Published on 22.05.2024

Comprehensive Method Developed for More Accurate Disease Monitoring

Researchers at the University of Freiburg have achieved a breakthrough that enables a more precise understanding and potentially more effective treatment of diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's, and diabetes. The technique focuses on a crucial process in our cells called autophagy, which often plays a role in various diseases.

Autophagy is essentially like the cleaning crew in our cells – it clears away waste and eliminates defective parts to keep the cell healthy. It is a constantly active degradation process that is often dysregulated in human diseases. So far, it has been challenging to precisely observe these cleaning processes and understand how they relate to diseases.

Hours Instead of Days
But now, Alexandre Leytens, Dr. Michael Stumpe, and Prof. Jörn Dengjel have developed a method that allows measuring the activity of autophagy in just two hours instead of days. Researchers from the Department of Biology at the University of Freiburg use a state-of-the-art technique called mass spectrometry to monitor the activity of 40 central proteins associated with autophagy, taking into account the complex processes of selective autophagy.

Better Understanding of Diseases
This means that scientists can now find out much faster and more accurately how well the cleaning processes in our cells are functioning. This could help in developing drugs that precisely target these processes and improve the treatment of diseases.

This new technique could support significant advancements in medicine and contribute to a better understanding and more effective treatment of diseases.


Targeted proteomics addresses selectivity and complexity of protein degradation by autophagy, Alexandre Leytens, Rocío Benítez-Fernández, Carlos Jiménez-García, Carole Roubaty, Michael Stumpe, Patricia Boya, Jörn Dengjel
bioRxiv 2024.03.27.586977; doi:

Patent application number: EU 23182541.5