Neuherberg-- The cooperation between the Helmholtz Zentrum Munchen and Boehringer Ingelheim has produced its first results: the two partners have jointly identified a biomarker that will allow the testing of active substances on a diabetes-related protein. The results, which have now been published in the Journal of Biomolecular Screening, prove the added value of collaboration between the pharmaceutical industry and academia in researching new drugs for the treatment of diabetes and atherosclerosis (Journal of Biomolecular Screening).

The Helmholtz Zentrum Munchen and Boehringer Ingelheim have jointly identified a biomarker that will enable the testing of active substances on a diabetes-relevant protein. Boehringer Ingelheim provided the necessary biological and indication-specific knowledge; the Helmholtz Zentrum Munchen contributed expertise in metabolomics and bioinformatics. The indicator will enable the pre-clinical testing of FABP4* inhibitors and thus facilitate the selection of potentially effective substances.

Studies on human subjects and mouse models show that the FABP4* protein could be a promising target protein for new drugs to treat diabetes mellitus and atherosclerosis. What was missing up to now was a suitable indicator that can reveal the acute effects of a large number of active substances as FABP4* inhibitors in preclinical tests. The biomarker that has now been identified by the Helmholtz Zentrum Munchen closes this gap and makes it possible, in cooperation with the pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim, to do further research on FABP4* inhibitors that protect against diabetes mellitus and atherosclerosis.

The practical and functionally relevant biomarker was found through the use of lipidomics* and metabolomics. Scientists at the Helmholtz Zentrum Munchen were the first to use the modern lipidomics technologies to successfully identify such functionally relevant biomarkers for FABP4*. The basic functional principle is described in the Journal of Biomolecular Screening. Since this method has universal application, it can also be used to develop other drugs.

The development of the biomarker for FABP4 was the pilot project for the collaborative research venture to identify functional biomarkers.

Reference: Background* Lipidomics: a sub-discipline of metabolomics that specialises in fat metabolism.* Metabolomics: Characterisation of metabolites in biological samples.* FABP4: Fatty acid-binding protein 4Original publication:Suhre, K. et al.(2011) Identification of a Potential Biomarker for  FABP4 Inhibition: The Power of Lipidomics in Preclinical Drug Testing, Journal of Biomolecular  Screening, Published online before print May 4, 2011, doi: 10.1177/1087057111402200

Contact: Sven Winkler,. Helmholtz Zentrum Munchen – German Research Centre for Environmental Health (GmbH), Tel: +40 89-3187-3946, Email: presse@helmholtz-muenchen. de

Source: The Helmholtz Zentrum Munchen

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