Third-party funded: DDHD

Translating Academic Know-how into Practice – Early Detection of Cardiotoxic Side Effects

Funded by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia via financial resources from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) 2014-2020 "Investment for Growth and Jobs", grant number EFRE-0800395

The Drug Discovery Hub Dortmund (DDHD) is an initiative of the ZIW (Centre for Integrated API Research, in German Zentrum für Integrierte Wirkstoffforschung) at the TU Dortmund University. As part of this initiative, scientists from eight institutes are pooling their diverse expertise to jointly establish infrastructure for drug research in NRW. The DDHD will bridge the critical innovation gap between basic academic research and industrial applications, by providing synergistic infrastructure.

As the drug development process is extremely complex, interdisciplinary collaboration from a variety of scientific disciplines is necessary. Discoveries from basic academic research will be progressively developed into industrially-feasible lead substances. Specifically, innovative lead substances for active ingredients should be optimised to meet the high standards of the pharmaceutical industry in all areas. The eight partners (see below) form a unique and proven network in Dortmund.

Within this consortium, the Biomedical Research department at ISAS has assumed responsibility for analysing the substances with regard to toxic effects on myocardial cells in order to prevent adverse effects on the cardiovascular system from future medications at an early stage.

As the treatment options for patients, especially for cancer patients, continue to improve, the drugs are also being used for longer periods of time. Therefore, in addition to the goal of developing more specific therapeutic approaches, special attention must be paid to side effects such as the cardiotoxicity of drugs. Side effects may limit the use of the treatments and may lead to cardiac arrhythmia or the pumping function of the heart being restricted. Late cardiotoxic complications when using chemotherapeutic agents can occur in up to ten percent of patients and, in some combinations, up to as much as 30 percent. Therefore, to ensure optimal treatment it is essential to pay more attention to the prevention of cardiotoxicity in drug development.

Alongside ISAS and TU Dortmund, the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Physiology (MPI), the Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors (IfADo), the Taros GmbH & Co. KG, PROvendis GmbH, BioMedizinZentrum Dortmund (BMZ) and the Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC) are also involved in the DDHD project.