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Life Sciences Report 2019 / 2020

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24 Life

24 Life Sciences Report – Diagnostics © Medipan – Fotostudio Mahlow “The core competence of the PRÆMED.BIO alliance results from more than twenty years of activity of most partners along the entire value chain for medical diagnostics: measuring instrument construction, development of new diagnostic parameters, development, validation/certification, production and distribution of diagnostic multiplex tests, production of consumables as well as clinical routine diagnostics. The know-how of the partners leads to the core competence “Digital Fluorescence”, which is complemented by system automation and clinical expertise in tumor diagnostics.” Prof. Dirk Roggenbuck General Manager / CEO, Medipan / GA Generic Assays GmbH ware modules, record and evaluate all measured values on the basis of digital fluorescence. In line with this platform, the development of test systems for the PRÆMED.BIO scan for the characterization of head, neck and rectal carcinomas will be promoted and coordinated with the hardware components for optimized diagnostics. This also includes the validation of different biomarkers for these oncological questions and the clinical testing of the entire system. Another important contribution to tumour research will be made by the DFG Research Training Group CompCancer, which was launched in 2019 by the Charité, Humboldt- Universität zu Berlin, BIH, MDC and MPI MG institutions. CompCancer is a PhD programme that focusses on computational aspects of cancer research. Contemporary cancer research generates enormous data sets characterising tumours at unprecedented molecular details. To integrate and interpret these new layers of data, computational methods are becoming central to cancer research. Increasingly, computational methods are also required for clinical oncology, as more and more patients are receiving therapies based on integrated molecular profiles. The goal of CompCancer is to develop and apply computational methods on relevant questions of current cancer research and thereby train the next generation of computational oncologists. CompCancer focusses on research on personalized and advanced therapies, tumor heterogeneity and therapy resistance. These areas are addressed with contemporary methods including single cell methods, mathematical modelling, integration of multi-omics data and complex IT systems. “To beat cancer with it‘s own weapons” is the future trend in the fight against cancer. Since cancer cells are impressively able to hide from the immune system, it has not been included in the therapy for a long time. Today, however, the situation is different. Several promising approaches are being pursued in the field of immunotherapies. CAR-T cell therapy, which has been approved for leukaemia in the European Union since August 2018, is the pioneer in this type of therapy. Researchers in Berlin and Brandenburg also use genetic engineering methods to modify autologous cells of the immune system in such a way that they are able to recognise and combat cancer cells. Spin-off projects such as Captain-T-Cell or T-Knife at the MDC are dedicated to new T-cell receptor technologies in order to fighting cancer with activated, tumor-specific T-cells. On the other hand, AmpliVak Immunotherapy GmbH, a spin-off of the RKI - Robert Koch Institute, is pursuing the development of a cancer vaccine. The dendritic cells are equipped with a special technology with the tumor antigen, which is then © Amplivak “AmpliVAk is developing a special vaccine technology for loading dendritic cells in vivo with tumor antigenes. The resulting T-killer cell response is then amplified 100- 500 times in the patient’s body so that the cancer cells can be fought very efficiently. With these therapeutic vaccines, we hope to achieve a long-standing goal in immunotherapy against cancer. The capital region, with its excellent network of research institutions, clinics and companies, offers a perfect opportunity to test and further develop our technology in clinical studies”. Prof. Richard Kroczek CEO, Amplivak Immunotherapy GmbH

Life Sciences Report – Diagnostics 25 presented to the immune cells. These then fight and eliminate the cancer cells. Last but not least there is the clinical application: The Charité Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCCC) organizes and coordinates cooperation in the field of tumor medicine among the various Charité Centres, the interdisciplinary tumor outpatient departments, the specialist disciplines and the Berlin research institutions. The CCCC pursues comprehensive precision medicine. Molecular tumor diagnostics and interdisciplinary therapy are available at the Charité Comprehensive Cancer Center as well as the best technical equipment and numerous clinical studies with new drugs and treatment principles. 7. A regional roadmap from diagnostics to therapy Every treatment begins with a precise diagnosis. The search for new biomarkers and their transfer into clinical routine will make it easier to diagnose and treat diseases in the future. The subdivision of the disease into different subtypes and the associated stratification of patients offers the potential for personalized therapy and rapid recovery. However, this is only possible if results from basic research are quickly translated into innovative products and applied in clinical practice. The entire value chain The development of innovative medical solutions covers the four areas of basic research, technology development, clinical validation and industrial development. The German capital region is well positioned to handle these areas, providing the entire value chain from basic scientific research to production and marketing. The many research facilities, hospitals, and biomedical and pharmaceutical companies in the region provide advantages for everyone involved in the value chain. Basic research Development starts with consolidating knowledge on biomarkers as indicators for biological and pathogenic processes. As already mentioned, a hot spot for medical research in the capital region is the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH), which connects medical research by the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and basic research from the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) to strengthen translational research. By doing so, the systems medicine approach of the BIH combines biomarker research at a genomic and proteomic level with clinical patient data for specific indication areas. Beside the BIH there are a lot more institutions where the basics of various diseases are being researched. In addition to five universities, the region also has several universities of applied sciences and research institutions of the Max Planck Society, the Helmholtz Association and the Fraunhofer Society that are involved in the search for new biomarkers and the development of new therapies. With the Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, the largest university hospital in Europe is located in the region. Besides the treatment of patients a lot of research is being done to get insights in the basics of health and disease. With the Brandenburg Medical School “Theodor Fontane”, Brandenburg has had its own medical education since 2014, basic research and its translation into the clinic are also pursued. Technology development Berlin-Brandenburg holds a strong position in developing solutions for next generation in vitro-diagnostics like sensoractor molecules and autonomous biosensors, as well as genome, proteome and glycan-based multiplex analytics. The majority of IvD are performed in highly automated and advanced hospital laboratories, but in recent years, many more have been developed for point-of-care testing (POCT). As these test procedures are very fast, the application will increase. Currently, the greatest challenge in the field is miniaturizing analytic devices. The Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology IZI-Berlin-Brandenburg in Potsdam-Golm is developing an in-vitro diagnostics (IvD) platform consisting of the cartridge the size of a credit card (lab on-a-chip) and a base station. At the TH Wildau a lot of work is done in the area of biosensorics. And with the research groups of the Brandenburg University of Technology (BTU), Senftenberg is a hot spot for multiparameter analysis. Transfer into innovative products Beside scientific institutions, more than 200 regional small and medium sized companies are also focused on innovative technology developments. In joint cooperation projects, findings from basic and applied research are translated into innovative products. Innovative and knowledge-based companies benefit from the region’s first class research landscape. Medipan’s AKLIDES ® platform technology is one example of successfull cooperation between science and industry. It is worldwide the first fully automated system for standardized immunofluorescence imaging and data processing. The AKLIDES ® system is used in the field of immunology, especially for immunofluorescence tests. With their proprietary non-contact dispensing technologies, SCIENION AG can print capture molecules onto any surface. Additionally, they own a unique single-cell isola-

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