The German Center for Lung Research (DZL)

The German Center for Lung Research is an association of leading university and non-university institutions from all over Germany that are dedicated to lung research in an outstanding way. The aim of this virtual alliance is to accelerate the development of novel disease-specific diagnostics and individualized therapies for a variety of serious lung diseases with an often fatal outcome. At the Fraunhofer ITEM, which plays a key role at the Hannover site together with the Hannover Medical School and the Leibniz University, the focus of research is on asthma and allergies and on chronic bronchitis (COPD).

Lung conditions are among the most frequent causes of death worldwide, and more effective therapies have to be developed as quickly as possible. The pooling of expertise in the DZL, the joint use of resources, and the scope of research from bench to bedside – from basic research via pre-clinical investigations to clinical practice – offers unique opportunities. An important aim of this Germany-wide alliance is to initiate strategic alliances with biotech, pharmaceutical and medical device companies in Europe.

Research within the DZL will be focused on eight indications: asthma and allergic diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis, acute lung damage and inflammation of the lung (pneumonia), interstitial lung diseases/lung fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension, end-stage lung diseases, and lung cancer.

The Fraunhofer ITEM (BREATH) is playing a major role in particular in the research on asthma and allergies and on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In these areas, the institute is contributing many years of experience in research and clinical studies. The approach is cross-disciplinary and application-oriented. With regard to asthma, for example, the aim is to identify factors playing a key role in the pathological processes on the cellular and molecular levels and correlate these with different types of asthma. In addition, targets and biomarkers will be evaluated in different models. Furthermore, the course of disease will be monitored in asthma patients over a prolonged period of time, selected types of bronchial asthma will be characterized using state-of-the-art methods of molecular biology, and based on these findings novel targets and biomarkers will be developed. In COPD research, exhaled air analyses and imaging technology will be used to develop novel biomarkers that can help predict the course of disease and allow the airway inflammation to be visualized, thus contributing to a more differentiated diagnosis. In addition, new anti-inflammatory drugs for COPD treatment will be developed. The final objective is the development and testing of disease-specific and individualized therapies.

  • Biomedical Research in Endstage Lung Disease (BREATH); Hannover
  • Airway Research Center North (ARCN); Borstel, Lübeck, Kiel, Großhansdorf
  • Universities of Giessen and Marburg Lung Center (UGMLC)
  • Translational Lung Research Center Heidelberg (TLRC-H); Heidelberg
  • Comprehensive Pneumology Center Munich (CPC-M); München