Helmholtz Association

Research Field Health

Health Research in the Helmholtz Association aims to unravel the complex causes of major chronic diseases and develop novel strategies for prevention, early diagnostics and effective therapies for the benefit of patients.

Goals

ZoomHelmholtz Institutes for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS) Scientists in the laboratory . Image: HIPS/HZI
Helmholtz Institutes for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS) Scientists in the laboratory . Image: HIPS/HZI

Their aim is to help develop efficient methods for the early detection, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of these major common diseases. The research on complex and often chronic illnesses requires interdisciplinary approaches, which the Helmholtz centres implement in cooperation with partners from medical schools, universities, other research organisations and industry. The Helmholtz centres active in the field of health research perform outstanding basic research and apply their expertise to the development of new methods for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of illnesses. They are making this expertise available to the German Centres of Health Research, which were founded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in order to improve the translation of basic research findings into clinical applications.

Outlook

The long-term goal of health research at the Helmholtz Association is to improve medical care and quality of life for the population into old age. Individually tailored options for prevention and treatment will play a vital role in the future, but it will also be important to better understand the role of the metabolic syndrome as a risk factor for several of the major common diseases. A key contribution will be made by the Helmholtz translational centres and the German Centres of Health Research – together with the National Cohort as a resource for epidemiology and prevention research.

Research Programmes


Cancer Research

The goal of the Cancer Research Programme is to make significant improvements in the prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

More details about Research Programme Cancer Research


Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disease

The programme’s aim is to examine the causes of nervous system disorders and create more efficient methods for their prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care.

More details about Research Programme Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disease


Infection Research

This programme concentrates on the molecular mechanisms responsible for the development and course of infectious diseases.

More details about Research Programme Infection Research


Disorders of the Nervous System

Being able to grow old is not just a blessing. Unfortunately, older people are more likely to suffer from neurological and psychiatric illnesses.

More details about Research Programme Disorders of the Nervous System


Genetic and Environmental Influences on Common Diseases

Diabetes, pulmonary illnesses, cardiovascular diseases, disorders of the nervous system and cancer result from the complex interplay between genetics, environmental factors and personal lifestyles.

More details about Research Programme Environmental Health

The programmes in the funding period 2014-2018

Research activities at the Helmholtz Health Centers are organized in three closely interrelated areas:

- Excellent basic research
- Analysis of complex biological systems
- modeling of disease processes

Major activities in these three research lines are pursued at five Helmholtz Centers: the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg, the Helmholtz Center Munich – the German Research Center for Environmental Health (HMGU), the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI), the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch, and the nationwide German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE). Other Centers that provide important contributions to specific programs are the Research Center Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR), the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), and the Helmholtz Center for Heavy Ion Research (GSI).

Our disease-oriented programs and a joint strategy for the third period of program-oriented funding (2014-2018) put the Research Field Health within the Helmholtz Association in an excellent position to make important contributions to the challenging area of biomedical research.

Research is currently being conducted in five programmes.

Research Programmes


Cancer Research

The goal of the Cancer Research Programme is to make significant improvements in the prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

More details about Research Programme Cancer Research


Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disease

The programme’s aim is to examine the causes of nervous system disorders and create more efficient methods for their prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care.

More details about Research Programme Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disease


Infection Research

This programme concentrates on the molecular mechanisms responsible for the development and course of infectious diseases.

More details about Research Programme Infection Research


Disorders of the Nervous System

Being able to grow old is not just a blessing. Unfortunately, older people are more likely to suffer from neurological and psychiatric illnesses.

More details about Research Programme Disorders of the Nervous System


Genetic and Environmental Influences on Common Diseases

Diabetes, pulmonary illnesses, cardiovascular diseases, disorders of the nervous system and cancer result from the complex interplay between genetics, environmental factors and personal lifestyles.

More details about Research Programme Environmental Health

Strategic Cross-Programme Activities

To be able to respond as quickly as possible to new developments, a flexible system of cross-cutting activities was created to contribute to the further development of important resources and technologies. Here, the fields of epidemiology, translational research, and personalized medicine are given particular significance as regards research policy and strategy.

Epidemiological research
Epidemiological research aims at identifying both the genetic and the environmental risk factors so as to prevent diseases or to detect and treat these at an early stage. In order to create a unique resource for epidemiological research, the Helmholtz Health Research has initiated the development of a major prospective national Cohort Study in Germany. The following Centres participated in the initiative alongside university partners: the German Cancer Research Centre, the Helmholtz Centre Munich, the Max Delbrück Center Berlin-Buch as well as the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research.

Translational Research
The Helmholtz Health Centres adopt a leading role in the field of translational research both nationally and internationally. With the development of local translation centres in cooperation with university hospitals, infrastructure platforms have been created, which will decidedly accelerate the transfer of relevant findings from basic research into clinical applications. The formation of strategic alliances with partners from the pharmaceutical industry, biotechnology and medical technology also considerably reinforces the expertise in this field. The long-term collaboration of Helmholtz Health Centres with partners from university medicine and other research institutions will experience a new dimension with the impending establishment of German Centres of Health Research.

Personalized Medicine
The Helmholtz Cross-Program Initiative Personalized Medicine iMed will provide a common platform for high-throughput and information technologies, thereby strengthening the individual medical research disciplines in each center. Joint activities in cancer, metabolic and cardiovascular diseases, infectious and diseases of the nervous system will focus on:

- molecular diagnostics, risk stratification and primary prevention
- individualized therapy
- secondary prevention and outcomes

Large population studies will provide insights into genetic and environmental risk factors for these widespread diseases. By combining the complementary research strengths and technological prowess of participating Helmholtz centers and local partners from university medicine, iMed will generate considerable added value for each research program. iMed will allow the development of risk-adjusted programs for prevention and early diagnosis, thereby enabling targeted interventions even prior to the manifestation of clinical disease.

Insights into Research Field Health

Here, we present projects currently being carried out by scientists at the Helmholtz Centres.


New neurons for old brains

GewebeIt is a long-established fact that physical and mental activity can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.

weiterlesen "New neurons for old brains"


Improving care for dementia patients

DemenzA large number of people with dementia are currently cared for at home, mostly by relatives who are supported by community services and their general practitioners.

weiterlesen "Improving care for dementia patients"


Early screening for colorectal cancer

GewebeschnittColorectal (colon) cancer develops slowly. Precancerous stages often take several years to develop into a dangerous cancer. These stages are easy to detect with a colonoscopy and can be removed during the examination. As a result, colorectal cancer can be prevented far more effectively through targeted screening than other types of cancer.

weiterlesen "Early screening for colorectal cancer"


New cell culture models to replace animal experiments

LaborAnimal studies are often prescribed for the development of drugs and methods of diagnosis and treatment.

weiterlesen "New cell culture models to replace animal experiments"


Prevention of cardiovascular disease

UltraschallCardiovascular disease is the number one killer in industrial and emerging countries.

weiterlesen "Prevention of cardiovascular disease"

Contact

Prof. Dr. Günther Wess

Research field coordinator Health

Helmholtz Zentrum München - German Research Center for Environmental Health

Ingolstädter Landstraße 1
85764 Neuherberg

Phone: +49 89 3187-4409
inaumann (at) helmholtz-muenchen.de
http://www.helmholtz-muenchen....


Dr. Phillip Hahn

Research Field Health

Helmholtz Association

Phone: +49 30 206329-15
phillip.hahn (at) helmholtz.de


30.10.2014