The University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology (IME) announced Tuesday (December 20) a joint project to pave the way for new therapies against multiple sclerosis (MS). The project aims to further develop active substance candidates that prevent the death of neurons, which causes the progressive degree of disability in multiple sclerosis. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research is putting EUR 1.5 million towards the project.
Extensive side effects
Prof. Dr. Manuel Friese, Director of the Institute for Neuroimmunology and Multiple Sclerosis (INIMS) at UKE, pointed out: “Standard MS therapies target only inflammatory responses and have extensive side-effects by suppressing the immune system.” The project seeks to further develop substance candidates that impede TRPM4 ion channels and thus lower damage to nerves, which causes the progressive degree of disability in multiple sclerosis.
The project will be carried out by UKE and the Fraunhofer IME’s screening port. To facilitate more clinical studies, the institutes will examine substance candidates in various cell culture models and analyse their molecular features. The co-ordinator of the project Dr. Philip Gribbon, Fraunhofer IME ScreeningPort, said: “After the project, suitable substance candidates are to be further developed in addition to existing MS therapeutics on the market that prevent the suppression of nerve cells. We wish to take the project from the academic idea right up to marketability of new therapeutics and bridge the gap between fundamental research and clinical applications.”