Neurologische Klinik und Poliklinik
Josef-Schneider-Straße 11, 97080 Würzburg
Other participating persons and organisations:
Research foci (and basic equipment-based research projects):
In motoneuron disorders, the pathogenesis is not yet elucidated and effective treatments are not existing. The identification of gene defects in patients with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and familial types of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (fALS) points to a reverse cellular basis of motoneuron degeneration. Some of the recently identified genes play a role in intracellular signaling relevant for cell survival. The molecular characterization of neurotrophic factors and the analysis of effects of these factors on motoneuron survival opens new strategies for clinical and basic research. The elucidation of neurotrophic factors in signal transduction and the interactions with pathways relevant for cell death and apoptosis could be potentially leading to new therapies. The work of this research group is largely based on mouse models and on clinical and experimental pilot trials with neurothrophic factors studying mechanisms of application, bio availability toxicity and therapeutic efficacy.
All projects of the research group led to new and important findings which are laid down in numerous publications (see list of publications in the following projects). The clinical trial with intrathekal BDNF gained inside in the feasibility of long-term intrathecal infusions through implanted computer-assisted infusion pumps. The principal objective of the study, i.e. therapeutic efficacy of BDNF in ALS patients was not met.
Rewards and prizes:
Laboratories for the Klinische Forschergruppe für Neuroregeneration were part of the Department of Neurology University of Würzburg. There are 3 laboratories (S 1), 1 laboratory for viral gene transfer (S 2), 2 cell culture labs and laboratories for generation of transgenic mice. Moreover, 1 office room and 1 additional lab for scientific instruments was available to the Forschergruppe. The Forschergruppe also has accessed to central facilities for radiactive research. The Klinische Forschergruppe Neuroregeneration has played a central role in the planning of reconstruction and renervation of animal facilities which are located besides the Kopfklinikum. The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft has provided several microscopes, including a confocal microscope and microscopes for blastocyste injection, HPLC. Freestate of Bavaria has provided additional grants for centrifuges, laboratory instruments and other equipment. An autoclave for the animal facility was provided by the Freestate of Bavaria and the German Government in 1998. Additional grants from the Klinikum of the University of Würzburg were used for buying a phospho-imager. This instrument is also available to other research groups located in the Department of Neurology and other clinical departments in the Kopfklinikum.