MANF based biotherapeutics

Invention: MANF fragment protecting pancreatic b-cells and neurons.
Indication: Diabetes, degenerative disorders of the brain.
Unmet need: Disease modifying therapy.
IP Status: Patent applications pending.
Project phase: Lead optimisation.

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Our research group is investigating the signaling and biological functions of endoplasmic reticulum located CDNF/MANF neurotrophic factor families, both within and outside of the nervous system. We are also interested in the therapeutic potential of these proteins and their active fragments in various diseases. We recently developed MANF knockout mice, which develop severe insulin-deficient diabetes due to progressive postnatal reduction of the insulin producing β-cell mass. We have now identified novel fragments of MANF being protective to neuronal cells and capable of enhancing the proliferation of insulin producing b-cells, thus providing new, disease-modifying therapeutic avenues for diabetes and CNS disorders.

Mart Saarma, Maria Lindahl, Merja Voutilainen, Mikko Airavaara and Li Ying Yu
Institute of Biotechnology, University of Helsinki

Danilova T et al. MANF Is Required for the Postnatal Expansion and Maintenance of Pancreatic β-Cell Mass in Mice. Diabetes. 2019 Jan;68(1):66-80.

Hakonen E et al. MANF protects human pancreatic beta cells against stress-induced cell death. Diabetologia. 2018 Oct;61(10):2202-2214.

Lindahl M et al. MANF is indispensable for the proliferation and survival of pancreatic β cells. Cell Rep. 2014 Apr 24;7(2):366-375.