Biotechnology “Made in Regensburg” (11/2017)

(Nr.192) BioPark Regensburg GmbH, an enterprise of the city of Regensburg, and the Patent Attorney Company Dehmel & Bettenhausen located in the BioPark have this year awarded the two innovation prizes to excellent work at the university of Regensburg in the framework of Dies academicus.

The Jury supporting BioPark Managing Director Dr. Thomas Diefenthal, patent attorney Dr. Berthold Bettenhausen, to the Vice President of the University of Regensburg Prof. Dr. Bernhard Weber and Vice President of the OTH Regensburg Prof. Dr. Klaudia Winkler did not have an easy job in deciding on the two prize winners from the high-quality applications. Strength in innovation and potential for use were decisive criteria in assessing the work.

Dr. Manuel Gregoritza received a prize for his dissertation under the Professorship for Pharmaceutical Technology at the University of Regensburg. Dr. Gregoritza developed a biocompatible polymer for the controlled administration of therapeutic antibodies. Diseases of the retina, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) are today worldwide one of the main reasons for impaired eyesight and blindness. Biotechnology has revolutionized the treatment of this and many other diseases with therapeutic antibodies. AMD patients for example are injected with anti-VEGF antibodies at regular intervals of several weeks into the vitreous humor. However successful treatment has the disadvantage that an unpleasant procedure must be regularly repeated to be able to achieve therapeutic effect. There is an associated risk that each injection can have serious side-effects such as infection. Dr. Gregoritza’s work solves this problem through the development of a carrier system which can release the antibodies in a controlled manner over a longer period of time in the eye following a single minimal invasive application. The hydrogel has already been registered at the European Patent Office. (contact: Manuel.Gregoritza@chemie.uni-regensburg.de).                      

A further prize was received by Dr. Hedayatollah Hossein under the Professorship for Experimental Medicine and Treatment at the University of Regensburg. The Professorship works together with the Project Group for Personalized Tumor Therapy at the Fraunhofer Institute for Toxicology and Experimental Medicine at the BioPark. In his work Dr. Hedayatollah describes research findings from his working group on the mechanisms of early tumor cell dissemination and formation of metastases. Ninety percent of cancer-related deaths are caused by metastases. To make efficient treatment possible it would be helpful to better understand the beginning and source of the metastasis. Until now we have assumed that cells of a primary tumor gradually move into the surrounding tissue and form metastases. Latest research findings amongst others from Regensburg indicate however that cells can already leave the primary tumor in the early development and develop further independent to the place of metastasis. For a start Dr. Hossein’s work gives some explanation on the mechanism of this early spread of the cells. An interaction of the oncogene Her2 with hormonal signals (above all progesterone) facilitates the early release of cells from the tumor. It is interesting to note that the cells of an advanced tumor react differently to hormonal signals than cells of the early lesion. It is an important recognition for possible treatment approaches that in the early dissemination of cells, metastases develop parallel to the primary tumor and thereby cause systemic disease which is significantly different to the original tumor. (contact: hedayatollah.hosseini@ukr.de).

f.l.t.r. Dr. Berthold Bettenhausen (sponsor: Dehml & Bettenhausen Patent Attorney), Dr. Hedayatollah Hossein (Award Winner), Dr. Thomas Diefenthal (sponsor: BioPark Regensburg GmbH, Managing Director), Prof. Dr. Udo Hebel (President University Regensburg), Dr. Manuel Gregoritza (Award Winner), Dr. Ludwig Spaenle, Bavarian State Minister of Education, Cultural Affairs, Science and Art. (Copyright: Uwe Moosburger/altrofoto.de)

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