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[ENG] Liver Research to be Funded with a Million Euros

Freiburg, 04.08.2009

The Division of Internal Medicine II at the Freiburg University Medical Center will receive financial support from the Interreg Program of the European Union for a project on liver disease research. The „Hepato-Regio-Net“ can count on approximately one million euros in funding in the next three years. The project is headed by Prof. Dr. Robert Thimme, executive senior physician, and coordinated by Dr. Richard Fischer, senior physician at the Division of Internal Medicine II of the Freiburg University Medical Center.

The goal of the „Hepato-Regio-Net“ project is to establish a close network between the medical centers of the three university towns Freiburg, Strasbourg, and Basel, all of which are specialized in the area of hepatology, i.e. liver research. In order to increase awareness for liver disease and improve therapy for patients in other areas of the Upper Rhine region, the project coordinators have also invited gastro-enterological practices in Karlsruhe, Baden-Baden, Landau, and Gaggenau to participate in the planned symposia and lecture series.

Liver diseases are a frequent cause of chronic illnesses and the fifth most common cause of death in Western industrialized nations. Persistent inflammation of the liver often leads to an inability to work and recurring stays at the hospital and thus to considerable economic and social consequences for the patient. Chronic liver inflammation is also the most common cause of hepatocellular carcinoma, one of the most deadly forms of cancer worldwide. Most chronic inflammations of the liver cannot be treated sufficiently. A liver transplantation is often the only way to enable the patient to overcome the illness.

The Division of Internal Medicine II of the Freiburg University Medical Center, headed by medical director Professor Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Hubert E. Blum, is an internationally renowned center for hepatitis virus infections. Several work groups at the department are currently researching virological and immunological aspects of hepatitis B and C virus infections. The excellent reputation of the department in the area of liver disease was recently confirmed by the establishment of the first Heisenberg chair for hepatology for Professor Dr. Robert Thimme as well as by the approval of a joint research group on viral hepatitis with the University of Heidelberg. The research on liver disease at the department will continue to be funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.



Prof. Dr. Robert Thimme
Internal Medicine II
Tel.: 0761/270- 3401
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