Biomarker research has moved on from proteins to nucleic acids where one of the main priorities is the use of microRNA expression profiles. The Heidelberg-based biotech company Comprehensive Biomarker Center GmbH (CBC, formerly febit) has state-of-the-art technologies and the skills and knowledge to advance the development of new nucleic acid biomarkers for complex diseases in cooperation with partners from research and industry.
Overexpression of the protein BAZ2A, which leads to alterations in epigenetic patterns, increases the malignant properties of tumour cells, including their mobility and their ability to form metastases. The findings of a team of researchers from Heidelberg, Zurich and Hamburg may have led to the discovery of an urgently needed prognostic biomarker that would make it possible to differentiate aggressive prostate cancer from the less malignant form.
People whose blood clots more easily than normal are more often affected by cancer. Scientists at the German Cancer Research Center have discovered that a number of variants of clotting factor genes have an influence on bowel cancer risk. They found out that carriers of a particular gene variant of clotting factor V have a bowel cancer risk that is six times higher than people who do not have this gene variant.
Patients with oropharyngeal cancers have a more favorable prognosis if their tumors are caused by human papillomaviruses. Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) and Heidelberg University Hospital have now identified biomarkers which enable them to differentiate cancer cases taking a favorable course from those with an unfavorable one. It may be possible to treat the two disease types differently.
Biomarkers play a key role in testing the efficacy of a new drug or finding out adverse reactions to it. For reliable and quick results, modern laboratory methods are used to generate huge amounts of highly complex molecular data. The data then need to be efficiently analysed. The company Genedata, with headquarters in Basel (Switzerland) and offices throughout Europe, including a base in Konstanz (Germany), has developed the software system Genedata Expressionist®, which uses biostatistical methods and algorithms to analyse the interaction of genes, proteins and metabolites and find out whether these molecules can be used as effective biomarkers. Leading pharmaceutical companies around the world rely on this software.
Coordinated by the Department of Cardiology at the University of Heidelberg, the EU-funded interdisciplinary project “BestAgeing” is focussed on the identification of biomarkers for diagnosing heart disease in elderly patients. The research partners hope that the combination of several biomarkers will allow a more accurate diagnosis of heart disease, resulting in a more efficient and effective treatment of elderly patients.
A biomarker-driven personalised therapeutic approach to lung cancer is possible – this is the conclusion reached by the BATTLE trial. The preliminary results of the trial were summarised by scientists from the Thoraxklinik at Heidelberg University Hospital in the May 2011 issue of “Clinical Investigation”.
Prof. Dr. Heike Allgayer a surgeon and molecular biologist from Heidelberg is investigating the molecular processes of the formation of tumour metastases. A major objective of her research is to find specific biomarkers that enable the early identification of metastases and to monitor the outcome of therapy. She has already received numerous prizes for her achievements.
Biomarkers are playing an increasing role in drug discovery and development. They can be used as molecular indicators for diseases and disease risks as well as for monitoring the effectiveness of therapy. Highly specific molecular biomarkers are being identified using state-of-the-art technologies from the fields of genomics, proteomics and metabolomics.
How quickly does a pharmaceutical substance exert its effect? What mechanisms does it use to exert its effect on people and how long does it remain active? In a team headed by Prof. Dr. Martin Elmlinger Nycomed GmbH has developed an efficient biomarker discovery concept specially adapted to the companys requirements and designed to clarify such questions. The concept is specifically geared to the phases and requirements of the companys projects. Every year the company develops five new biomarker tests with the objective of speeding up the time to market of new drugs.
Last 26th of May in Mulhouse (France), 35 players of the industrial and academic domain experienced our first Meet&Match with the thematic: biomarkers. 14 speakers coming from all over the trinational BioValley presented their work during 12 minutes in front of a highly qualified and interested audience.
A plethora of biomarkers is available for the early diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis and associated tissue damage and disorders. In addition, new biomarkers that improve the diagnosis and treatment of patients suffering from this common destructive autoimmune disease are constantly being discovered.
Physical activity healthy nutrition more relaxation and no permanent sleep deficiency - is there a secret recipe for eternal youth? Alexander Bürkle from Constance along with scientists from all over Europe are aiming to identify the powerful biomarkers of human ageing.
Numerous experts in molecular diagnostics convened at the Second Workshop of the Biomarker Discovery Center (BDC) in Heidelberg. More than 40 researchers from universities, hospitals and industry from various regions of Germany made their way to the city despite adverse travel conditions caused by the volcanic ash cloud.
Personalised medicine is the potential capacity to systematically use information about an individual patient in order to select or optimise that patient’s therapeutic care and tailor individual preventive treatments. Biomarkers need to be used as objective parameters in order to determine a patient’s individual risk profile. The role that features detected by genetic tests play in the causal mechanism of diseases and whether they are suitable starting points for preventive and therapeutic treatments is not always clear.
febit today announced a restructuring as a consequence of its strategic focus on blood-based microRNA biomarker discovery febits major business development in 20092010 and on partnerships and intellectual property IP commercialization. The new focus includes the collaboration and provision of high-end services for clinical researchers in academia diagnostic companies and the pharma industry. The operational restructuring resulted in a reduction of febits workforce by approximately 60 percent.
Depression, rheumatism, sickle cell anaemia – elevated levels of substance P in blood plasma might be an alarm signal. The molecule plays an important role in generating an inflammatory response. Commercially available tests involving microtitre plates are time-consuming and expensive. Dr. Hüseyin Bakirci and his team from the Department of Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK) at the University of Freiburg have developed a chip the size of a fingertip that enables the cheap, fast and highly sensitive quantitative measurement of substance P and other biomarkers in patient samples.
Lenhard Rudolph’s biomarker quartet is extremely promising in terms of progressing medical and clinical treatment in ageing societies. The quartet - EF-1 alpha, Chi3L3, CRAMP and OP 18 – is made up of four proteins that can potentially be used as biomarkers. Specific concentrations of these molecules in human blood provide information on the biological age and renewal capacity of the tissue and organs of patients. The biomarker quartet also enables predictions to be made concerning age-related and chronic human (and animal) diseases.
Germany will contribute another project to the International Cancer Genome Consortium ICGC. Coordinated by the German Cancer Research Center and the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf physicians and molecular biologists will now start to investigate the genetic causes of early prostate cancer.
High-Tech Gründerfonds is investing EUR 600,000 in Reutlingen-based SIGNATOPE GmbH. SIGNATOPE will use the funds to advance the development of its unique biomarker assay system, that has been established to support pharmaceutical research. The technology is based on special antibodies and allows the early detection of possible side effects during the drug development process. Thereby, the need for animal testing will be reduced while the drug becomes safer and the process more cost-efficient. SIGNATOPE has already secured a number of renowned companies as clients of the new technique.
The Biomarker Workshop held at the NMI in late January has become a fixed date for a growing number of proteomics researchers. With an attendance of 130 this years workshop exceeded all previous ones. Those who were keen to find out more about the latest trends and findings were presented with a successful mix of basic and applied research information.
"Faster Development of Safer Medicines through Translational Safety Biomarkers": On September 14, 2009, the Safer And Faster Evidence-based Translation (SAFE-T) consortium project under the EU Innovative Medicines Initiative - Joint Undertaking (IMI-JU) was presented at the EUROTOX 2009 conference in Dresden. The consortium announces the start of work to qualify biomarkers for drug-induced kidney, liver and vascular injury in translational studies and seek for regulatory acceptance in translational and clinical contexts.
Signatope is a new biotech company that has been offering innovative biomarker assays for application in drug discovery since August 2016. The company’s assays can be used in all phases of drug development to detect potential adverse drug effects on the kidneys, liver and other organs in any species whatsoever using minute amounts of sample.
Diagnosing suitable biomarkers is a prerequisite for tailoring personalised therapies to patient heterogeneity. Genetic tests and genome sequencing play a key role in these diagnoses. Up until now, personalised therapy has achieved the greatest success in the field of oncology. However, personalised treatments are also gaining in importance for treating other diseases.
A new therapeutic method uses a patient’s own cartilage cells for the regeneration of intervertebral discs. The NMI Natural and Medical Sciences Institute in Reutlingen and its partners are scientific partners in the first clinical application of the new method. The key aim of the researchers from Reutlingen is the validation of the safety, efficiency and efficacy of the new method in order to prepare for approval for broad application in patients.