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The Cell

Although almost all the cells of our body contain the same genetic information, they can still have different shapes and functions. They produce insulin in the pancreas, detect pathogens or, by contracting, ensure that our heart beats.

Cells are good to observe with the most modern of technologies and under a high-resolution microscope. This makes their outer barrier, the cell membrane, as well as the proteins that make up the cell for the most part, easy to recognize. Even individual receptors, those sensors on the membrane, which are of great importance for the development of inflammation, are visible. It is receptors that identify pathogens and messengers and activate the immune system.       

To understand how it ultimately comes to reddened, scaly skin or painful tissue destruction in the intestines, the functions and control of the cell has to be understood. For that, for example, cell cultures are made from isolated white blood cells of the blood or skin cells. Afterwards, it can be simulated how the cells respond when they are stimulated by the addition of pathogens, for example. It is now even possible to literally program cells. New genes can be introduced into them or other genes switched off in order to understand what function they have.

Basic research for tomorrow’s health

With such innovative methods, there is hope of understanding why minimal genetic peculiarities can set in motion a devastating inflammatory reaction or which and how cells of the immune system are involved in the inflammatory process. In this way, the basic requirements are created to help develop new therapies and more accurate active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) for the treatment of inflammatory diseases.

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