The World Health Organization (WHO) lists four lung diseases amongst the ten most frequent causes of death worldwide. Every fifth death is the result of a lung disease or its secondary diseases. It is predicted that the number of cases will continue to rise sharply until 2030. Most serious lung diseases are still incurable, can only be treated symptomatically and are associated with a high economic outlay.
The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has therefore supported the foundation of a German Center for Lung Research (DZL), modeled on the American National Institutes of Health, so that new options in diagnosis, therapy and prevention of diseases can be rapidly developed.
At the DZL, doctors and scientists predominantly address diseases that are still considered to be incurable and follow concrete aims for the individual indications. Findings from basic research should be adopted in the development of biomarkers for improved phenotyping of patients and these should then influence the development of new therapies.
Among the partners of the DZL 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.
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.