Press releases

  • Therapeutic modulation of organ fibrosis in biochip format / 2022

    Fraunhofer project FibroPaths®: enabling rapid and safe development of antifibrotic drugs

    Press release / June 29, 2022

    More than 100 million individuals worldwide suffer from organ fibrosis, a pathological proliferation of connective tissue in an organ, such as the lung, heart and liver. Hardly any causal treatments are available to date. The unmet medical need is partly due to the fact that the existing disease models for fibrosis research are insufficient and little predictive. Coordinated by the Fraunhofer Institute for Toxicology and Experimental Medicine ITEM, four Fraunhofer institutes have joined forces in the FibroPaths® project aimed at enabling rapid and safe development of antifibrotic drugs.

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  • EU is funding a research project on the therapy of cardiac fibrosis with around 2.5 million euros / 2022

    On the home stretch to an RNA drug against cardiac fibrosis

    Press release / April 22, 2022

    For years, Professor Dr. Dr. Thomas Thum, head of the Institute for Molecular and Translational Therapy Strategies at the Hannover Medical School (MHH) and institute director of Fraunhofer ITEM, has been researching a remedy for the hitherto incurable cardiac fibrosis. He has already received the highest science funding from the European Union for this. Now the European Research Council (ERC) is supporting the physician again. As part of the newly created funding line for innovations, the scientist will receive around 2.5 million euros for his FIBREX project. The goal is to further develop a therapeutic agent he discovered into a drug candidate.

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  • Initiative of the Competence Platform “Alternative methods to animal testing” starting a lecture series at the end of March / 2022

    Fraunhofer heading for future predictive models

    News  / March 21, 2022

    Research projects in the life sciences are based on increasingly multifaceted and interdisciplinary methods and often on a close combination of animal experiments with non-animal methods. The principle of the 3Rs that is valid for all researchers – to replace, reduce and consistently refine animal experiments – also governs research at Fraunhofer. Within the Fraunhofer Cluster of Excellence Immune-Mediated Diseases CIMD, an initiative of the Competence Platform ”Alternative methods to animal testing”, managed by Fraunhofer ITEM, has now been established. Already at the end of March, the initiative will be starting the lecture series ”Future predictive models – alternative methods to animal testing”.

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  • Based on large-scale anti-fibrotic compound screening, researchers from Fraunhofer ITEM, the Hannover Medical School and the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research have identified lead compounds that may be able to prevent organ fibrosis. Compared with the two already approved anti-fibrotic drugs nintedanib and pirfenidone, some compounds exhibited superior cytotoxicity and efficacy profiles and could thus be candidates for further clinical translation in the treatment of organ fibrosis.

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  • Checking the immune response in the lungs

    Press release / March 01, 2022

    Patients in clinical trials must undergo thorough examination in order to allow the effects of new medications to be determined as precisely as possible. One important factor here is the response of their immune systems. Using chip cytometry, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Toxicology and Experimental Medicine ITEM have established a procedure for characterizing immune cells in the lungs. This technique offers the major advantage of enabling valuable samples from patients to be stored in refrigerators for months and investigated for further parameters if new issues become relevant during the course of a trial.

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  • Scientists around the world are seeking to develop additional vaccines against the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. In Hannover (Germany), researchers of the Hannover Medical School (MHH) and of Fraunhofer ITEM are working on a vaccine that will not be injected but inhaled. In the clinical trial MVA, they now want to test the safety and tolerability of this new vaccine when used as a booster against COVID-19. For this trial, participants are still being sought. Eligible individuals are healthy women and men aged 18-60 years who have been fully vaccinated against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, provided that they have either received two vaccinations and no booster or have had two vaccinations and received the booster dose more than three months ago.

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  • In parallel with the worldwide growing production of plastics, the concentration of nano- and microplastic particles in the environment is also increasing, for example in drinking water, in foods and in the air. Inevitably, such particles also enter the human organism via these routes of exposure. In the CEFIC-LRI program, Fraunhofer ITEM is now collaborating with Fraunhofer IKTS and BASF SE to develop a standardized approach to assessing the potential hazards of inhaled microplastic particles to human health.

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  • The COVID-19 Research Network Lower Saxony (COFONI) is funding 13 interdisciplinary collaborative research projects in Lower Saxony with 5.97 million euros, aimed at investigating active substances against SARS-CoV-2 and at studying the mechanisms of disease as well as the long-term effects of COVID-19. Due to the renewed project funding, COFONI is including further research partners in the network, thereby enhancing the integration of Lower Saxony's expertise in coronavirus research. Additional funding for the projects investigating the long-term effects of COVID-19 comes from the Lower Saxony Ministry of Science and Culture. The total of 5.97 million euros is immediately available to the scientists.

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