Infections of the immunocompromised Host

In Kliniken können Erreger, die für Gesunde harmlos sind, zur lebensbedrohlichen Gefahr werden.© DZIF/scienceRELATIONS

As a consequence of our aging population and the growing prevalence of chronic diseases, infections in patients with immunodeficiencies are a serious issue in clinical practice. Furthermore, temporary or in many cases even long-term alterations of immune functions must be factored into the development of new therapies in modern medicine, e.g. organ transplantation or cancer treatment. In immunocompromised patients, microbes that are normally efficiently controlled by a healthy immune system can suddenly become life-threatening pathogens that are difficult to treat with currently available anti-infectives. Risk stratification to identify clinically relevant immunodeficiencies and associated pathogens is still highly limited.

However, since immune alteration is a major contributor to disease in immunocompromised patients, active and passive immunotherapies as well as immune modulation provide promising options for the development of novel and highly effective anti-infective therapies.

To address these challenges, the Thematic Translational Unit "Infections of the immunocompromised Host" is working in five research areas:

  • Establishment of a prospective and observational national transplantation cohort
  • Investigation of genetic susceptibility and identification of diagnostic biomarkers of infection control
  • Development of antiviral therapies in immunocompromised patients
  • Prevention of infection through active vaccination or controlled immune modulation in immunocompromised patients
  • Development of adoptive immunotherapies

Participating Focus Sites



Interview with Dirk Busch, TTU "Infections of the Immunocompromised Host" [in German]

Dirk Busch, Technische Universität München


Thomas Schulz, Medizinische Hochschule Hannover
Stefan Meuer, Universität & Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg

Project manager
Gesche Aurich