Founded in late 2011, the German Center for Lung Research (Deutsches Zentrum für Lungenforschung, DZL) is one of six German Centers for Health Research (Deutsche Zentren der Gesundheitsforschung, DZG). The DZL is funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF) and the federal states in which the corresponding sites are located. Leading scientists and clinicians in the field of pulmonary research work together to develop new and innovative therapies for patients with lung disease.
In Germany, every four minutes a person dies from lung or airway diseases. The World Health Organization (WHO) lists four lung diseases among the top ten causes of death, with every fifth death being caused by a lung disease or its consequences. Currently available therapies provide symptomatic relief but no cure for most airway diseases. This makes it all the more important to develop new approaches and options for disease prevention, diagnosis, and therapy by researching into the causes and mechanisms underlying these conditions. Research must address these challenges in a scientific and structurally coordinated manner to bring together expertise and treat lung diseases more successfully in the future.
At the DZL, more than 240 principal investigators and their research groups currently work together to combat lung disease through translational research. Twenty-nine leading German research institutions at five different Sites cooperate in this work. Research is focused on eight Disease Areas. The entire “bench-to-bedside” translational research chain is applied in each of these disease areas. Basic scientific knowledge influences the design and the implementation of clinical trials and patient care, while clinical needs prompt scientific questions addressed by basic scientists at the DZL.
The close cooperation of scientists and physicians is essential to the success of the DZL, which is facilitated by regular meetings, symposia, and common infrastructures. Furthermore, many researchers conduct research in various Disease Areas, which makes it possible to associate the ideas and findings across research areas and rapidly transfer them into clinical applications.