The INTERREG programme of the European Union will provide funding for a liver disease research project conducted by the Department of Internal Medicine II at the Freiburg University Medical Centre. The “Hepato-Regio-Net” will receive a total of one million euro in funding for a period of three years. Prof. Dr. Robert Thimme, executive senior physician in the Department of Medicine, will serve as the project’s spokesperson and Dr. Richard Fischer, chief physician in the Department of Medicine II at the Freiburg University Medical Centre, as the coordinator of the project.
The aim of “Hepato-Regio-Net” is to closely link the three universities in Freiburg (D), Strasbourg (F) and Basel (CH), which have a major clinical and scientific focus on the area of hepatology, i.e. study of liver. Additional doctor’s offices with a major focus on gastroenterology in the cities of Karlsruhe, Baden-Baden, Landau and Gaggenau have also been included in the planned symposia and lecture series in order to improve the information and therapy of those patients suffering from liver diseases in other regions of the Upper Rhine area.Liver diseases are a major cause of chronic diseases and are the fifth most frequent cause of death in Western industrialised nations. Long-term liver inflammation often leads to the sufferers’ inability to work as well as to hospital stays, which are associated with comprehensive economic and social consequences. In addition, chronic liver inflammation is the most frequent cause of liver cell carcinoma, which is one of the major causes of cancer-related deaths worldwide. No effective therapies are currently available for the majority of chronic liver inflammation. In many cases, liver transplantation offers the best prognosis for long-term survival.The Department of Internal Medicine II at the Freiburg University Medical Centre (Medical Director: Professor Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Hubert E. Blum) is an internationally renowned centre for the treatment of hepatitis virus infections. Several research groups deal with the virological and immunological aspects of hepatitis B and C infections. The department’s extraordinary position in the area of liver diseases was recently affirmed by the establishment of the first Heisenberg professorship for hepatology, which was granted to Professor Dr. Robert Thimme, as well as the approval of funding for a research unit, together with the University of Heidelberg, that is to focus on viral hepatitis. Additional research projects focusing on liver diseases at the Freiburg University Medical Centre are being funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
Further information:Prof. Dr. Robert ThimmeInternal Medicine IITel.: +49 (0)761/270- 3401E-mail: robert.thimme(at)uniklinik-freiburg.de