The state has promised the NMI and its project partners approximately 4 million euros. In Reutlingen, three new research projects will be launched as part of the Baden-Württemberg Healthcare Location Forum.
The NMI (Natural and Medical Sciences Institute at the University of Tübingen) in Reutlingen will use the funds to intensify research in the field of personalised diagnostics and therapy and establish digital processes for the traceability of tissue samples. In principle, the aim is to identify diseases at an early stage and find the most suitable treatment for individual patients.
Predicting diseases, making therapy decisions at an early stage: According to the Reutlingen-based research institute, the NMI is leading a group of university and non-university institutions, small and medium-sized companies and partners from industry in this task. The focus is on diseases with inflammatory and immune-associated components. As a consequence, these diseases also affect the development of multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease or cancer. Accordingly, the NMI is developing novel detection reagents to visualise the activation of immune cells in patients using imaging techniques. In parallel, highly sensitive detection methods, so-called immunoassays, are being further developed for the improved diagnosis of inflammatory diseases. In order to test drugs and predict their effect in patients, novel cell and tissue models are also being developed and used, which are structured like small parts of the brain. The required cell material is obtained from skin cells of diseased patients and converted into brain cells by genetic reprogramming. These patient-derived cell models are available for the analysis of inflammatory processes as well as for the testing of new drugs. The NMI sees further concrete applications of personalised diagnostics in transplantation medicine and infectiology.
Another NMI project aims to increase patient safety by making it easier to track tissue samples. In order to prevent mix-ups or even the loss of samples, the project focuses on RFID technology, which enables the optimal logistics of samples and reliable, rapid access to analysis data between the operating theatre, laboratory and treating physicians, thereby increasing patient safety. The project is led by Prof. Dr. Sara Y. Brucker and Prof. Dr. Diethelm Wallwiener at the Research Institute for Women's Health and the University Women's Hospital at the University of Tübingen.
The NMI Reutlingen also supports the University of Tübingen in establishing cooperations between medical research and industry with the aim of validating therapeutic concepts. In particular, the NMI supports spin-offs from university research groups. The establishment of a Baden-Württemberg "Centre for Academic Drug Discovery" (BWCAD2) enables new therapeutic concepts to be implemented more efficiently and more quickly.
As a non-university research institution, the NMI carries out application-oriented research at the interface of the biological and material sciences. It has an interdisciplinary range of competences for R&D and services for regional and international companies. The institute addresses both the health care sector and industrial sectors with material and quality-oriented issues such as vehicle, machine and tool construction.