The custom hunt for the drugs of tomorrow
Costly clinical tests, controversial experiments on animals, and undesired side effects for patients – the development of new drugs has many obstacles to overcome. With its modern analytical methods, biotechnology is becoming ever more important for medical research as a tool for the earliest possible testing of a preparation’s side effects.
Holger Wenschuh is still suffering a little from jetlag. A graduate chemist and Managing Director of the Adlershof biotech company JPT Peptide Technologies, he has just returned from a mile long tour of presentations in California. “In the USA there is a huge interest in our products,” he explained. Set up in 2004, his company specialises in peptides. These protein fragments can be synthesised from amino acids and, when combined on a biochip, help to analyse the effects e.g. of new vaccines.
JPT operates not only as a service provider, but also in drug research. Together with the Spanish companies IUCT and Leitat, this Adlershof company intends to enhance the effects of a chemotherapeutic agent that can be used against a range of cancerous tumours. “The agent is highly effective, but exhibits too great a toxicity on healthy cells as well,” confessed Wenschuh. The researchers are working on a synthetic molecule that docks specifically on cancer cells where it then releases the drug. Tumour cells differ from healthy ones in that they require a greater blood supply and increase production of certain protein receptors on their surfaces. “We want to develop a protein that bonds precisely to these receptors,” explained Wenschuh. The project has received 200,000 from EU funds. In the first stage, there will be tests in the Petri dish, and by 2013 the researchers want to demonstrate the success of their method in tests with mice. Wenschuh estimates at least ten years before a drug is produced that can be used on cancer patients.
The unwanted side effects of drugs on human cells also occupy Hubert Köster, founder of the biotech company Caprotec. “Often, drugs react not only with the target protein, but also with others,” he explained, a graduate chemist who has already set up a number of successful biotech companies, adding that the consequences for patients include serious side effects. With their Capture Compound Mass Spectrometry (CCMS), Köster and his colleagues have developed an analytical technology that can fish out of a huge quantity of human proteins the culprits that cause the drug’s undesired interactions.
The Caprotec experts were able, for instance, to demonstrate why a drug to treat Parkinson’s disease can cause liver damage. CCMS molecules, however, can also be custom designed for the analysis of other drug groups, e.g. for reducing blood pressure or cholesterol levels. “That our technology can help us to understand interactions in the human proteome at an early stage is a huge cost advantage for the development of drugs – and could also contribute towards cutting costs in the health care system,” explained Köster. He can certainly look forward to a deluge of customer requests.
by Claudia Wessling
Please also read the back issues of the Adlershof Special in the archive. There you also can subscribe to the printed version of our magazine.
Most popular news by...
- Fuelling, version 2.0 – ideas in the field of electromobility:
- MagForce AG Receives Further Patent Related to NanoTherm® Therapy: European patent granted for nanoparticle-drug conjugat...
- Physicists let magnetic dipoles interact on the nanoscale for the first time: “Of great technical interest for future ha...
- Snap shots of one of life's central processes: Human Frontier Science Program provides funding of 900,000 US Dollars in su...
- HIGH TECH – LOW EX: For the future of energy eficiency: An interview with Beate Mekiffer, head of this pilot project in ...
- Adlershof Special 28: Renewable Energies: For the future of energy efficiency
- Climate Climbers: Building climatization by a façade greening system in Adlershof
- High-power diode lasers: Technology transfer the Berlin Way: Silke Pflueger, newly appointed member of ILS' Editorial Advi...
- Nucleus for innovative storage solutions: Approaches for a self-sufficient energy supply
- Tapping into heaven and earth: How renewable energies are utilised in the Technology Park Adlershof
- Veränderung in der Geschäftsführung der Adlershof Projekt GmbH: Gerhard W. Steindorf jetzt Geschäftsführer der Tempel...
- Der Schrittmacher: Auch heute, 18 Jahre später, ist Falk Fabich sichtlich engagiert, wenn er von der Neuordnung der Wisse...
- Carmen moderiert in Adlershof: 50 Jahre Deutsches Fernsehballett
- SPEKTRUM ADLERSHOF : Erste Mietfläche übergeben
- Der Mann, der Alfons Zitterbacke war:
- In stürmischen Zeiten:
- German U15 gegründet: HU und 14 weitere Universitäten wollen Forschungsbedingungen verbessern
- Für die moderne Frau bis Größe 50: Adlershofer CITYdirndl hat alles - außer Trachten
- HU-Start-up BetterTec startet Taxi-App BetterTaxi in Berlin: Unkomplizierte Taxibuchung dank Ein-Klick-Bestellung