Turning research into better health: More than 60 ideas for translational medicine

There can be no new therapies without research, and there can be no medicine of the future without new ideas: But how do we make the leap from lab to patient care? What steps are necessary to turn a successful experiment into a product that benefits patients? The answer is called “translational medicine,” and it is the focus of the fourth edition of the Future Medicine Science Match, which will be held at Kosmos in Berlin on November 7, 2019. Professor Christof von Kalle from the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) heads up the scientific program of the conference, which the BIH is co-organizing with the Tagesspiegel.

“Whether it’s a new medication, a better diagnostic test, or an innovative device, each is the product of a good idea that must be translated into a clinical application,” explains Christof von Kalle, BIH Chair for Clinical Translational Sciences at the Berlin Institute of Health. “And though this is often a lengthy and tedious process, it’s that much more gratifying when you get it right.”

From an STD app to living cancer drugs

The conference consists of some 60 short presentations, each lasting about three minutes, that give insights into the latest advances and developments in translational medicine. In the session “Smart Data and Translational Medicine,” a physician will present an app for diagnosing sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), called Intimarzt, that lets people anonymously send photos of a potential STD to a medical specialist for an assessment. “This is important because people who suspect they may have an STD often put off going to the doctor out of shame, and then drastic medical intervention might be required,” explains Dr. Titus Brinker from the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) in Heidelberg. His second app, called AppDoc, also saves users a trip to the doctor. It spares users from 70 percent of personal visits by allowing them to send photos of the affected skin area to medical specialists in Heidelberg, who then – as scientific studies have shown – make the right “remote” diagnosis 90 percent of the time.

In the session “Single Cells in Translational Research,” Dr. Henrike Maatz from the Max Delbrück Center in Berlin will talk about his ambitious project to analyze the human heart, cell by cell. “We hope to gain completely new insights into the workings of both healthy and diseased hearts,” explains the biologist. “This will enable us to make much more precise assessments and predictions of the effects and side effects of medications.” The session “Translational Cancer Research” deals with cancer research projects that are close to or have already reached clinical application. It looks at targeted diagnostics, such as the genetic analysis of cancer cells, a technique that opens the door to personalized cancer therapy by changing the microbiome in a way that affects how cancer develops or by creating new possibilities to overcome the resistance of cancer cells.

The keynote lecture will be given by the immunotherapy pioneer Michel Sadelain, from New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, whose work on CAR T-cell therapy has ushered in a new era of cancer medicine. He will report on successes achieved in treating cancer patients deemed incurable, on the challenges involved in navigating the approval process for a therapy tailored to each individual patient, and on the high price of such innovation. The title of his lecture is “The Makings of a Living Drug.”

Policies must support translational medicine

Professor Axel Radlach Pries, interim Chairman of the BIH Executive Board, strongly believes “there needs to be policies that support translational medicine.” He therefore invited national and European policymakers to discuss the value that translational medicine brings to European society and the role that public policies can play in promoting it.  

The conference will also feature welcoming remarks by Parliamentary State Secretaries Thomas Rachel (Federal Ministry of Education and Research) and Dr. Thomas Gebhart (Federal Ministry of Health).

Future Medicine 2019 is the fourth edition of the conference, which the BIH and the Tagesspiegel organize in collaboration with Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine. It is held annually on November 7 as part of the Berlin Science Week.

Media representatives are invited to attend the conference. Interviews can be arranged with the participating scientists.

Future Medicine Science Match 2019
Thursday, November 7, 2019
Opening of the conference: 9:00 a.m. (admission: 8:00 a.m.)
KOSMOS Berlin
Karl-Marx-Alle 131 A
10243 Berlin

Please apply for accreditation via:

Dr. Stefanie Seltmann
Head of Communication
Berlin Institute of Health (BIH)
s.seltmann@bihealth.de

The conference program can be found here.