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Model organism

Model systems play an important role in research for the investigation of diseases. Not least, because pharmaceuticals can be tested on them before being used on humans.

Just as in cell cultures, it is now possible in many other model systems to modify or switch off the functions of genes, or introduce new genes with altered functions. There is one important difference, however. Whereas in cell cultures the influence of an alteration can only be studied on one cell type, other model systems offer the possibility of understanding the effects of the changes on the whole organism.

With genetically modified model systems, in many cases mouse models, it can be investigated which effects previously identified minimal genetic changes have on the immune system. In this way, for example, those dispositions in the genome that have been identified as being suspicious in human Crohn’s disease can be analyzed in laboratory animals.
By specificially altering the individual genetic information of a mouse, scientists can figure out which individual molecules are involved in which form in the inflammatory process. This is the basic prerequisite for the development of innovative therapies and APIs that alleviate the suffering of patients.

Pharmaceuticals from the sea and insights from a fly

Other more exotic animals, for example marine organisms such as polyps, jellyfish or mussels, are the focus of attention of researchers. To survive under the adverse conditions of their moist environment, these ancient organisms have, over millions of years, developed specific protective mechanisms against bacteria and germs. Learning from these functional defense mechanisms, constantly undergoing evolutionary optimization, opens up a future prospect in the development of anti-inflammatory active ingredients or therapies for humans.
Alongside these, other “simple” model organisms such as the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) or the nemotode (Caenorhabditis elegans) play an important role in the Cluster, for understanding the mechanics of the immune system and thereby the onset of inflammations.

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