BERLIN, GERMANY – CQDM is funding its first project under the Canada/Germany program in partnership with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), through its ZIM Program, for a total of $1 million.
Falling under the broader Canada/Europe initiative, the Canada/Germany Program aims at funding novel and transformative next-generation technologies that improve, enhance or accelerate the drug development process. The first project is to be led by Dr. David Thomas, from McGill University in Montreal, Canada and Bert Klebl from Lead Discovery Centre (LDC) in Dortmund, Germany.
The private public partnership pulls together multidisciplinary scientific resources and expertise necessary to the completion of the project.
“We are proud of the fruits that bear our partnership with BMWi,” said Diane Gosselin, president and CEO at CQDM. “The creative and innovative aspects of this project are the reasons we fulfill our missions and organize international funding programs. This public-private partnership is willing to develop new expertise and to expand into new markets, and these collaborative efforts will certainly strengthen research in Canada and Germany.”
Dr. Thomas of McGill University adds this project is the outcome of a great collaboration with LDC scientists on an important research topic. “The project aims at addressing a need in biopharmaceutical research that is still understudied and unmet. ER stress is implicated in many diseases and Dr. Klebl and I will work at developing new tools for its study thanks to the funding initiative of CQDM and ZIM,” he said.
About the project:
Protein trafficking and misfolding under scrutiny
Investigators: David Y. Thomas (McGill University) and Bert Klebl (Lead Discovery Centre)
$500k from CQDM and €380k from ZIM over 2 years
One third of the proteins encoded in our DNA transit through the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) inside cells. The ER has several distinct mechanisms to check the integrity and proper folding of these proteins. Some protein trafficking respiratory diseases result from an overzealous quality control system that recognizes mutant proteins that are otherwise functional and tags them for degradation before they reach their correct location. This complex quality control system is achieved through a network of interacting enzymes called kinases. ER quality control is an understudied field of biology and could represent a goldmine of new targets to treat many diseases including neurodegenerative disorders, diabetes and cancer. We have shown that inhibitors of some of these kinases affect the accuracy of the ER quality control system and are able to correct trafficking defects responsible in some diseases. The aim of this project is to generate a platform to study the most important players responsible for the proper trafficking of proteins. This collaborative project will leverage the expertise of each researcher to generate a set of validated tools and chemical probes to interrogate the protein kinases involved in protein trafficking which could allow to identify new targets for the development of novel ER related diseases therapies.