Cancer, Cardiovascular Diseases, Allergies - Mice As Models For 32 Diseases- GSF Scientist Coordinates A 2.6 Million Euro Project
Many gene defects which proved to cause diseases have been identified in the meantime - it is important to use this gained knowledge for clinical research now.
Also within the German National Genome Research Network (NGFN), a large number of genes were discovered which cause diseases in their defect form.
In order to foster the further research activities on these genes as effectively as possible, the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) has initiated a new project. For as many as 32 genes, mutant mouse lines were established to investigate how these genes contribute to the occurrence of diseases.
Professor Martin Hrabé de Angelis, Director of the GSF Institute of Experimental Genetics (IEG), is in charge with the coordination of this project which is funded with a total of 2.6 million Euros.
The selected genes are thought to be connected with a broad variety of illnesses such as breast cancer, prostate cancer, cardiovascular diseases, immune deficiency syndromes (allergies, neurodermitis), rheumatic diseases and diseases caused by the environment like Crohn's Disease. These genes will be mutated in the mouse models in order to examine the effects of the respective gene defect. "Genes can be switched off, but also be hyper-activated by mutations which allows us to investigate both the loss and the overproduction of the gene product", states Hrabé de Angelis.
The mouse models will be submitted to the NGFN Clinical Research Groups which will identify the corresponding genes for further investigation. At the same time, the German Mouse Clinic (GMC), which is also directed by Hrabé de Angelis, will serve as a centre of information for all mouse models.
Here the mice will be examined and characterised across all diseases - a general check carried out by collecting the data on more than 240 different parameters going from external appearance, metabolism to behaviour. "The concept entirety constitutes the added value of this project", emphasises Hrabé de Angelis, "due to the Mouse Clinic, it is safeguarded that the highest number of gene mutations possible will be registered".
After a certain lead time, the data concerning the mice will also be stored in the European Mouse Mutant Archive (EMMA) to make them available to all interested scientists.
In addition, a close relationship with the European EUCOMM Consortium is planned whose coordinator, Professor Wolfgang Wurst, is also established at the GSF. EUCOMM too is devoted to clarifying disease genes functions, "so that we will make use of the synergies in any case", guarantees Hrabé de Angelis.
For capacity reasons, three biotechnology companies will provide the manufacturing of the mouse models: Artemis Pharmaceuticals GmbH, gen Oway and Ingenium Pharmaceuticals AG.
These companies are leading in the field of certain mutation technologies and are therefore able to quickly implement them - time is an important factor here as the mice are supposed to become available to scientists as soon as possible.