Pharmaceutical process engineering
With the help of pharmaceutical technological processes, substances, especially from plants, are prepared in such a way that they can be safely used as medicines for humans. Pharmaceutical process engineering is a science that is intended to improve the knowledge of the development, production, analysis and quality control/assurance of medicinal products so that effective and safe products for the health care of patients are also available in the future.
The primary aim of our department is the further development of pharmaceutical flow processes for the production of liposomal mistletoe preparations for modern cancer therapy. In this therapy, the cytotoxic properties as well as the immune-stimulating and fever-inducing properties of mistletoe are to be optimally applied. Many years of experience in mistletoe therapy show that complete tumour remission could be achieved for a larger number of patients when it was possible to apply high-dose intratumoral injections of mistletoe preparations. Unfortunately, intratumoral application is only practically feasible in a few cases. In addition, retrospective analyses have shown that acute febrile illnesses are prognostically favourable for the chances of recovery and overall survival in case of cancer.
Based on the aforementioned therapeutic experiences, the following concept was developed for the pharmaceutics of mistletoe preparations:
- By embedding the mistletoe extract in natural biological membranes, liposomes are generated in the injection preparation. Liposomes are spherical membrane vesicles (see figure) that protect the mistletoe components from the degrading effects of the immune system.
- Liposomal injection preparations accumulate in tumor tissue if the circulation is long enough. This so-called "targeting" can be further enhanced by the special binding properties of certain substances (active targeting).
- By releasing the mistletoe components from liposomes, effects comparable to those of intratumoral application can be achieved.
- Liposomal formulations can enhance and prolong both the cytotoxicity of mistletoe and the fever-inducing effect.
Scientific questions and technological developments of our research projects:
- Production of water-in-oil nanoemulsions with phospholipids as emulsifiers
- Production of liposomes from water-in-oil nanoemulsions by centrifugation processes
- Investigation of the synthesis of a phospholipid monolayer to a bi-layer (biological membrane) in a centrifugal field at phase boundaries of non-miscible liquids
- Coating of liposomes with biocompatible polymers such as heparin to increase the circulation time of liposomes in the bloodstream and avoid their elimination during repeated drug application
- Investigation of the function of lipids in human physiology
- Colloid stability of liposomal suspensions
All experimental work is carried out in close cooperation with universities and using state-of-the-art experimental methods and measuring equipment in our own laboratories or in the laboratories of our cooperation partners.
For the development of research concepts, it is a particular concern of the Carl Gustav Carus Institut to take up the holistic approach introduced by J.W. Goethe. R. Steiner follows Goethe in the epistemological rationale of the humanities. In various research projects work is being done to obtain principles for pharmaceutical processes for the production of mistletoe preparations through a synopsis of the individual phenomena:
- Importance and function of lipids in human physiology
- Phenomenology of thermodynamics
- Phenomenology of acoustics
Dr. G. Leneweit, Physicist
S. Nikolaus, Graduate engineer (FH) mechanical engineering
P. Wandrés, Mechanics
Markus Beffert, Chemical laboratory assistant
Postgraduate, Bachelor as well as Master students in cooperation with universities
In the field of pharmaceutical process engineering there is intensive cooperation with the following partner institutions:
- Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT), Institut für Mechanische Verfahrenstechnik und Mechanik (MVM)
- Albert Ludwigs Universität Freiburg, Lehrstuhl für Pharmazeutische Technologie
- Universität Uppsala, Abteilung für Klinische Immunologie
- Universität Utrecht, Fakultät für Pharmazie
Possibilities of participation
- PhD positions
- Bachelor or Master Theses
- Internships ( for 6 months and more)
- German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
- Bundesfreiwilligendienst/Federal Voluntary Service
See bibliography list here.