New pharmaceuticals have to be tested for cardiac toxicity before being introduced into market. Vice versa, a recall of a pharmaceutical product which has already been introduced into the market can often be traced to detrimental effects to the human heart.
The Homburg cell biologist Prof. Peter Lipp from the Institute of Molecular Cell Biology has developed an interesting approach. He and his team are working on the "Cordilux" project using isolated heart muscle cells for testing the reaction to new pharmaceutical substances via fluorescence microscopy.
The work of the Saarland researchers could improve pre-clinical the drug testing methods considerably and contribute to the reduction of animal experiments.
In order to gain information about the damaging effects of pharmaceutical products scientists have, until now, tested a single protein molecule by measuring the elevtrical activity of a heart. But this method can only deliver partial information. The new method provides the limited oportunity to investigate a heart cell as a whole.
Bythe end of the project in 2014, Peter Lipp and Lars Kaestner, responsible scientist for the project at the Saarland University, together with industry partners, Pharmacelsus GmbH, Saarbrücken, Phast GmbH, Homburg, as well as five other German companies, want to develop a prototype of the biophotonic method for commercial production.
The value of the three year long project is € 4 million. It is supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) with approx. € 2,5 million.
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