The THAI mouse goes to the stock exchange

Monday, 4 April, 2022
Tags: News

Hearing about the stock market can make a person think of many things but of mice the least. Such a rare case can only happen with a special mouse like the THAI mouse of our institute, so you might want to know the extraordinary story!

Hearing about the stock market can make a person think of many things but of mice the least. Such a rare case can only happen with a special mouse like the THAI mouse of our institute, so you might want to know the extraordinary story!

The mice in fairy tales are not always seen in the same way. While the Mouse King in Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, which is performed every Christmas, is a clearly negative figure, in more than one folk tale it is the small, miserable, weak mouse who rescues the poor man or even the good-hearted third son of a king, who frees the mighty elephant or lion from the net or trap. True, the mice of fairy tales speak with crystal clarity and precision, but the protagonist of our story, the THAI mouse, at most, if he twitches like the mouse of the temple, is known to be very poor. This is certainly not the case with the KOKI mouse, nor should it be, as it is a very useful creature, contributing to a better understanding of hormonal problems and research to alleviate them. Yes, the mysteriously named THAI mouse is one of the many experimental mice, of which some 200,000 are used every year in Hungary alone. Millions of laboratory animals are sacrificed every year for the health and protection of human life. It is perhaps no coincidence that since 1979, their World Day has been marked in the UN calendar on the 24 April, the day of St George the Dragonslayer. Nor should anyone envy what they have received from the city of Novosibirsk. Since 2013, a tiny statue has been erected in their memory.

But let us now talk about our famous THAI mouse (an acronym for Thyroid Hormone Action Indicator Mouse), which has nothing to do with the Far East and everything to do with thyroid hormone, the lack of which, or the production of too much of it, is the cause of many diseases. Low thyroid hormone levels, named hypothyroidism, affect a huge group of patients. For this reason, it would also be very good to see how much of it is present in the body.
The THAI transgenic mouse line created at IEM ELRN, mainly by Balázs Gereben, Csaba Fekete, and Petra Mohácsik, with the collaboration of Ferenc Erdélyi and Gábor Szabó, offers a unique opportunity to do this, as the tissues of this experimental mouse emit light, and the intensity of the light is related to the activity of thyroid hormone in the tissue. And by tracking and measuring thyroid hormone signaling in different brain areas and tissues, we can not only better understand what, where and how thyroid-related diseases occur, but we can also test the effects of drugs. This amazing mouse trait is now being used in research not only at home but also in many countries around the world with excellent results.
What is even more extraordinary, at least in Hungary and in a basic research institute, is that its "fearless" developers have patented it, not only in Hungary but also in Europe and the USA. Indeed, according to Balázs Gereben, it was a hard challenge because the background for patenting basic biomedical science results is still not systematically developed in our country. Researchers either figure out what to do or give up after a while. But Balázs and Csaba are certainly not the quitters.

Csaba Fekete:

- Our EU, US and Hungarian patent-protected THAI mouse model has proven its suitability for drug development and environmental toxicology studies, but we lacked the knowledge and contacts to bring it to market.

Balázs Gereben:

- We were confronted with the fact that in Hungarian basic science research, at least in the field of biomedical science, the exploitation of the resulting results with market value is still in its infancy. We found out about Blue Seven Group Zrt. from the press and contacted Dr. Kálmán Böjthe, the group's CEO.

Dr. Kálmán Böjthe founded his company in January 2013 with the aim of introducing innovative Hungarian products to the markets through domestic and international listed companies. He did this because, as he said during his presentation at KOKI, he is convinced that Hungarian creativity is outstanding and that innovative Hungarian products are competitive all over the world. In no case should we be satisfied with what he has personally experienced, that the most successful Hungarian product at world exhibitions is "kürtőskalács" (a special made cake), even if it is made well. Blue Seven Group Zrt. aims to help prevent the emigration of top Hungarian researchers by providing them with the opportunity to bring their knowledge and talents to fruition at home.

Not many companies representing development and innovation can say that they insist on close cooperation with the inventor or developer, mutual success based on trust, and a unique agreement, which implies that the inventor receives the largest share of the deserved benefits.

It is no wonder that, despite several unpleasant experiences, Balázs Gereben and Csaba Fekete thought it might be worth applying for a patent with this company. Their intention was supported by the KOKI management, which led KOKI to sign a cooperation agreement with the Blue 7 Group. There is every hope that the work of our internationally renowned domestic researchers will soon be brought into economic focus through a stock exchange presence in partnership with the Blue Seven Group.