MICRO- AND NANOPLASTICS BREACH THE BLOOD-BRAIN BARRIER (BBB)
Orally administered Micro- and Nanoplastic particles (MNP) can reach the brain already two hours after exposure. Depending on its outer shell (corona), these small particles are even able to enter the highly restricted blood-brain barrier, thus posing a potential risk to sensitive neuronal structures.
BREAKTHROUGH IN THE DETECTION OF MICRO- AND NANOPLASTICS IN TISSUE SAMPLES
The introduction of Optical Photothermal Infrared Spectroscopy (OPTIR) – a novel analytical technique – enables the accurate detection of micro- and nanoplastics in biological samples. This paves the way for a better understanding of potential health impacts.
DETECTION OF MICROPLASTIC PARTICLES IN HUMAN URINE
Using flourescence microscopy, it was possible to detect microplastic particles in human urine. The exact origin of the particles and the influence of hygiene products and clothins, as well as food, are the focus of future project steps.
CAN PLASTIC FASTING AFFECT OUR MICROPLASTIC EXPOSURE?
In order to analyse the previously little researched impact of micro-plastics on humans, volunteers were recruited who, by abstaining from plastic, made a valuable contribution to clarifying this question.
MICRO- AND NANOPLASTIC INCREASES INFLAMMATORY PROCESSES IN THE GUT
Micro- and nanoplastic particles have become a ubiquitous ingredient in our daily life. A recent study shows the aggraving effects of these plastic particles in gastrointestinal inflammatory diseases.
MICRO- AND NANOPLASTICS ARE PASSED ON TO NEWLY FORMED CELLS DURING CELL DIVISION
The uptake of the ubiquitous micro- and nanoplastic particles is highly dependent on their size. However, once accumulated these particles are passed on to the next generation of cells underlining the persistence of plastics even in humans.
Biomarkers for Clinical Decision Support in Intensive Care
In intensive care, fluid balance may serve as a biomarker for critical illness. Together with the Medical University of Graz and B. Braun Melsungen AG, an in-silico model of a patients’ fluid balance within the intensive care stay was developed. The model is capable of describing the patients’ behaviour on fluid management in time, but also provide a prediction throughout the stay at the intensive care unit. A patent application was filed in 2018 preparing the model for translation into industrial exploitation.
FUSION Technology – A Systems Biology Approach Towards Predictive Biomarkers for Relapse Risk in Stage II Colon Cancer
Colon cancer (CC) belongs to the most commonly diagnosed malignancies among men and women in the developed world, with an estimated 140,250 new cases being diagnosed in 2018 in the US alone, including 50,630 estimated deaths in 2018. Identification of high-risk patients with stage II CC is difficult and currently defined by several clinicopathological risk factors. Although the current risk definition for stage II CC-patients is still recommended, new prognostic and predictive markers for patients potentially profiting from adjuvant chemotherapy (CTX) represent a clinical need. CBmed therefore took a FUSION Technology – assisted multiplatform approach towards biomarker discovery for stage II colon cancer risk prediction.
CLINICAL DOCUMENT PROCESSING FOR BIOMARKER RESEARCH
The CBmed project DBM4PM (Digital Biomarkers for Precision Medicine) builds upon the project Innovative Use of Information for Clinical Care and Biomarker Research (IICCAB), which was a crucial achievement of the first CBmed funding period which resulted in a clinical document processing solution.
This so-called NLP (natural language processing) pipeline is tailored to clinical narratives from the Styrian hospital network KAGes, from which it extracts meaningful pieces of information, so-called “digital biomarkers” (mention of diseases, phenotypes, risk factors, scores, drugs in electronic health records) in a standardised form. The use of international terminology standards like SNOMED CT is a central asset.
PROTON PUMP INHIBITOR-ASSOCIATED DAMAGE OF THE MICROBIOME
Gastric acid is a crucial part of the gastrointestinal tract. It is involved in digestion and the extraction of important micronutrients but it also effectively kills
food-borne pathogens. In some cases, such as peptic ulcer disease or gastritis, the production of gastric acid needs to be decreased by proton pump inhibitors (PPI), in German called “stomach protectors”. Long-term use of this drug leaves the body without the gastric barrier, an important firewall not only against pathogens but also against bacteria from the oral cavity that can colonize the lower intestinal tract and cause inflammation and other side effects. In chronically ill patients, prolonged use of PPI is linked to the development of complications or even mortality. In this project, we identified transnational, disease-independent biomarkers for the colonization of the intestine with oral bacteria and test new strategies to remove the oral bacteria from the intestine without damaging the original gut microbiome.
In a COMET-funded project running from 2015 to 2018, a biomarker for the diagnosis and monitoring of pulmonary hypertension (PH) was identified and
patented under the leadership of the K1 Center CBmed, together with the scientific partners Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Lung Vascular Research, Medical University Graz and Joanneum Research Forschungsgesellschaft. Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is characterized by elevated blood pressure in the pulmonary circulation and causes a significantly reduced survival rate of 53.6% after 5 years. The prevalence is 5-25 cases per million people, although the actual rate of the disease is probably underestimated. An essential factor influencing survival is the early and adequate diagnosis of the disease. In particular, the broad and unspecific clinical symptoms, for example shortness of breath, syncope, tiredness and chest pain, represents a major challenge in clinical practice. An incomplete, delayed or inadequate diagnosis is therefore common and occurs in up to 85% of all patients at risk. The current gold standard, the measurement of pulmonary arterial pressure using a cardiac catheter, is extremely invasive, costly and carries an elevated risk of mortality. Up to date there are no alternative, specific and less invasive methods for diagnosis and monitoring of PH available