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Workflow

The collection of patient’s specimens and the corresponding clinical data, as well as the necessary clinical follow-up, is carried out at the Universitätsklinikum Essen, in the Klinik für Gastroenterologie and Hepatologie, at the Westdeutsche Tumorzentrum and the Klinik für Allgemein-, Viszeral- und Transplantationschirurgie. Additional specimens come from the Institut für Pathologie and the Serum und DNA-Bank of the HepNet (WP 1). The pathological analysis as well as the microdissection of tissue for proteom- and DNA-anlysis (Tumor SNPs) is carried out at the Institut für Pathologie (WP 2). The material is then, as far as technically possible and sensible in regard to content, parallel-investigated regarding the expression of proteins (WP 3), the activation of proteins (WP 4), RNA and miRNA expression (WP 5) DNA SNPs (WP 6), epigenetic modifications (WP 7) as well as circulating tumor-cells (with HCC, CCC; WP 8). The primary data-analysis is carried out in the individual work packages. The data is then brought together to the MPC, where it is analyzed (WP9). After appropriate validation, diagnostic tests are developed for biomarkers (WP 10).

Existing strategic partnerships with pharmaceutical companies are used for the utilization of new drug targets, which are also offered to further companies.

For this cause, PROFILE biotech has been founded by two project partners (Prof. Meyer, Prof. Schlaak), and has taken on the commercial exploitation of the trade mark rights as well as the further development of the inventions (Drug-Screening, Drug-Design, etc.) together with industrial and academic partners. PROFILE biotech is already working on leading existing patents by the founders to an economic benefit. In order to achieve this it accesses an existing network of direct industrial contacts, as well as connections to private investors and sovereign wealth funds. In close cooperation with CIRES GmbH it will advance the development of ELISA- and antibody-based diagnostics to market maturity.

An essential deficiency concerning the exploitation of trade mark rights especially of new drug targets often can be lead back to the lack of readiness by pharmaceutical companies to assume a risk in developing new therapeutical methods. The patent brokerage firms that have been founded at university level and make an effort at exploiting trade mark rights cannot counter this, because they only sell the rights and cannot minimize the risks involved for pharmaceutical companies. In order to raise the probability of exploitation, PROFILE biotech will conduct compound screenings to help identify therapeutically proper molecules, with other institutions (a possibility would be the LEAD Discovery Center in Dortmund). This will raise the value of the trade mark rights substantially.

In addition it will use its strategic partnerships with producers of medicines, which are based on the principal of RNA-interference ((Roche Kulmbach, Pfizer RNAi, Santaris, Alnylam) in order to develop specific therapeutic agents against targets identified by the consortium. In this regard, Prof. Schlaak is already testing specific siRNAs against ISG15 in animal experiments in cooperation with the Roche Kulmbach AG, in order to then use these in the treatment of HCV-infections (Patent Schlaak: DE 10 2008 029 669.4). The special advantage of this approach among other things, is that hepatic drug targets are especially applicable for this technology, since therapeutical RNAs and DNAs preferentially accumulate in the liver, even when systemically administered.