Development of a new class of drug for the prevention of organ damage in cardiac insufficiency and diabetes

GO-Bio 2 – Dr. Heiko Funke-Kaiser – Center for Cardiovascular Research (CCR), Institute of Pharmacology, Charité University Medicine Berlin 

Modell eines Menschen mit verschiedenen Zellen

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Recipient: Center for Cardiovascular Research (CCR), Institute of Pharmacology, Charité University Medicine Berlin
Funding: GO-Bio Phase I (01.01.2008 - 31.12.2011, 2.388.362 Euro)


Alongside diabetes mellitus, hypertension (high blood pressure) is a decisive risk factor and cause of vascular ailments as well as renal and cardiac insufficiency, which can lead to the failure of the organ function. Up to now, treatment strategies have been based predominantly on blood pressure depressants and are only able to delay – but not prevent – organ failure. Funke-Kaiser and his team have identified a specific signal pathway in cells that, when activated, appears to play a crucial role in diabetes and hypertension-induced cardiac and renal failure. This is known as the ‘renin/(pro)renin receptor signal pathway’ (RER). The team has already successfully deciphered individual components, modes of functioning and binding partners of the pathway. The scientists are assuming that the selective inhibition of individual components of this RER pathway could represent a means of preventing the organ damage that is associated with these diseases.

In their GO-Bio project, the Funke-Kaiser team are initially planning the establishment of a test procedure that can be used to investigate the activity of the RER pathway in response to a range of substances. Subsequently, the most promising candidates exhibiting inhibitory effects can filtered out and further developed as an oral medication for patients with heart problems and diabetes. In the long term, the researchers want to launch a new renin/prorenin receptor blocker drug class within the framework of a company that will be founded at a later date.