The recently signed cooperation agreement between the MPI of Biochemistry and GSK pursues the objective of developing innovative new drugs. The joint research and development work is based on the research findings of Axel Ullrich, Director at the MPI of Biochemistry. He and fellow scientist Mathias Bcker successfully described the role of certain protein molecules - known as kinases - in connection with the development of type II diabetes, a disease in which insulin resistance gives rise to a raised blood sugar level. These kinases make up a group of important signal molecules in the body, which can, under certain circumstances, be involved in the development or manifestation of the disease. In the collaborative project with GSK, the scientists are looking for new substances that can inhibit this kinase activity and control it in a targeted manner.
Axel Ullrich already achieved a milestone in the treatment of diabetes back in 1977, together with fellow scientists at the University of California. At that time, he developed a method of transferring a copy of the human insulin gene into bacteria. This facilitated the industrial manufacture of human insulin for the very first time and has since made it easier for millions of diabetics to live with the disease, as they no longer have to depend on animal insulin, which is not nearly so well tolerated by the human body.
Axel Ullrich's current research is set to contribute to the successful treatment of diabetes a second time. "Developing innovative drugs to treat diabetes gives us the opportunity to directly influence defects in the molecular signal paths, which lie at the root of diabetes. That enables us to fight the actual causes of diabetes," says Ullrich. Peter Gruss, President of the Max Planck Society expressed his delight with the collaboration agreement: "GlaxoSmithKline is one of the world's five major pharmaceutical companies. The collaboration agreement with GSK testifies to the fact that
|Contact: Markus Berninger|