“Interdisciplinary collaboration between researchers and clinicians has been the guiding principle of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch since its founding 20 years ago,” said Professor Walter Rosenthal, chairman of the board of directors and scientific director of the MDC. He also stressed the importance of the Experimental and Clinical Research Center (ECRC) for clinical research. The MDC and Charité – Universitätsmedizin have operated the ECRC jointly on Campus Berlin-Buch since 2007, and each contributes six million euros annually to fund the ECRC. Remarking on the planned closer institutional links between the MDC and the Charité, Professor Grüters-Kieslich and Professor Rosenthal added, “We want to continue to expand in the future what we have successfully begun here on a small scale.”
The organizers of the symposium, Professor Friedrich Luft, director of the ECRC, and Professor Dominik Müller (ECRC) seek to demonstrate that researchers and clinicians can gain surprising new insights, e.g. into the pathogenesis of serious diseases, when they look outside the box of their own fields. Current research has shown that the immune system is not only responsible for the defense against diseases, but can also affect the body’s salt and fluid balance as well as blood pressure. A report on this topic will be given by Professor Jens Titze (University of Vanderbilt, Nashville, Tennessee, USA and the University of Erlangen), one of the leading experts in this field, at the Berlin symposium.
A subset of these growth factors also plays an important role in high blood pressure during pregnancy (preeclampsia), one of the most dangerous complications for mother and child. A lecture on this disease, which is very difficult to treat with drugs, will be given by Professor Ananth Karumanchi (Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center & Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA), who discovered the importance of growth factors for preeclampsia.In his lecture at the symposium, the immunologist and Nobel laureate Professor Zinkernagel (University of Zurich, Switzerland) will give an overview of the immune system. According to his opinion, “immunological memory” plays a rather subordinate role in the protection against disease, because its development is too slow and too ineffective. Instead, the immune system must always be confronted anew with the respective pathogens to preserve a sufficient amount of antibodies and pre-activated T cells. In his view, this understanding is important to be able to maintain protective immunity in the population against old and newly occurring infectious diseases.
Barbara Bachtler | Max-Delbrück-Centrum
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Researchers at King’s College London and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in the United Kingdom have for the first time demonstrated a direct link between the Wbp2 gene and progressive hearing loss. The scientists report that the loss of Wbp2 expression leads to progressive high-frequency hearing loss in mouse as well as in two clinical cases of children with deafness with no other obvious features. The results are published in EMBO Molecular Medicine.
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