Cooperation and International News

The Faculty of Medicine has been cooperating since 1981 with various universities in China. A new basis was created for this cooperation with establishment of the Collaborative Research Centre SFB/Transregio 60 “Mutual Interaction of Viruses with Cells of the Immune System: From Fundamental Research to Immunotherapy and Vaccination”. Hepatitis B and C or HIV – worldwide over 500 million people are infected with these viruses. They lead to conditions such as ­severe inflammation of the liver or even AIDS. How viruses manage to evade the immune system has been investigated within SFB/TRR 60 since 2009 by researchers from the Faculty of Medicine under the direction of the Institute of Virology with Ruhr University Bochum and in cooperation with Wuhan (PR China) and Shanghai. The international research team now wishes to use this knowledge specifically to develop new approaches to immunotherapy or vaccination against chronic viral infections. The German Research Foundation and National Natural Science Foundation are supporting the only medical Collaborative Research Centre with China nationwide for a further three and a half years. Eleven subprojects in Essen and Bochum are receiving a total of some 5.9 million euros, seven subprojects in China around 2 million euros.

The Faculty of Medicine has also been able to extend its contacts with outstanding institutions in Japan: over the next five years, researchers from Essen will be working in close collaboration with colleagues in Tsubaka, Japan, on radiation therapy. The research is taking place under a cooperation agreement between the Faculty of Medicine and University Hospital in Tsukuba. At the centre of their collaboration, initiated by NRW Economics Minister Garrelt Duin during a visit at the beginning of 2014, is targeted treatment of tumours. Another cooperation agreement for work on ­radiation therapy has been sealed with Southern Tohoku General Hospital Group (STGHG) in the Japanese prefecture of Fukushima.

Researchers at the Faculty of Medicine are also connected with various networks at national ­level. For example, Essen joins the University of Düsseldorf as the only location in North Rhine-Westphalia of the German Consortium for Translational Cancer Research (DKTK). A total of ­seven outstanding university locations throughout Germany were selected to partner the DKTK.

The Faculty of Medicine was also chosen as a study centre for the National Cohort, Germany’s largest health study. In the next four years, 200,000 individuals aged between 20 and 69 years will undergo medical examination and answer questions on their living conditions as part of the study. The project aims on a hitherto unprecedented scale to improve prevention, early detection and treatment of typical widespread diseases such as cancer, diabetes and dementia. 25 research institutions throughout Germany are taking part, 18 study centres have been set up nationwide, and the ­federal government, the Länder and the Helmholtz Association are providing 210 million euros in ­financial support for the study. The study centre in Essen has two distinct features: as the location of one of just five MRI centres in total, it will perform whole-body MRI scans on no less than 6000 ­national cohort respondents. Essen is also the seat of the Chairman of the German National Cohort, Prof. Karl-Heinz Jöckel.

Selected international cooperation:

  • PR China: SFB/TRR 60 with Tongji Medical College of Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan and Zhongshan Hospital of Fudan University Shanghai; ­Tongren Hospital Beijing; Sun Yat-sen ­Memorial Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou
  • Russia: Nizhny Novgorod State Medical Academy
  • Poland: Medical University of Bialystok
  • USA: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research ­Center, Seattle, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Cornell University Medical College & Mount Sinai Hospital, New York
  • Japan: Southern Tohoku General Hospital Group (STGHG) in the Japanese prefecture of Fukushima, University of Tsukuba
  • Mongolia: Mongolian National University of Medical Sciences, Ulan Bator