BIOMEDIRES Consortium

About the Consortium

 

A centre for excellent biomedical research, BIOMEDIRES operates as a consortium of Slovak and foreign bodies focusing on science and research. It was established as a partnership between MEDIREX GROUP ACADEMY and three prestigious universities in Germany, namely Universität Heidelberg, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, and Universitätsklinikum Jena. The Consortium also includes a couple of active private partners from abroad, namely CytoMol and Oncgnostic, both of which have been dealing with biomedical research for a long time now.

The purpose of the Consortium is to carry out international biomedical research with special emphasis on oncological diseases. The Consortium seeks to identify new biomarkers applicable in oncological disease screening, diagnosing and monitoring, focusing on identifying genetic associations and genome changes related to prevention and diagnostics and analysing new protein biomarkers applicable in diagnostics and treatment monitoring on a proteomic basis. Contributing to the growing body of findings related to oncological disease screening and diagnostics, the Consortium also seeks to develop new therapeutic methods, vaccines, and immunostimulants that have potential to make the treatment of such diseases more effective.

The focus on oncological diseases is understandable as they represent the second most frequent cause of death, preceded only by cardiovascular diseases. The number of newly diagnosed patients has been growing every year not only in Slovakia, but also worldwide. In Slovakia alone, there are 30,000 new patients suffering from various types of cancer every year. Crucially, early cancer detection rapidly increases the prospects of successful treatment. The most frequent type of cancer in male patients is colorectal carcinoma, while female patients most frequently suffer from breast cancer or cervical cancer. As for cervical cancer, for example, up to 600 women are diagnosed with the disease, and as many as 200 women die as a result of the disease in Slovakia every year. Importantly, the main cause of death is that the patients are diagnosed too late. It is crucial to realise that, combined with an early detection of the early stages of pathological changes in the mucous membrane of the cervix, early treatment can in fact result in full recovery.

 

Activities

  • Lady Care study
  • Innovative methods in ICT and biomedicine research focusing on knowledge base research and development for the purposes of making Lynch syndrome patient diagnostics and management more effective
  • Biomedires workshops

 

Academic partners

 

  • Universität Heidelberg

Department of Applied Tumour Biology, Institute of Pathology

The Department of Applied Tumour Biology, Institute of Pathology, Universität Heidelberg, studies the molecular mechanisms of tumour development and progression. When diagnosing patients, the Department uses highly specific molecular analysis to identify and classify different types of carcinoma. As suggested by dozens of research projects, the Department has several years’ experience in research in the fields of molecular biology and genetics related to new diagnostic methods and research into the development and origin of oncological diseases and therapeutic possibilities concerning oncological diseases.

Prof Magnus von Knebel Doeberitz, MD

Expert in molecular oncology and head of the Department of Applied Tumour Biology at the Institute of Pathology, Universität Heidelberg, Prof Magnus von Knebel Doeberitz focuses on the following fields in particular:

  • virus carcinogenesis: HPV-induced tumour diseases, colorectal carcinoma;
  • early detection and prevention of oncological diseases, therapeutic concepts;
  • and tumour immunology.

Partnerships bridging the private and the public sectors such as Biomedires are extremely important to protect original innovations and ideas and to facilitate their development, which is advantageous for patients in particular. Such partnerships are innovative in terms of work organisation, which ensures that an increasing number of scientists join the process of innovation and, in a sense, the whole sphere becomes an independent industry.

  • Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin

Campus Mitte and Benjamin Franklin, Gynäkologische Tumorimmunologie

The Centre specialises in research into the causes of cervical cancer and other oncological diseases in association with epigenetic genome changes (DNA methylation, etc.), research into more effective screening methods, possibilities for the early detection and treatment of cervical cancer.

Dr rer. nat. Andreas Kaufmann

As Head of the Laboratory of Tumour Immunology at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Dr Kaufmann is active in the field of translation medicine, focusing on screening human papillomavirus infection and conducting research into how the methylation changes of human DNA and virus DNA influence the development and progression of HPV-induced tumours.

Our biggest mission is to contribute to the treatment of cancer. Although we develop therapeutic vaccines that work to some extent, we are not able to counter the disease using immunotherapy only. If we manage to improve cancer treatment thanks to innovation, it will be an immense success in our lives.

  • Universitätsklinikum Jena

With a history that goes back more than 200 years, the Faculty employs scientists and specialist physicians from 25 countries of the world. In addition to basic biomedical research, they also carry out clinical research directly related to patient treatment.

Prof Dr rer. nat. Matthias Dürst

As Head of the Department of Gynaecological Molecular Biology within the Department of Gynaecology at the University Clinic Jena in Germany, Prof Dürst is a pioneer in human papilloma virus (HPV) research. He has contributed to various subfields of HPV research, including the discovery of Type 16 HPV, clarifying the immortalising potential of high-risk HPVs, and systematising the characterisation of HPV-DNA integration. His laboratory recently identified a characteristic feature of methylation that is particularly useful in sorting hrHPV patients.

 

Private partners

 

  • MVZ für Zytologie und Molekularbiologie Frankfurt GbR (CytoMol)

The Centre for Cytology and Molecular Biology in Frankfurt is a leading centre in the sphere of cytological cervical cancer screening and diagnostics, pioneering new diagnostic methods (LBC in Germany, mRNA, etc.). The Centre’s experts have worked with a team of researchers led by Prof zur Hausen (a Nobel prize laureate in physiology and medicine), which also led to the discovery of the fact that the human papillomavirus (HPV) plays a crucial part in the development of cervical cancer.

Priv.-Doz. Dr med. Hans Ikenberg

Prof Hans Ikenberg is one of the owners of CytoMol, a Frankfurt-based company specialising in cytology and molecular diagnostics. He is also a member of several German and international specialist associations operating in the spheres gynaecology and obstetrics, and cancer research and prevention.

 

  • Oncgnostics GmBH

A company originally established as a spin-off of the Women’s Clinic of the University in Jena (NSR 2012), the company focuses on the development of new, reliable IVD tests capable of detecting the epigenetic changes of tumour cell DNA that could be applied in laboratory diagnostics. The company’s major strategic goals and activities include the development of IVD tests (including proofing, validation, and clinical trials), participation in international projects, product certification, and licencing commercial providers of laboratory diagnostics. The company has a product of its own – GynTect, a test based on patented epigenetic markers capable of detecting DNA methylation. It makes cervical cancer screening more precise and provides crucial information for cervical cancer treatment decision-making.

Dr rer. nat. Alfred Hansel                        

Dr Hansel is a co-founder of Oncgnostics GmbH. In cooperation with Prof Dürst, he took part in identifying DNA methylation markers, which are essential to GynTect, the first diagnostic test developed by Oncgnostics GmbH.

 

BIOMEDIRES Workshops

The scientists working for the Consortium regularly discuss a variety of topics at workshops, actively steering the biomedical research within the Consortium. In the course of their discussions, they identify new topics for potential cooperation, including new directions for future research. They also create work groups, inspiring one another in their search for new ways of using the findings of their original research to develop new therapeutic and diagnostic methods applicable in clinical practice. The topics for potential cooperation range from joint projects in the sphere of science and research, through biomedicine projects involving students, to training for young scientists.

 

What they have said about us…

 

labMED 04/15 – Researchers from abroad have shown interest to do biomedical research in cooperation with Slovak scientists

labMED 04/15 – Prof Magnus von Knebel Doeberitz: Slovakia can see pretty things happening too

labMED 07/16 – The world’s outstanding scientists and researchers get together for a BIOMEDIRES workshop

Scientific Kaleidoscope

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