- Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) KMU Innovativ
- Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
- Projektträger Jülich (PtJ)
Based on a new, non-invasive measurement method using planar microelectrode arrays (MEAs), this project aims to develop an automated measurement platform for pancreatic islet cells.
Over the next 20 years, the number of diabetes patients worldwide will increase by 60% (International Diabetes Foundation 2009). New concepts for the treatment of diabetes and its serious sequelae are therefore important focal points of academic and pharmaceutical research. At present, more and more research centres for diabetes are emerging at national and international level, combined with a significant increase in funding in the EU alone from: 44.5 million in the 5th Framework Programme to 127 million in the 6th Framework Programme.
Diabetes is mainly caused by a malfunction or deficiency of insulin-secreting ß-cells of the pancreas. New therapeutic approaches for the treatment of diabetes include the development of substances which specifically compensate for the loss of function of the ß-cells and lead to an improvement in insulin release, as well as the transplantation of healthy islet cells.
So far, there are only indirect or very personnel- and cost-intensive methods to carry out clinically relevant functional analyses of ß-cells and to determine active substance effects on the function of healthy or pathophysiologically altered ß-cells. This weak point in the functional analysis of ß-cells is to be closed with the planned measuring platform.
The measuring principle is based on a novel method developed at the NMI, with which the electrical activity of ß-cells in the intact tissue of the islet cells can be measured non-invasively. The electrical activity of ß-cells is directly quantitatively linked to insulin secretion and is therefore an ideal parameter for the functional analysis of ß-cells1.
Based on this new measurement method, the present project aims to develop an automated measurement platform for pancreatic islet cells that
1) for basic clinical research in diabetes mellitus and
2) can be used for quality control in islet cell transplantation, and
3) by their modular design for substance testing in the field of preclinical drug development is suitable.
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