Goethe University: Understand and treat neurodevelopmental disorders better

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The University Hospital Frankfurt and Neurolentech GmbH have announced a collaboration to create patient-specific cellular models to study neurodevelopmental disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The aim is to study disease mechanisms at the cellular, functional and molecular levels in order to develop tools and obtain data that will enable the development of therapeutic drugs.

ASD are genetic disorders that affect the expression and function of hundreds of genes that affect the development and performance of neuronal circuits. There are currently no drugs that target the core symptoms of ASD. Research into the molecular and cellular mechanisms of ASA is therefore necessary in order to develop therapies that help patients and their families.

Genetic research on ASD
The Clinic for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy (KJPPP) at the Center for Mental Health at the University Hospital in Frankfurt specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of people with psychiatric disorders, especially ASD, with the aim of providing patients and doctors with added value to offer. Research is focused on improving diagnosis, understanding prognosis, and identifying new treatment options. The Laboratory for Molecular Genetics at the KJPPP has set itself the task of elucidating the genetic factors and their cellular, pathogenic mechanisms behind the neuronal developmental disorders and of converting this knowledge into clinical applications.

First Steps in ASD Drug Development
Neurolentech specializes in the rapid and cost-effective generation and characterization of patient-specific cellular disease models for neurodevelopmental disorders, thereby bridging the gap between clinical research and drug development. Under the terms of the collaboration agreement, Neurolentech will receive primary ASA patient cells to develop patient-specific neuronal cultures and to characterize them using omics approaches and functional assays. The goal is to identify biomarkers, biochemical signaling pathways and targets that will facilitate preclinical drug discovery for ASD.

Clinical cooperation with the aim of personalized therapy
Prof. Christine M. Freitag, Director of the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, is convinced that “the combination of excellent clinical characterization with highly developed cellular models and methods will significantly accelerate the identification and characterization of the underlying pathology . Collaborating with industry partners will strengthen the link between patient care, pharmacological intervention and basic research.” Prof. Andreas Geburtig-Chiocchetti, Head of the Molecular Genetics Laboratory, adds: “The focus will be on increasing our understanding of the diversity of etiology that underlies a complex disorder like ASD. There is no one ACE and therefore there is no one-size-fits-all solution. We believe that collaborating with highly innovative company Neurolentech will pave the way towards a biological and data-driven personalized treatment approach.”

“We are pleased to start this collaboration with Prof. Freitag and Prof. Chiocchetti at the Center for Mental Health at the University Hospital Frankfurt. Our shared goal of developing treatments for patients with neurodevelopmental disorders will put people at the center of research and development. The characterization of the disease in cellular models as well as high-quality clinical and genetic diagnostics are the basis for understanding the disease pathology and the first steps towards drug development. This long-term collaboration will advance both academic research and commercial drug development for the benefit of patients and their families in an area of ​​unmet medical need,” said Dr. carsten pepper Co-founder and CEO of Neurolentech. dr Gaia Novarino, also Neurolentech co-founder and Professor of Neuroscience at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria), adds: “Research into the mechanisms of neurodevelopmental diseases such as autism spectrum disorders will offer the most promising approach to help patients help. We are excited to work with strong and well-connected clinical partners to advance the best research in ASA.” “Research into the mechanisms of neurodevelopmental diseases such as autism spectrum disorders will offer the most promising approach to help patients. We are excited to work with strong and well-connected clinical partners to advance the best research in ASA.” “Research into the mechanisms of neurodevelopmental diseases such as autism spectrum disorders will offer the most promising approach to help patients. We are excited to work with strong and well-connected clinical partners to advance the best research in ASA.”

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