The Dr. K. H. Eberle Innovation Prize was awarded for the first time on Thursday at the University of Tübingen: The award went to Professor Robert Feil and Dr. Ing. Susanne Feil (Interfaculty Institute of Biochemistry) and Professor Bernd Pichler (Werner Siemens Imaging Center) for the development of alternative methods for animal experiments. The prize, endowed with € 300,000, will be awarded annually by the Dr. Ing. Karl Helmut Eberle Foundation to scientists in Tübingen, who deal with urgent questions of the future and whose work stands for a high innovation potential.
In the award-winning project "Non-Invasive Visualization and Tracking of Specific Cell Populations Using Positron Emission Tomography", scientists and physicians are collaborating to develop new methods of research into diseases such as Alzheimer's and Diabetes that require fewer, less burden for the animals while delivering results translatable into the clinical routine.
The molecular understanding of disease progression plays a major role in the development of new therapies. Therefore, the winners developed the so-called "PET-based cell tracking" to non-invasively visualize cells in mice. In this case, an artificial PET reporter enzyme can be imaged in each cell type of the mouse and vizualized by use of a radioactive substance, the so-called PET tracer accumulating in the selected cells. The radiation, which is harmless for the animal, can be made visible on the screen - a benefit of modern imaging techniques. Marked cells can be followed for weeks in living mice.