New drugs and radioligands: preclinical evaluation and clinical trials
The development of a new drug takes up to 10 years. Often, there are clinical reports or pathological observations which shed light on promising targets and stimulate the development of specific drugs. The first step of development comprises the investigation of target structures and their interaction with selected drugs. Subsequently, systematic preclinical and clinical trials are conducted.
Our methodological focus in drug research is on molecular and structural imaging. With these techniques we assess in vivo data throughout the process of pharmaceutical testing on both safety and potency of diagnostic and therapeutic candidate compounds. In vivo imaging is capable to streamline and speed up evaluation and approval procedures.
We are primarily interested in compounds for the treatment of neurological and psychiatric diseases. Regarding brain diseases it is often impossible to implement a standard study scheme because it is difficult to establish an adequate and timely read-out due to the slow and varied course of most brain diseases. In these cases, surrogate markers which can be monitored with medical imaging techniques are therefore applied to define endpoints for the clinical studies. Thus, the evaluation process can be significantly shortened.
On the following pages you will find examples of preclinical evaluation and clinical trials which we conduct at the Forschungszentrum Jülich. We are member of the Helmholtz Drug Research Initiative, where six of Germany's Helmholtz centres from the fields of health research and key technologies have joined forces with university partners in order to streamline the drug development process.