Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology

Aachen, Germany

Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology

Aachen, Germany
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Vilcinskas A.,Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology | Vilcinskas A.,Justus Liebig University
Current Pharmaceutical Design | Year: 2011

The larvae of the greater wax moth Galleria mellonella prosper in use both as surrogate alternative model hosts for human pathogens and as a whole-animal-high-throughput-system for in vivo testing of antibiotics or mutant-libraries of pathogens. In addition, a broad spectrum of antimicrobial peptides and proteins has been identified in this insect during the past decade among which some appear to be specific for Lepidoptera. Its arsenal of immunity-related effector molecules encompasses peptides and proteins exhibiting potent activity against bacteria, fungi or both, whose potential as new anti-infective therapeutics is presently being explored. Of particular interest is the insect metalloproteinase inhibitor (IMPI) which has been discovered in G. mellonella. The IMPI exhibits a specific and potent activity against thermolysin-like microbial metalloproteinases including a number of prominent virulence and/or pathogenic factors of human pathogens which are responsible for severe symptoms such as septicemia, hemorrhagic tissue bleeding, necrosis and enhancement of vascular permeability. The IMPI and antimicrobial peptides from G. mellonella may provide promising templates for the rational design of new drugs since evidence is available that the combination of antibiotics with inhibitors of pathogen-associated proteolytic enzymes yields synergistic therapeutic effects. The potential and limitations of insect-derived gene-encoded antimicrobial compounds as antiinfective therapeutics are discussed. © 2011 Bentham Science Publishers Ltd.

Oertel B.G.,Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology | Oertel B.G.,Goethe University Frankfurt | Lotsch J.,Goethe University Frankfurt
British Journal of Pharmacology | Year: 2013

The medical impact of pain is such that much effort is being applied to develop novel analgesic drugs directed towards new targets and to investigate the analgesic efficacy of known drugs. Ongoing research requires cost-saving tools to translate basic science knowledge into clinically effective analgesic compounds. In this review we have re-examined the prediction of clinical analgesia by human experimental pain models as a basis for model selection in phase I studies. The overall prediction of analgesic efficacy or failure of a drug correlated well between experimental and clinical settings. However, correct model selection requires more detailed information about which model predicts a particular clinical pain condition. We hypothesized that if an analgesic drug was effective in an experimental pain model and also a specific clinical pain condition, then that model might be predictive for that particular condition and should be selected for development as an analgesic for that condition. The validity of the prediction increases with an increase in the numbers of analgesic drug classes for which this agreement was shown. From available evidence, only five clinical pain conditions were correctly predicted by seven different pain models for at least three different drugs. Most of these models combine a sensitization method. The analysis also identified several models with low impact with respect to their clinical translation. Thus, the presently identified agreements and non-agreements between analgesic effects on experimental and on clinical pain may serve as a solid basis to identify complex sets of human pain models that bridge basic science with clinical pain research. British Journal of Pharmacology © 2012 The British Pharmacological Society.

Gul S.,Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology
Clinical Epigenetics | Year: 2017

The implication of epigenetic abnormalities in many diseases and the approval of a number of compounds that modulate specific epigenetic targets in a therapeutically relevant manner in cancer specifically confirms that some of these targets are druggable by small molecules. Furthermore, a number of compounds are currently in clinical trials for other diseases including cardiovascular, neurological and metabolic disorders. Despite these advances, the approved treatments for cancer only extend progression-free survival for a relatively short time and being associated with significant side effects. The current clinical trials involving the next generation of epigenetic drugs may address the disadvantages of the currently approved epigenetic drugs. The identification of chemical starting points of many drugs often makes use of screening in vitro assays against libraries of synthetic or natural products. These assays can be biochemical (using purified protein) or cell-based (using for example, genetically modified, cancer cell lines or primary cells) and performed in microtiter plates, thus enabling a large number of samples to be tested. A considerable number of such assays are available to monitor epigenetic target activity, and this review provides an overview of drug discovery and chemical biology and describes assays that monitor activities of histone deacetylase, lysine-specific demethylase, histone methyltransferase, histone acetyltransferase and bromodomain. It is of critical importance that an appropriate assay is developed and comprehensively validated for a given drug target prior to screening in order to improve the probability of the compound progressing in the drug discovery value chain. © 2017, The Author(s).

Sisignano M.,Goethe University Frankfurt | Parnham M.J.,Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology | Geisslinger G.,Goethe University Frankfurt | Geisslinger G.,Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology
Trends in Pharmacological Sciences | Year: 2016

Drug development consumes huge amounts of time and money and the search for novel analgesics, which are urgently required, is particularly difficult, having resulted in many setbacks in the past. Drug repurposing - the identification of new uses for existing drugs - is an alternative approach, which bypasses most of the time- and cost-consuming components of drug development. Recent, unexpected findings suggest a role for several existing drugs, such as minocycline, ceftriaxone, sivelestat, and pioglitazone, as novel analgesics in chronic and neuropathic pain states. Here, we discuss these findings as well as their proposed antihyperalgesic mechanisms and outline the merits of pathway-based repurposing screens, in combination with bioinformatics and novel cellular reprogramming techniques, for the identification of novel analgesics. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Parnham M.J.,Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology | Sies H.,Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf
Biochemical Pharmacology | Year: 2013

Ebselen (2-phenyl-1,2-benzisoselenazol-3(2H)-one; PZ-51, DR-3305), is an organoselenium compound with glutathione peroxidase (GPx)-like, thiol-dependent, hydroperoxide reducing activity. As an enzyme mimic for activity of the selenoenzyme GPx, this compound has proved to be highly useful in research on mechanisms in redox biology. Furthermore, the reactivity of ebselen with protein thiols has helped to identify novel, selective targets for inhibitory actions on several enzymes of importance in pharmacology and toxicology. Importantly, the selenium in ebselen is not released and thus is not bioavailable, ebselen metabolites being excreted in bile and urine. As a consequence, initial concerns about selenium toxicity, fortunately, were unfounded. Potential applications in medical settings have been explored, notably in brain ischemia and stroke. More recently, there has been a surge in interest as new medical applications have been taken into consideration. The first publication on the biochemical effects of ebselen appeared 30 years ago (Müller et al. [4]), which prompted the authors to retrace the early development from their perspective. It is a fascinating example of fruitful interaction between research-oriented industry and academia. © ]2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Stoger E.,University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna | Fischer R.,Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology | Moloney M.,Rothamsted Research | Ma J.K.C.,St George's, University of London
Annual Review of Plant Biology | Year: 2014

Plant molecular pharming has emerged as a niche technology for the manufacture of pharmaceutical products indicated for chronic and ectious diseases, particularly for products that do not fit into the current industry-favored model of fermenter-based production campaigns. In this review, we explore the areas where molecular pharming can make the greatest impact, including the production of pharmaceuticals that have novel glycan structures or that cannot be produced efficiently in microbes or mammalian cells because they are insoluble or toxic. We also explore the market dynamics that encourage the use of molecular pharming, particularly for pharmaceuticals that are required in small amounts (such as personalized medicines) or large amounts (on a multi-ton scale, such as blood products and microbicides) and those that are needed in response to emergency situations (pandemics and bioterrorism). The impact of molecular pharming will increase as the platforms become standardized and optimized through adoption of good manufacturing practice (GMP) standards for clinical development, offering a new opportunity to produce inexpensive medicines in regional markets that are typically excluded under current business models. Copyright © 2014 by Annual Reviews.

Wacker M.G.,Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology
Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences | Year: 2014

Nanomaterials have become part of formulation development in the pharmaceutical industry and offer exciting opportunities in the area of targeted drug delivery. But they may also exert unexpected toxicities and potentially pose a threat to human health and the environment. Since the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks recommended a definition of "nanomaterials" for implementation into the existing and upcoming regulatory framework in the European Union, a discussion about safety requirements of new nanoscale products has emerged. At the same time, the Food and Drug Administration of the United States still observes recent developments in this area. Although the impact on the pharmaceutical product chain is still uncertain, guidelines on risk assessment in food products and cosmetics are available and offer a preview of future developments in the regimens of pharmaceuticals. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. and the American Pharmacists Association.

Bortesi L.,RWTH Aachen | Fischer R.,RWTH Aachen | Fischer R.,Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology
Biotechnology Advances | Year: 2015

Targeted genome editing using artificial nucleases has the potential to accelerate basic research as well as plant breeding by providing the means to modify genomes rapidly in a precise and predictable manner. Here we describe the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR)/CRISPR-associated protein 9 (Cas9) system, a recently developed tool for the introduction of site-specific double-stranded DNA breaks. We highlight the strengths and weaknesses of this technology compared with two well-established genome editing platforms: zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs) and transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs). We summarize recent results obtained in plants using CRISPR/Cas9 technology, discuss possible applications in plant breeding and consider potential future developments. © 2015.

De Bruin N.M.W.J.,Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology | Kruse C.G.,University of Amsterdam
Current Pharmaceutical Design | Year: 2015

5-hydroxytryptamine6 receptor (5-HT6R) antagonists have shown efficacy in animal models for cognitive impairment in multiple cognitive domains relevant for schizophrenia. Improvements were found with 5-HT6R antagonists in preclinical tests for episodic memory, social cognition, executive function, working memory and several other tests for both learning and memory. In contrast, there is little evidence for efficacy on attention. It will be interesting to further investigate 5-HT6R antagonists in neurodevelopmental animal models which are based on prenatal exposure to specific environmental insults, and are characterized by a high level of face, construct and predictive validity for cognitive impairments associated with schizophrenia. It is also important to do more add-on preclinical studies of 5-HT6 antagonists with antipsychotics. Possible mechanisms of action to improve cognition have been described. 5- HT6R antagonists decrease GABA release and GABAergic interneuron excitability, which subsequently disinhibits glutamate and/or acetylcholine release and results in enhancement of synaptic plasticity. Furthermore, cognition could be improved by 5-HT6R antagonists, because these compounds increase the number of NCAM PSA-immunoreactive neurons in the dendate gyrus, inhibit mTOR and Fyntyrosine kinase and interact with DARPP-32. Interestingly, there is increasing preclinical evidence that could support additional benefits of 5-HT6R ligandson comorbid conditions in schizophrenia such as drug abuse, depression, anxiety, obesity andantipsychotic-induced EPS. Finally, we briefly give an overview of the 5-HT6R compounds that are currently in clinical development for the treatment of cognitive impairment in both schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease. © 2015, Bentham Science Publishers.

Malaysian Palm Oil Board and Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology | Date: 2013-08-07

The present disclosure relates to a protocol for the regeneration of Elaeis plants from protoplasts and to the genetic manipulation of the protoplasts to introduce or facilitate expression of desired properties and beneficial traits in Elaeis plants.

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