CRC 1279 at the 5th German Pharm-Tox Summit

Congratulations to Maximilian Fellermann who received the young researchers award from the Thieme journal ‘Research’ for the ‘Best Short Presentation 2020 in the subject of Toxicology’ at the 5th German Pharm-Tox Summit in Leipzig, Germany.

Maximilian Fellermann is a member of the research group of Prof. Holger Barth at the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology in Ulm and involved in project C02 of CRC 1279. In close collaboration with the Institute of Biophysics and other collaboration partners, this project aims to generate modular hybrid transporter molecules for efficient, cell type-specific delivery and controlled release of bioactive peptides. The award illustrates the excellent progress in his project entitled ‘Bacterial exotoxin-based biohybrid transporters for delivery of therapeutic peptides into the cytosol or across the blood-brain barrier’.

In addition, Prof. Frank Kirchhoff presented the concept and key results of CRC 1279 in a plenary lecture ‘Exploiting the human peptidome for novel antimicrobial and anticancer reagents’ that received a lot of interest and feedback.  For example, he described the development and optimization of a novel class of inhibitors targeting viral fusion peptides. He also reported on the striking discovery of fibril-forming peptides in semen that serve as a quality control mechanism for sperm and provided the basis for the development of enhancers of retroviral gene transfer that might allow to improve gene therapy approaches. Finally, he reported on the discovery of an endogenous antagonist of CXCR4 signalling that plays a role in inflammatory diseases and many cancers. Optimized derivatives of the endogenous EPI-X4 peptide show about three orders of magnitude increased activity and promising effects in preclinical studies. In the end, the audience was convinced that the human peptidome is a great source for surprising discoveries with significant clinical relevance.