Funding for research beyond national borders

"AUTOMETA" develops microfluidic chips to make personalised treatment with medicines more effective

Coordinated by the University of Freiburg, the project "AUTOMETA: Automated preparation of samples for reliable analysis and effective treatments" is one of seven scientific networks receiving a total of nine million euros in support for the next three years. The project is taking place within the framework of a trans-boundary research offensive that is a joint initiative of the German federal states of Baden-Württemberg and Rheinland-Pfalz, the Région Grand Est, and the Interreg Upper Rhine programme to support cross-border projects in the areas of science and innovation. One emphasis is on technology transfer of projects. The proposed innovations have high exploitation potential which could directly affect scientific and economic development of the Upper Rhine valley.

A chip for more effective personalised treatment

Medical research has shown there are significant limits to treatment with drugs. In thirty to sixty percent of patients, the medicines are ineffective, while undesirable side-effects hamper treatment in thirty percent of the cases. Autometa is to aid in overcoming these problems.

The University of Freiburg and its partners, including the University of Basel in Switzerland and the Hahn Schickard Society for Applied Research, are developing a microfluidic chip which automates the sample preparation step during metabolome analysis.

In this molecular and medical biological process, what are known as metabolites are examined. These are small molecules involved in all chemical reactions that take place within the body. The analysis enables doctors to make observations about the health of patients and their reactions to medication in real time.

"During the funding period, the microfluidic chips currently being developed should pave the way for major improvements and increase reliability in comparison with today’s methods of metabolome analysis. That is an important step towards more accessible personalised medicine," say Bernd Kammerer , (Core Competence Metabolomics), the project leader at the Universität Freiburg, Dr. Tobias Hutzenlaub (IMTEK, University of Freiburg and Hahn Schickard Society) and Robin Teufel (University of Basel, Switzerland). "We are pleased the support will allow us to bring our cooperative cross-border research into application," they add.