On July 1, 2012, the German Research Foundation (DFG) will set up a new Transregional Collaborative Research Center (CRC/Transregio) to be coordinated by the University Medical Center of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. The new CRC/Transregio will attract total funding of €13.3 million over an initial period of four years. The establishment of the Translational Neurosciences (FTN) research unit at Mainz University and the coordination of all neuroscience activities within the new Rhine-Main Neuroscience Network (rmn²), together with the collaboration of the Goethe University (GU) in Frankfurt am Main, put in place the groundwork for the successful implementation of the new Transregional Collaborative Research Center. Also participating will be the University of Münster, the Ludwig Maximilians University Munich, the Technical University of Munich, the Goethe University in Frankfurt as well as the Max Planck Institutes in Munich, Münster, and Bad Nauheim.
The central aims of the new CRC/Transregio 128, „Initiating/Effector versus Regulatory Mechanisms in Multiple Sclerosis – Progress towards tackling the disease,“ are to create a basis for the development of new treatments of multiple sclerosis (MS) and to better understand existing treatment concepts. In addition, the researchers also hope to discover how MS develops. Acting as coordinator for the joint project will be Professor Dr. Frauke Zipp, Director of the Department of Neurology at the Mainz University Medical Center.
In the western world, multiple sclerosis is the most common chronic inflammatory disorder of the central nervous system; in Germany alone, more than 120,000 people are affected. „There are many aspects about MS that we still don’t understand, such as the cause of this autoimmune disease. The key to more effective treatments lies in fundamental research and this is exactly where the new Transregional Collaborative Research Center 128, under the direction of the Mainz University Medical Center, will be taking an innovative and interdisciplinary approach,“ states the Chief Scientific Officer of Mainz University Medical Center, Professor Dr. Dr. Reinhard Urban. „The restructuring of our research units at the Medical Center is now bearing fruit,“ he adds.
„The huge potential of CRC/Transregio 128 results from the fact that we are also taking on board leading researchers from neighboring scientific disciplines. This human network will thus take new routes that go beyond traditional neuroimmunology,“ explains Professor Frauke Zipp. A further key aspect, according to the neurologist, is that experimental research and patient-oriented clinical research will be closely coordinated with each other.
Professor Dr. Frauke Zipp relocated from the Charité in Berlin to Mainz on December 1, 2009 and views the approval of this Collaborative Research Center as an important development on the way to making the Rhine-Main Neuroscience Network, together with its partners in Münster and Munich, an international hub of research into multiple sclerosis.