DZIF´s associated partners

University of Freiburg

Current problems with tuberculosis diagnostics are being researched in a project with the University of Freiburg. One aspect of the project is establishing a novel diagnostic testing system (TB-Disk) for detecting resistance in clinical isolates. In Freiburg, a so-called Lab-on-a-Disk-System is being developed and will be validated at the African partner institutions.

Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin

Die Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin is partner in a study on the intelligent use of antibiotics (ATHOS: antibiotic therapy optimisation study). It investigates whether interventions for targeted antibiotic use in hospitals (antibiotic stewardship, see University Medical Center Freiburg) and in practices (Charité) influence the number of new cases of infection with certain antibiotic-resistant bacteria. A method which was developed in the new module "ATHOS-MRE-Surveillance" at the Charité is being used to monitor the multidrug-resistant organisms. In 2015, the distribution of patient information material to practice-based doctors in Berlin was completed. Additionally, data from all participating centres collected in Berlin were analysed.

German Liver Foundation/HepNet Study House, Hannover

The HepNet Study House networks trial centres for hepatitis research, and provides a platform for conducting clinical trials. The DZIF can use the infrastructures and cohorts for its projects. Current research activities focus on hepatitis B, C, D and E. Together with the German Liver Foundation, a global registry of patient with chronic hepatitis D was established (www.hepatitis-delta.org) which is to be updated continuously. Over 800 patients were registered by the end of 2015.

Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Riems (DZIF member since June 2015)

The Friedrich-Löffler-Institut (FLI) is partner in a collaborative project aimed at the early detection of pathogens, particularly those transmitted by animals. The FLI provides the necessary blood and tissue samples, as well as nucleic acid preparations, from both domestic and wild animals. Especially the unique European laboratory and animal testing facilities, with biosafety levels 2 to 4, make the FLI an important partner for the DZIF.

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Universität Hannover

DZIF scientists recently discovered a completely new substance class called cystobactamides, which is effective against difficult-to-treat gram-negative bacteria. A project at the HZI is to develop these cystobactamides further, so that they can undergo testing as potential antibiotics in preclinical trials. Scientists at the Leibniz Universität Hannover succeeded in conducting the first total synthesis of cystobactamide C, which paves the way to the synthesis of further cystobactamide variations.

Goethe University Frankfurt am Main

A project focusing on hepatitis, in which clinical cohorts are being established, is currently ongoing at the Goethe University Frankfurt am Main. Blood samples taken from patients with chronic hepatitis C are taken before therapy or after therapy failure are available to all collaborating partners. The clinical data, along with viral and host gene analysis and phenotypic results, are being analysed and recorded in an online-based tool. This tool aims at improving the evaluations of courses of disease and treatment responses, and to tailor individual treatment (see MPI for Informatics). In a second project with the University Hospital Frankfurt, multidrug-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, which spread very easily and constitute an increasing problem in hospitals, are being investigated more closely. Up to now, it is not known why certain strains of bacteria are much more successful than others.

Hans Knöll Institute, Jena

The Hans Knöll Institute (HKI) is a leading institute for natural compound research. As an associated partner, it provides the DZIF with natural compounds, particularly fungi. A project is investigating the pharmacodynamics of corallopyronin A, a natural product that has already been successfully tested against the filariasis pathogen and is undergoing preclinical evaluations. The HKI is largely responsible for its biosynthesis. In a further joint project, the DZIF will advance the development of a new, promising agent against tuberculosis from the HKI, which has already undergone preclinical testing.

Max Planck Institute for Informatics, Saarbrücken

At the Max Planck Institute for Informatics in Saarbrücken, data on hepatitis C patients who are undergoing treatment with new antiviral agents is being collected as part of a DZIF project. Sequencing, analysis and interpretation of patient and viral genes, along with other parameters, will be used to evaluate the course of treatment. In Saarbrücken, the analysis results are being used to further develop an online-based tool, the so-called Geno2pheno[HCV]. The analysis results are freely accessible online, and can be used to support decisions for personalised treatment.

Robert Koch Institute, Berlin (DZIF member since June 2015)

The DZIF and the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) collaborate in many areas. A few examples: In the research field “Emerging Infections”, the RKI supports strategic partnerships between research establishments, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies. In clinical trials, clinical guidelines are being developed jointly. The DZIF has access to the RKI’s new databank “HIOBs” for its HIV research; the software was optimised and, after it proved to be successful in Cologne and Hamburg, it is now being implemented at the partner sites.

RWTH Aachen University

The RWTH Aachen University Medical Center is partner and trial centre for a “Healthcare-associated and Antibiotic-resistant bacterial Infections” research field project. In two multicentre studies, the clinical effectiveness for measures against multidrug-resistant Enterobacteraiceae is being tested on cancer patients. While the first study is investigating the impact of antibiotics on colonisation, the second study will observe whether isolating the affected patients can stop the spread of the pathogen.

University Medical Center Freiburg

In a project with the University Medical Center Freiburg investigating infections of the immunocompromised host, scientists are looking to find genetic factors associated with increased susceptibility to infection, particularly fungal infections. They intend to find biomarkers that permit better infection control.

A second DZIF project is investigating the more targeted use of antibiotics (see also Charité). The University Medical Center Freiburg is participating in the ATHOS study for which it is recording the colonisation of patients with certain multidrug-resistant bacteria. They are also investigating Clostridium difficile associated diarrhoea.

University of Münster

The University of Münster is partner in a project aimed at developing new treatment strategies against gastrointestinal infections. In many cases, the commonly used antibiotics harm the normal gut flora and can lead to complications. In Münster, the scientists are working on preventing the complications associated with EHEC. They have obtained economical pectin derivatives which could inhibit bacterial toxins.

A second project is working on hospital pathogens, specifically with multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in the nasal region. Here, new lytic phage proteins for targeted treatment are being investigated. Their efficiency and specificity will be analysed in Münster.