Velabs Therapeutics GmbH, a leader in rapid screening of functional therapeutic antibodies, today announced the closing of a €3 million Series B financing round to advance its functional antibody screening programme and to strengthen its own pipeline of preclinical functional antibodies against diseases with poor treatment options. Further details of the financing round were not disclosed.
A team of researchers led by Nobel laureate Prof. Dr. med. Dr. h.c. mult. Harald zur Hausen has discovered a new type of infectious agent in dairy and meat products produced from European cattle that increases the risk for colon and breast cancer. These so-called Bovine Meat and Milk Factors (BMMFs) are small DNA molecules that are similar in sequence to both bacterial plasmids and certain viruses.
More than one billion people worldwide suffer from neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). NTDs are mostly poverty-related infectious diseases that prevail in tropical countries due to lack of research and measures to detect, prevent and control them. Dr. Dr. Carsten Köhler reports on the political, economic and scientific contributions Germany and Baden-Württemberg can make to successfully change this situation.
In the new gene technology report, the interdisciplinary working group of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences (BBAW) takes stock of gene technology developments in Germany during the past few decades, and discusses the societal, legal and ethical challenges associated with these technologies in the future. The report is highly topical due to the controversy surrounding the ruling of the European Court of Justice on CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing and reports that the first children whose DNA has been altered using gene editing have been born in China.
Three researchers at the MPI for Immunobiology and Epigenetics receive millions in funding from the European Research Council.
Dominic Grün, Nicola Iovino and Ritwick Sawarkar from the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics in Freiburg will each be awareded one of the prestigious Consolidator Grants of the European Research Council. This means that 6 million euros in funding will go to fundamental research in Freiburg over the next five years.
Microsatellite-unstable cancers are characterised by a large number of mutations within short repetitive DNA sequence regions, and can form novel peptides that the human immune system recognises as neoantigens. These cancers represent a starting point for the development of vaccines to prevent them appearing at an early stage of development. Microsatellite instability is particularly frequent in colon and cervical cancers.
Parkinson's disease is one of the most common neurodegenerative diseases in the world. There are around 4.1 million sufferers worldwide. It is characterised by motor impairments that result from the death of certain nerve cells in the brain. Therapies are not yet available. However, researchers at the University of Tübingen have now discovered that vitamin B3 has a positive effect on damaged nerve cells and can boost their energy metabolism. Vitamin B3 application will now be examined to determine whether it could be a new therapeutic approach for treating Parkinson's.
The European Research Council (ERC) awards Starting Grants to support excellent young scientists when they are starting an independent science career. In this year's round of proposals, three scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) have been chosen at once for the prestigious award: Ana Banito, Fabian Erdel and Moritz Mall.
In late February 2018, Ulm became the tenth German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) site within the Helmholtz Association. Ulm has long been a world leader in diagnosing and treating rare neurological disorders, notably amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and Huntington's disease (HD). We spoke with Professor Albert C. Ludolph, spokesperson for the Ulm DZNE site, medical director of the Clinic for Neurology at the RKU (University and Rehabilitation Clinics of Ulm) and world-renowned ALS researcher.
Scientists at the HI-STEM stem cell institute in Heidelberg have shown that the stem cells responsible for replenishing blood cells have the greatest potential of self-renewal of any other stem cells. However, they are normally in a dormant state, and only become active upon exposure to certain stress factors. This protects the genomes of the stem cells from damage that causes leukaemias. The researchers have shown that an oncogene called MYC controls the stem cells' transition from dormancy to active self-renewal. Vitamin A counteracts activation of the oncogene by inflammatory factors. Myc gene expression is controlled by a modular gene enhancer cluster. In leukaemia stem cells, this cluster is deregulated and the MYC concentration elevated.
Which substances are suitable for treating neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's? Due to complex biochemical relationships, testing suitable drug candidates is difficult, especially in the early drug development phase. Many predictive test systems only cover individual aspects. A team from Baden-Württemberg and France is now combining different models to develop a new approach.
While breast cancer survival has clearly improved in recent years, there are still tumour types that are resistant to treatment. Women with triple-negative breast cancer have benefitted very little from progress in cancer medicine. Targeted therapies aimed at inhibiting epigenetic regulators might offer a potential new option for the treatment of breast cancer. Prof. Dr. Roland Schüle and Dr. Jochen Maurer have discovered an epigenetic enzyme called KDM4 and come up with a new cell model that significantly facilitates the development of new cancer drugs.