binoculars as a metaphor for monitoring

While currently most production processes for biopharmaceuticals are assessed by laboriuos and time-consuming off-line analytics, a new process enables the monitoring of such processes in real-time. Sensors  combined with  mathematical models deliver information on the quality and quantity of the product, as well as on content and profile impurities. This allows an instant monitoring of processes, making processes safer, faster, cheaper and more efficient.

Scheme for switch

Scientists from the Department of Biotechnology at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) Vienna and the Austrian Centre of Industrial Biotechnology (acib) discovered a gene switch in yeast, that was able to change twelve genes – and thereby the metabolic process of yeast as a whole. This work explains evolutionary events that happened more than 120 million years ago. The results have recently been published in the scientific journal Nature Communications and have the potential to be used in the food and feed industry and for the production of bio fuels and new building blocks for bioplastics.

drug development: hamster and book

Did you know that nowadays bacteria and mammalian cells, especially hamster cells, produce a wide range of drugs? And who tells them to do so? The answer is the four-letter code of DNA. Biotechnologists spend a lot of time to explore natural DNA sequences of different organisms for production. The Chinese Hamster is a mammalian system and suits well for cell factories because of its similarity to human cells. However, for a long time the knowledge about the hamster DNA sequence had many gaps that needed to be investigated.

Symbolic image of drugs

Co-author: Martin Walpot

In the development of drugs and pharmaceutical compounds, expensive tests are necessary, to know, which metabolic by-products and side-effects could emerge and to ensure that drugs are working effectively and in a safe manner. Human-like CYP450 enzymes, which mimic the same activities happening in the human body, are new, excellent biocatalytic tools to screen side effects outside the human body. They also enable the timely production of reasonable amounts of active pharmaceutical ingredients. Used as biocatalysts in industrial applications, new CYP450 enzymes, developed in the EU-project ROBOX, have the potential to speed up drug development, enhance pharmaceutical safety and to innovate chemical markets such as flavour-, fragrance or food industries.

targeting cancer - pink ribbon

The complex tumour structure makes the treatment of breast cancer a medical challenge. A promising, novel selenium-based breast cancer nanoparticle therapy, which is topic of the EU-project Neosetac, could change that: It has proved to boost the active agent delivery and assure it’s active only in the target tissue while also bringing the suggestion of reduced side effects. The project findings are expected to increase the efficiency of future chemotherapies and prevent recurrence of the cancer after complete remission.

Capsaicin

Have you ever wondered, why it often takes many years until a new drug is available at your local pharmacy? One of the reasons is that the pharmaceutical industry wants to make sure that the drug is not only effective but also doesn’t produce toxic breakdown products that lead to undesireable side effects. Therefore, many time-consuming and not seldomly expensive tests are required to know precisely, which possible metabolic by-products could emerge. In a next step, the industry is producing such derivates to test them thoroughly for their side-effects, ensuring one goal: the patients health and wellbeing. 

red blood cells - Biosensors for blood grouping

Biosensors may soon facilitate the analysis of a patient’s entire red blood cell antigen repertoire. In the form of diagnostic test strips, they could make the analysis swift and location-independent. This could have enormous potential not only in medical diagnosis, but also for environmental analysis if extended to other analytes.