Scientists from Griffith’sInstitute for Glycomics have teamed up withGermany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Toxicology and Experimental Medicine ITEM and the Hannover Medical School to explore novel anti-infective therapeutic concepts as part of the project Fraunhofer iCAIR® (Fraunhofer International Consortium for Anti-Infective Research).

The project’s ground-breaking approach and research will be showcased at the Australian and German pavilions at this year’s BIO International Convention in Philadelphia, PA (USA), the world’s largest biotechnology trade fair, from June 3 to 6.

Consortium scientists are breaking new ground in the development of anti-infective therapies: developing antiviral drugs and testing their efficacy in so-called precision-cut lung slices (PCLS) — which allow the modelling of early phases of viral lung infection in the laboratory.

“The overall aim of the scientists in the publicly accessible project FraunhoferiCAIR® is to overcome one of the biggest obstacles to developing new drugs: the gap in the drug development chain that arises between the discovery of new, potentially beneficial substances — often by universities or small companies — and the clinical development up to approval of a new drug, carried out by pharmaceutical companies,” commented Professor Mark von Itzstein, Director of the Institute for Glycomics.

“Once a drug candidate has been identified, it first has to undergo preclinical testing in relevant and predictive test systems, before it can advance to the stage of clinical testing. FraunhoferiCAIR®, with its broad interdisciplinary expertise ranging from basic research to preclinical testing, aims at bridging this gap in the drug development process and at helping to meet the urgent need for new anti-infective drugs.”

Representatives from the Institute for Glycomics are attending the BIO International Convention and ready to speak with anyone interested in the ground-breaking research being conducted through the Fraunhofer iCAIR® partnership.

Around 140 people have already died this year from the flu in Australia.Each year, about one billion people worldwide are affected by influenza epidemics, over five million of these with serious outcomes. Anti-influenza vaccines are available; however, they are not always effective because, as a survival strategy, the viruses keep modifying their surface structures, thereby evading previously effective vaccines.