stranded DNA and RNA origami go live
15.12.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard
New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists
15.12.2017 | Louisiana State University
DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.
Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences
15.12.2017 | Life Sciences