GRK1172 members coordinate and/or participate in a number of regional, national and international scientific networks to guarantee excellent science and education. All these initiatives are also dedicated to the training of groups of PhD students with the aim of building a strong and competent foundation for the next generation of scientists in biomedical and translational research.

The GRK1172 has already established the structure of an early drug pipeline. Each developmental stage is represented by several projects that cover different substance classes. Novel drug targets for cancer, cardiovascular diseases and inflammatory disorders are identified and validated in close collaboration within the network. For lead identification and optimization, innovative methodologies, such as combinatorial chemistry and evolutionary methods (SELEX, phage display, yeast-two-hybrid), are used. Lead compounds are further refined based on structural and biochemical analysis in close collaborations. In addition to the classical biologics, which are growth factors and antibodies, highly innovative compounds are represented, such as RNA aptamers, siRNAs, immunotoxins and stem cell gene therapies.

The classical phase of preclinical safety testing and GMP production is not attractive for a doctoral thesis, but will be represented by the regulatory authorities (PEI, teaching) and pharmaceutical companies (teaching and demonstration).

Several biologics developed in Frankfurt, such as NK cell therapy
for leukemia (Klingebiel), stem cell gene therapy for inherited immunodeficiency (Hoelzer/Ott/Grez), gene therapy for HIV Infection (von Laer), and immunotoxins for breast cancer (Wels) are already in phase I clinical testing. Development of these candidates has generated excellent cooperative networks between industry, regulatory institutions and academia. Thereby, considerable expertise on preclinical and clinical drug development was generated also on the academic side, thus paving the way into clinical testing for further up-coming drug candidates.

Other relevant networks are the SFB RNA-ligand interactions and the BMBF-funded German stem cell gene therapy network TreatID coordinated in Frankfurt.

The students that receive a PhD within the GRK1172 will be highly qualified to work in the innovative and expanding field of biologics in academia as well as in industry.