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  • Research project iGUARD receives follow-up funding for the development of RNA-based drugs / 2022

    1.5 million euros for rapid therapies against viral diseases

    News / November 03, 2022

    Despite successful vaccine development, there are still no effective drugs for most viral diseases. This should change as soon as possible. With the project iGUARD (integrated Guided Ultrafast Antiviral RNAi Drug development) a research team of Prof. Armin Braun, Fraunhofer ITEM, and Prof. Axel Schambach, Hannover Medical School (MHH), is developing RNA-based drugs to combat viral diseases using a natural mechanism of our body. The drugs should be able to adapt particularly quickly to different viruses and thus provide protection against emerging infectious diseases. The project has been supported by the Federal Agency for Leap Innovations (SPRIND) for one year and is now receiving follow-up funding of 1.5 million euros for another year.

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  • BIOSYNTH – modular high-throughput microplatform for future synthetic biology mass data storage / 2022

    DNA, RNA and peptides as storage media

    News / November 02, 2022

    Within the project “BIOSYNTH – modular high-throughput microplatform for future synthetic biology mass data storage”, funded by the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft in an internal program, an innovative microchip platform for efficient cell-free and digitally controllable biosynthesis will be developed. The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP is the consortium leader and will work together with the Fraunhofer Institutes for Photonic Microsystems IPMS, for Toxicology and Experimental Medicine ITEM, and for Cell Therapy and Immunology, Branch Bioanalytics and Bioprocesses IZI-BB on the fundamentals for the mass data storage devices of the future with extremely high storage density.

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  • Fraunhofer-High-Performance Center Medical and Pharmaceutical Engineering at COMPAMED 2022 / 2022

    Plasma treatment during 3D printing improves acceptance of implants

    Press Release  / October 28, 2022

    Artificial hip joints, made-to-measure heart valves or precision-fit blood vessels: implants – particularly those based on scaffolds, i.e. 3D-printed framework structures – are playing an increasingly significant role in regenerative and personalized medicine. It is important for the scaffolds to be readily accepted by the body’s cells and for there to be no rejection reactions. Pre-treatment with plasma can ensure the prerequisites for this. In the High-Performance Center Medical and Pharmaceutical Engineering, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films IST have succeeded in integrating a plasma source into a 3D printer, thereby enabling the surface to be modified. The aim is to treat the scaffolds with plasma during the actual printing process in order to produce the desired properties.

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  • Assessing nanoparticles with medical engineering / 2022

    Multi-organ chip detects dangerous nanoparticles

    Press release / October 04, 2022

    What happens when we breathe in nanoparticles emitted by a laser printer, for example? Could these nanoparticles damage the respiratory tract or perhaps even other organs? To answer these questions, Fraunhofer researchers are developing the “NanoCube” exposure device. The Nanocube’s integrated multi-organ chip set up in the laboratory of the Technical University of Berlin (TU Berlin) and by its spin-off organization “TissUse” detects interaction between nanoparticles and lung cells, the uptake of nanoparticles into the bloodstream and possible effects on the liver.

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  • Prof. Antje Prasse, Dr. Benedikt Jäger and their team provide important insights into idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) – a fatal disease with limited treatment options – with their paper “Airway basal cells show a dedifferentiated KRT17highPhenotype and promote fibrosis in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis” (https://rdcu.be/cWk1T; DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-33193-0) published in “Nature Communications”.

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  • “IMMUNITY – designer cells: novel immune cell platforms for health research” is the research project that Prof. Nico Lachmann will be starting at Fraunhofer ITEM in August 2022. The research work in this project will be funded under the “Fraunhofer Attract” grant program. “Fraunhofer Attract” offers outstanding external scientists the opportunity to develop their ideas towards actual applications close to the market within an optimally equipped Fraunhofer institute. Prof. Lachmann will be leading the Attract group at Fraunhofer ITEM, in addition to heading the Applied Stem Cells and Translational Macrophages Research lab at the Department of Pediatric Pneumology, Allergology and Neonatology of the Hannover Medical School.

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  • 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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