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.
Stuttgart-based Nexxor GmbH uses its topicWorks platform as a basis for developing “knowledge-oriented” information systems specifically for the pharmaceutical, biotech and life science sectors. These standardised software systems are no longer based solely on data and documents. They employ an innovative concept to map the meanings and semantic relationships of content in a flexible way, similar to processes used by the Semantic Web.
Karlsruhe based quantiom bioinformatics has developed a software tool that enables the comparative analysis of chromosomes and that enables statements to be made on the correlation of genomic alterations and disease development.
Studies have shown that communication between doctors and patients is very important for doctors to be able to give a precise diagnosis and to increase patient acceptance of therapy. Unfortunately, doctors often do not have the time for in-depth conversations with their patients. A new anamnesis software called Idana looks set to change this situation. The software tailors questions specifically to individual patients and helps treating doctors to make a diagnosis of the patient’s disease that is as accurate as possible despite a tight time frame.
Alexandros (Alexis) Stamatakis heads the new research group “Scientific Computing” at the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS) – Software and supercomputing for large-scale biological data analysis.
Experiments in modern cell biological laboratories or the scheduling and task management of rehab clinics – all of this leads to a flood of data, which needs to be organised and analysed. The Freiburg-based start-up company Tikanis GmbH offers innovative and inexpensive software solutions for modellers of dynamic processes, clinical researchers or therapists. The founders of the company, Dr. Thomas Maiwald and Julie Blumberg, are well aware of their clients’ requirements. The products, of which some have been awarded prizes, are, and will be also in the future, the result of the founders’ own scientific experience and working through problems.
Junior professor Dr. Stefan Günther from the Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Freiburg has a long-standing interest in computer sciences and is now developing software to model three-dimensional protein structures. This enables him to predict interaction mechanisms between therapeutic substances and cellular enzymes.
The new large-scale cooperative project SPARTA is aimed at developing adaptive, intelligent and flexibly expandable software systems for the improved radiotherapy of cancer. The Heidelberg Institute of Radiation Oncology (HIRO), which integrates the common research interests of all institutions in Heidelberg active in the field of radiotherapy, plays a pivotal role in the project.
The bachelor’s theses of Matthias Hillert and Pascal Laube, students at the Konstanz University of Applied Sciences (HTWG), involved the development of a computer programme that facilitates the analysis of computed tomography images of the liver by comparing them to similar images stored in a database. It is a tool that has the potential to be used in other areas, such as the identification of bone tumours.
Trying to get a second opinion from a medical colleague who is at home preparing dinner may be quite a challenge, especially when the colleague does not have access to the necessary image data. This has now become easier in the field of radiology thanks to a mobile app called mRay, which provides a reliable way for radiologists to share medical images on mobile devices.
There are over 700 treatment guidelines in Germany alone, and each is up to several hundred pages long. Can doctors still stay on top of things? A start-up company from Mannheim called evid is developing a software that can retrieve relevant therapy recommendations for individual patients from the huge pile of paperwork. In March 2018, the founding trio won first place of the eHealthForum Freiburg start-up competition.
Artificial intelligence is currently one of the most innovative issues, but also one of the most controversial research areas. It already has a firm footing in many areas of our everyday life and often we are not even aware of it. Artificial intelligence has long been an integral part of many processes in research and diagnostics in medicine and the life sciences – and it will be even more widely used in the future.
Scientists have long dreamed of being able to grasp the brain as a whole. A research team led by Junior Professor Dr. Olaf Ronneberger from the Department of Computer Science of the University of Freiburg and Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Driever developmental biologist at the Institute of Biology I has now taken a big step toward making this dream a reality. The Freiburg researchers developed microscopic imaging techniques and software for observing and comparing all of the genes of the zebrafish brain and thus also the factors influencing its nerve cells in a three-dimensional virtual model.
Insilico Biotechnology AG from Stuttgart designs and optimises biotechnological processes for the chemical pharmaceutical and food industries. The company makes predictions on the behaviour of cells and organisms. This knowledge can be used to reduce the time required for the development or optimisation of biotechnological processes involving the production of drugs. The company owns a worldwide unique systems biology platform that integrates proprietary databases cell models and computer-assisted analysis methods. Insilico offers new solutions based on the integration and analysis of experimental data using genome-wide network models for the production of biochemicals and biopharmaceuticals as well as for the validation of active substances.
A realistic computer model of the human heart is expected to make treating heart diseases more effective: doctors will be able to test medicines and surgical techniques on the computer heart and determine the most effective therapy. Olaf Dössel, director of the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, believes that his team's heart model is among the top five in the world.
In the healthcare sector, blockchain technology is still in the early stages of development, although it has huge potential in this field. It is expected that patients will particularly benefit from the introduction of a decentralised database for managing and sharing health-related information with treating physicians. Statutory health insurance companies become less important as intermediaries. But how exactly does this technology work?
The founders and partners of DiHeSys have big ambitions: "We have to build a complete ecosystem around the patient," says Dr. Markus Dachtler, managing director of DiHeSys. The company develops products and services for an industry in transition, provides answers to trends such as personalized medicine, 2D- and 3D-printing technologies and platform technologies. The company’s motto: no isolated solutions, but a comprehensive range of services.
The idea of analysing tissue samples automatically sounds more of a pipe dream than anything else. However, it already happens. HS-Analysis GmbH's ability to interpret tissue samples automatically is driving new drug development a decisive step forward.
“Stop experimenting – GoSilico” is the motto of a young start-up company from Karlsruhe. The founding team of GoSilico GmbH is causing a furore with a simulation software that would make many laboratory experiments obsolete. The chromatographic separation of biomolecules from organisms, samples and cell cultures can be reliably simulated after just a few starter experiments. This saves time, work, material and costs in pharmaceutical development.
Big data is a widely used buzzword in today's information era. The use of big data in the digital world presents both an opportunity and a risk. Mass data is now used and analysed in almost all areas of life. Even the healthcare sector is undergoing extensive digitisation.
Danger identified, danger averted – the better the dynamic changes of the viral genome are understood, the better the spread of the pathogens can be predicted, thus enabling more efficient countermeasures to be taken. A team of researchers from Tübingen and Seattle is developing an open source online platform that maps the evolution of viruses and identifies dangerous developments.
Genedata AG has developed a modular software system known as Genedata Screener that is tailored to screening and hit-to-lead applications. Dr. Timo Wittenberg who works at the companys site in Constance Germany told us about the advantages of the software for identifying high-potential leads.