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Posted: December 16, 2009
New European Protein Research Centre PURE set up
(Nanowerk News) At the Ruhr University Bochum, the European Protein Research Institute PURE (Protein Research Unit Ruhr within Europe) is being set up with more than 37 million Euros state funding. PURE’s mission is to search for prognostic proteins – termed biomarkers – for various diseases including cancer, Parkinsons and Alzheimers. They are intended to aid the early diagnosis of diseases and contribute to testing the effectiveness of therapies.
“PURE combines fundamental research with concrete diagnosis and therapy approaches. With this institute, the University of Bochum again demonstrates its research strengths” says North Rhine-Westphalia’s Innovation Minister Andreas Pinkwart. RUB Rector Prof. Dr. Elmar Weiler emphasised the importance of PURE as a bridge to North Rhine-Westphalia’s Health Campus and its development into a University of Excellence.
Moleculare medicine under one roof
PURE (Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Klaus Gerwert) is headed by researchers from the Ruhr University Bochum and the University Duisburg-Essen: Prof. Dr. Thomas Brüning (Institute for Prevention and Occupational Medicine of the German Statutory Accident Insurance Scheme, institute of the RUB), Prof. Dr. Klaus Gerwert (Chair of Biophysics at the RUB, Fellow of the Max-Planck Society), Prof. Dr. Helmut E. Meyer (Medical Proteome Centre of the RUB) and Prof. Dr. Jens Wiltfang (Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the University Hospital in Essen). The Oncological Clinical Trials Centre (Prof. Dr. Wolff Schmiegel, Prof Dr. Dirk Strumberg and Prof. Dr. Andrea Tannapfel) secures the cooperation with the clinics on site within the Health Campus and is being set up under the umbrella of PURE. In addition, in close cooperation with the German Centre for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), Bonn, new biomarkers are to be identified for neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia in Alzheimer’s. PURE is open to further initiatives within molecular medicine and to start-ups.
A quick jab and the screening is done
A quick blood test, a urine sample, and all the important preventive check-ups are done – that’s the vision that’s driving the Bochum and Essen researchers. They are relying on criminological methods: just as every person has a unique finger print, every disease has a characteristic protein profile. Certain proteins, which also occur in healthy bodies, are massively overproduced or transformed by diseased cells. Once you know which ones they are, you can search for them directly, for example in blood or urine. If diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s are recognised at an early, still asymptomatic stage, they can be treated much more gently and successfully. Today, diseases are still recognised too late and then have to be treated very aggressively. To start with, research will focus on bladder cancer, liver cancer, Alzheimers and Parkinsons. In addition, PURE will continue development of cutting edge bioanalytical techniques.
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