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"We have to do more to get research to patients faster."

15 May '19 | By Biophotonics.World
The prize winners together with Lady Dahrendorf, the Croatian Minister Mrs. Divjak, and the German Federal Minister for Education and Research Anja Karliczek.
By: Bernd Lammel, Bildkraftwerk

Director of Jena's Leibniz-IPHT starts dialogue with Minister of Education to accelerate transfer from laboratory to hospital bed

A research team from the Leibniz Institute for Photonic Technologies (Leibniz-IPHT) in Jena will be awarded the Ralf Dahrendorf Prize for the European Research Area on 14 May 2019 in Berlin by Federal Education Minister Anja Karliczek (CDU) for a light-based rapid procedure to help patients with life-threatening infections to receive the correct treatment. He is very pleased about the recognition, says Prof. Jürgen Popp, Scientific Director of Leibniz-IPHT. Because one is now faced with a challenge: to get the technological solution to the patient. Popp argues, however, that Germany and Europe lack suitable structures for this. "We need to optimise funding instruments so that researchers can bring their results to market more quickly in cooperation with industry". It is one of the Minister's most important concerns to speed up the transfer. "I am therefore confident that we will be able to start a fruitful dialogue on this topic".

"There are three things that count in the intensive care unit," emphasises Prof. Michael Bauer, intensive care physician from Jena: "Time, time, time". With the optical method for the rapid diagnosis of life-threatening infections, researched under the leadership of Leibniz-IPHT, "we are in the midst of a technological revolution," says the head of the Clinic for Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine at the University Hospital Jena. "This enables physicians to treat patients in a targeted manner, prevent the unnecessary use of antibiotics and avoid resistance.

With partners from Greece, Italy, Portugal, France and Denmark, Michael Bauer is part of the research team of the HemoSpec project, which Anja Karliczek awarded with the Ralf Dahrendorf Prize for the European Research Area. With this award, the Federal Minister of Education and Research honours outstanding projects in Germany that are funded by the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation and that communicate their results to the public in innovative formats. Prize money of up to 50,000 euros is available for these projects. 

"We are very pleased that politicians not only recognise our research, but also encourage and support us in bringing our results closer to the public," said Jürgen Popp. Among other things, Leibniz-IPHT will open a science shop in downtown Jena where visitors can experience science interactively. "We want to create an awareness of how research can be applied to patients," says Popp.

The people of Jena already have concepts on how things could go faster

Because a successfully completed project is at the same time the start of the next big challenge. "We have shown that it is possible to diagnose an infection quickly with our spectroscopy," says Popp. "We now want to turn the laboratory sample into a product. But in order to achieve this, structures must be optimised in both Germany and Europe so that diagnostic procedures can reach the market more quickly. An average of 14 years elapse between the scientific idea and its implementation in a medical device - the translation of theory into practice - in Germany. Structural difficulties mean that many good ideas and solutions fall by the wayside in this process.

In order for research results to reach the sick bed more quickly, new translation infrastructures are needed: "These must enable the structured modular transfer of the proof of concept into a new certified, validated, approved and multiply tested medical device," says Popp. This could best be achieved through public-private partnerships.

In order to accelerate the transfer to medical application, the Jena researchers have already developed concrete concepts for such a translation infrastructure. "We have many ideas on how technologists, basic and clinical researchers can collaborate with companies in order to quickly translate academic solutions into diagnostic devices and therapeutic approaches," says Jürgen Popp. "We are very happy to be the minister's contact person and would be happy to discuss our idea with her. "

Methods and Techniques: Other Methods and Techniques

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