The World Health Organization (WHO) lists four lung diseases among the ten most frequent causes of death worldwide. Every fifth death worldwide is the result of a lung disease or a secondary disease. It is predicted that the number of cases will continue to rise sharply until 2030. The most serious lung diseases are still incurable, can only be treated symptomatically and are associated with high economic expenses.
The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), therefore, endorsed the foundation of the German Center for Lung Research (DZL), modeled after the American National Institutes of Health, to support the development of new diagnostic options and therapies, for an increased prevention of lung diseases.
Under the umbrella of the German Center for Lung Research e.V., located in Giessen, the DZL has five partner sites. Among the partners are university hospitals, Helmholtz Centers, Max-Planck, Leibniz, and Fraunhofer Institutes, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and a number of other renowned lung centers, which are allocated to the five partner sites.
At the DZL, doctors and scientists predominantly address diseases that are still considered to be incurable and follow distinct aims for the individual indications. Findings from basic research should be adopted for the development of biomarkers for improved phenotyping of patients, which should then influence the development of new therapies.
For this major project, the DZL has chosen the integrative research approach. All disease areas are worked on and researched jointly by several of the DZL partners. The available platforms and core facilities provide the scientists with a solid basis for their research activities. In addition to the excellent infrastructure already existing, work goes on continuously on tailormade innovative technologies to complement the existing pool.
A total of 70 million € has been made available to set up the German Center for Lung Research from 2011 – 2015, and 130 million€ for the years 2016-20. 90% of the amount is contributed by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), and 10 % by the federal states involved. This substantial funding strongly promotes the attractiveness of Germany as a scientific location.