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Developing bio-based carrier systems for gene transfer

Genes on sugar - von Prof. Dr Dagmar Fischer, Prof. Dr Thomas Heinze

The targeted transport of DNA and RNA using vectors (mostly made from synthetic polymers) in cell cultures has become part of routine practice in biological R&D – a fact highlighted by the multitude of commercial kits now available. To date, however, obstacles relating to use in patients have beset many laboratory studies and – in particular – the transfer to clinical practice. In many cases, such issues are related to safety concerns and limited...

Complex API delivery

Cellular transport proteins and API transport - von Prof. Gert Fricker, Dr. Anne Mahringer

A medicine's potency often depends on the concentration of its active ingredient (API) at the target site. Medicines are usually delivered remotely to this target site, however. The API must first dissolve and traverse local barriers such as the intestinal wall before it can enter the bloodstream and then reach its target site. For a long time, work in this area was guided by the dogma that API diffusion was the force driving absorption by the body...

Viruses in the water

Detection and analysis of human viral pathogens in surface waters - von Dr. Lars Jurzik, Mats Leifels

Alongside the development of methods for quantifying human viral pathogens in surface and waste waters, a key role is also played by the analysis of the resultant data. While drinking water supplies must be safeguarded on the one hand, the public must also be able to pursue waterrelated recreation activities without fearing health risks.

When tuberculosis faces an even stronger opponent

Detecting tuberculosis – contribution to the battle against infectious diseases - von Carl ZEISS Microscopy Jena

Tuberculosis (TB) is second only to HIV/ AIDS for the dubious distinction of being the world’s greatest killer. TB is a bacterial disease caused by a single infectious agent, <i>Mycobacterium tuberculosis</i>,which most commonly affects the lungs. It is transmitted from person to person via droplets from the throat and lungs of people who have the active respiratory disease.

A new application for microscopy

Non-invasive cancer diagnosis - von Dr Leo Habets

Cancer has been a part of human life from our earliest days. In research conducted by Aachen-based oncologist Dr Leo Habets, a non-invasive, microscope-based diagnostic procedure has the potential to revolutionise research and progress in understanding the circumstances of the disease, so as to ­develop new therapeutic approaches. Microscope-based high-content screening systems in basic clinical research: can a non-­invasive procedure replace the...

A new application for microscopy

Non-Invasive Cancer Diagnosis - von Dr Leo Habets

Cancer has been a part of human life from our earliest days. In research conducted by Aachen-based oncologist Dr Leo Habets, a non-invasive, microscope-based diagnostic procedure has the potential to revolutionise research and progress in understanding the circumstances of the disease, so as to ­develop new therapeutic approaches. Microscope-based high-content screening systems in basic clinical research: can a non-­invasive procedure replace the...

Re-creating cardiac tissue

A Heart in a Petri Dish - von Prof. Dr Marko D. Mihovilovic

For medical research in the 21st century, regenerative medicine offers one of the most promising futures and prospects for further development. Revolutionary results have already been achieved by the efforts of genetic engineering, although ethical and regulatory aspects mean that such methods are unlikely to see widespread deployment.

A complementary approach is now being pursued by the application of small-molecule ­compounds: a rapidly growing...

Data Visualization in Medicinal Chemistry

Hiking Trails in Activity Landscapes - von Prof. Dr Jürgen Bajorath

The massive growth of compound activity data provides opportunities and challenges for medicinal chemistry. Conventional approaches for the analysis of structure-­activity relationships (SARs) are not suitable for the exploration and exploitation of this unprecedented knowledge base. Recently, new computational methodologies have been introduced for large-scale SAR analysis that put emphasis on visualization to provide an intuitive access to complex...

labor&more in interview with prize-winning scientist Dr. Ben Lehner

‘Luckily, Individuals Turn out to Be Different.’

Why are individuals different? Why do the same mutations in the genome have different effects on different individuals? Why does one twin get sick when another does not? How do sicknesses come about through the combination of different mutations? These are the questions which British scientist Dr Ben Lehner – ICREA Research Professor, EMBL-CRG ­Systems Biology Unit, at the Centre de Regulació Genòmica (CRG) in Barcelona – investigates in his...

The earliest plasma marker for myocardial infarction

Fabulous FABP - von Prof Dr Reinhard Renneberg, Prof. Dr Jan F.C. Glatz

The application of Fatty Acid-Binding Protein (FABP) as a plasma marker for the diagnosis of acute myo­cardial infarction was first suggested in 1988. Currently, FABP is proven to have added value for the diagnosis­ of patients presenting with chest pain suggestive of myocardial infarction, especially in the early hours after onset of symptoms. The routine application of FABP for this purpose not only will improve patient outcome but also markedly...

Chemical synthesis of vaccines

An anti-cancer jab? - von Prof. Dr Horst Kunz, Sebastian Hartmann, Björn Palitzsch

*Vaccinations against disease: a blessing for humanity*