Groundbreaking for new Center for MS and Neurosciences building
United against multiple sclerosis
Over 250,000 people suffer from multiple sclerosis (MS) in Germany alone. MS is a nervous system disease which still cannot be cured. Every year approximately 15,000 new cases of MS are diagnosed. Consequently, there is an urgent need for intensive research and new therapeutic approaches.
At the groundbreaking ceremony Bavarian Minister of Science and the Arts Markus Blume stated: "A shovel-full of earth for a humanitarian act! Multiple sclerosis is the illness with a thousand faces. The new Center for Multiple Sclerosis and Neurosciences at the TUM Klinikum rechts der Isar will do everything possible to increase our understanding of MS and to find even better therapeutic approaches. Here we see high-end care uniting with cutting-edge research. My sincere gratitude goes out to the Klaus Tschira Foundation for their tremendous commitment!"
"The new building for the Center for Multiple Sclerosis and Neurosciences at the university hospital TUM Klinikum rechts der Isar is another important milestone in the research and development of new treatment strategies for patients with this disease," says Dr. Martin Siess, Medical Director and Chairman of the Board at Klinikum rechts der Isar. He adds that the innovative research concept, the spatial proximity of specialized researchers and clinicians on he campus of the Klinikum and the new building's location close to the planned Zentrum für Digitale Medizin und Gesundheit (ZDMG or Center for Digital Medicine and Health) will be especially promote interdisciplinary exchange and patient-oriented research.
Prof. Stephanie E. Combs, Dean of the TUM School of Medicine, says: "We are proud of the establishment of the Center for Multiple Sclerosis and Neurosciences. On the one hand it reflects the internationally visible clinical and scientific performance in this field. On the other hand it strengthens the translation of scientific developments into clinical treatments. Together with TranslaTUM in oncological research, the Center is an exemplary confirmation of the innovative and forward-looking translational orientation of medical research at TUM."
"The Center for Multiple Sclerosis and Neurosciences will make the latest diagnostic and therapeutic possibilities available to patients and will move research ahead in this field," says Prof. Bernhard Hemmer, Director of the Clinic and Polyclinic for Neurology at the university hospital TUM Klinikum rechts der Isar. "We will consolidate TUM's neuroscientific research in the new building so that we can develop new strategies for treating MS and other neurodegenerative diseases and then put them into application for patients." The close intermeshing of clinical treatment structures, outpatient research centers, clinical and fundamental research will create a Center for Multiple Sclerosis and Neurosciences which is unique in Europe, Professor Hemmer adds.
Lilian Knobel, Klaus Tschira Foundation general manager, observes: "Successful science thrives on communication – and it also needs outstanding buildings and infrastructure in order to flourish." She goes on to say that both of these aspects are realized in the new MS Center; the direct interaction between patients and researchers promises the best synergies between applied and fundamental research. "The building will establish the best conditions possible for the scientists. The Klaus Tschira Foundation is pleased to contribute to this milestone in MS research."
In the future, the planned Center will treat over 2,000 MS patients each year who are under the care of the TUM university hospital, a number which is quickly rising. Nadja Birkenbach-von Kuzenko, who is afflicted with the disease, knows how essential MS research is. She was diagnosed seven years ago and is the initiator of the mentor program for patients with multiple sclerosis. "To me, the open and patient-friendly design of the building symbolically expresses the de-stigmatization of the illness," she says. "As an active participant in studies during the past years I've learned how important research results and studies are. They play an enormous role in understanding MS as a disease as well as in improving therapies and thus raising our quality of life." She goes on to say that this all contributes to helping the majority of MS patients lead a normal life, free of serious limitations.
The Bavarian state government is contributing 12 million euros towards the 54 million euro overall cost of the new building; the TUM School of Medicine and TUM itself are adding 8 million euros each. The Center, planned for completion in 2025, will create a particularly interdisciplinary research infrastructure which is also of great significance to the TUM Excellence Strategy. "We are creating something very unique with this new building. We're consolidating our expertise from fundamental research, the development of new diagnostic methods, innovative therapeutic approaches and even acute clinical treatment of patients suffering from multiple sclerosis at a single location," says TUM President Prof. Thomas Hofmann. "I sincerely thank the Klaus Tschira Foundation and the Bavarian state government for their generous support. They are giving new hope to the victims of MS and to their families."
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is one of the most frequently occurring inflammatory diseases of the central nervous system. For reasons which are as yet still unknown, the body's own immune system attacks the outer protective sheaths of the nerve tracts. The loss of these protective sheaths damages nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord and interferes with the transmission of neural signals. This results in symptoms ranging from numbness and disturbances in vision, coordination and concentration all the way to paralysis. Every year more than 2000 patients with multiple sclerosis are treated at the university hospital TUM Klinikum rechts der Isar. Scientists at the new Center for Multiple Sclerosis and Neurosciences will study the role of the immune system in greater detail and will look for the reasons that lead to the damage of these protective sheaths and of the nerve cells themselves. Their findings will open the door to new therapeutic approaches.