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  • Persistent, mobile (PM) substances are being recognized as serious threats to the safety of water resources. In many cases, drinking water supplies have to be purified using expensive technologies because of contamination by PM substances. The most famous example of PM substances are per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), but there are numerous others. This worldwide problem has triggered new policy and monitoring actions and the European Green Deal contains a broad initiative for chemical and water regulations for PM substances.

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  • Tracking down aerosols

    press release / August 12, 2021

    How do infectious aerosols spread in supermarkets, airplanes, and other indoor areas where large numbers of people congregate? Researchers from 15 Fraunhofer institutes and institutions are investigating this in the AVATOR project. Fraunhofer ITEM is involved in this project at various important inter-faces, for example in the collection of data on aerosol distribution, in the de-velopment of the risk model, and in the (efficacy) testing and toxicological evaluation of several air purification and disinfection processes.

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  • Fraunhofer magazine 2/2021 / 2021

    The race against viruses

    Press release / August 03, 2021

    As a consequence of climate change, tropical mosquitoes are becoming increasingly endemic to Germany, where they spread dangerous pathogens. Even local species of gnats have now become carriers. The West Nile virus has already spread in the area around Leipzig, Halle and southern Brandenburg. Zika, dengue and others are likely to follow. It is only a matter of time until the next pandemic. What will it take to speed up vaccine production?

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  • Clinical pharmacokinetic studies on lung-targeted drugs are typically limited to measurements of systemic plasma concentrations, which provide no direct information on lung target-site concentrations. The aim of this study was to investigate whether spatial pharmacokinetic studies in human lung are feasible. The results have shown that pharmacokinetic studies in human lung are, indeed, feasible. This result is of particular importance for clinical pulmonary pharmacokinetic studies with novel drugs targeting the lung, as target tissue concentrations can thus be determined more accurately and the therapeutic dose and dosing interval can be better estimated.

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  • Minister Dr. h. c. Björn Thümler, Prof. Michael Manns, Prof. Ulrike Köhl, Prof. Norbert Krug and Prof. Thomas Thum discussed the potential for health research in Lower Saxony / 2021

    The heart complementing the lung: Fraunhofer ITEM enters its fifth decade with new research topics

    Press Release / July 13, 2021

    The Fraunhofer Institute for Toxicology and Experimental Medicine ITEM is entering the fifth decade of its existence with a major new research field – cardiovascular research and development of diagnostics and therapeutics based on RNA. Linking this with lung and respiratory research, the subject area in which Fraunhofer ITEM in Hannover (Germany) has specialized for the past 40 years, has great potential. On the occasion of the institute’s 40th anniversary, the two Directors of Frauhofer ITEM, Prof. Norbert Krug and Prof. Thomas Thum, hosted a panel discussion on July 13. Together with Dr. h. c. Björn Thümler, Lower Saxony’s Minister of Science and Culture, Prof. Michael Manns, President of the Hannover Medical School, and Prof. Ulrike Köhl, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology IZI in Leipzig (Germany), they discussed how the institute's traditional focus on respiratory research and the future field of cardiovascular research fit together, what this means for the city of Hannover and the state of Lower Saxony as a center of science, and how people will benefit from this research.

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  • New publication in the “American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology” / 2021

    Rhinovirus-induced human lung tissue responses mimic COPD and asthma gene signatures

    News / July 06, 2021

    Rhinovirus infection of human lung tissue ex vivo (PCLS model) induces gene signatures in immune and epithelial cells that have also been described in COPD and asthma patients. The anti-viral immune response could be partially inhibited by an antiviral compound. In contrast, epithelial processes triggered by the infection were largely refractory to antiviral treatment. The PCLS model enables exclusive insights into processes taking place in lower respiratory tract infections and provides opportunities to test and evaluate novel therapeutics.

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  • A team of scientists of the Fraunhofer Institute for Toxicology and Experimental Medicine ITEM, the Hannover Medical School (MHH) and Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) has discovered a novel molecular regulatory axis that plays a decisive role in the pathogenesis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). The focus is on the RNA-binding protein Quaking (QKI) and its functional interplay with microRNAs (miRNAs). Systematic in-silico analyses of the molecular network around QKI and miRNAs as well as in-vitro experiments in human lung fibroblasts revealed a novel regulatory miRNA-506-QKI axis that contributes to IPF pathogenesis. The study has been published in Nature’s Scientific Reports.

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  • In direct comparison to the other modes of transport, railway transport features a lower level of pollutant emissions, a more favorable energy balance, and a lower land consumption. Nevertheless, more than 180 years of railway operations in Germany do have an impact on the environment. Especially the release of inorganic and organic substances from railroad traffic and associated infrastructures are of importance in this context. Given the present heterogeneous and insufficient data situation regarding railway transport-related air pollutant emissions, the aim of this research project is to identify possible data deficits and to make an important scientific contribution to closing current knowledge gaps.

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