The future lies in translational research

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In her annual New Year‘s speech German chancellor Angela Merkel emphasises the importance of education and research to our country. As an example for excellent research achievements she cites heart valve replacements that grow adaptively and are therefore of particular value to young individuals with congenital heart defects. For patients these valves are a small medical miracle; from the point of view of research, they are a good example for successful translational research.

Translational projects, which build a bridge between basic research and clinical application, pose a particular challenge in practice. The Competence Network for Congenital Heart Defects has laid the foundation for this kind of research in the past years by implementing sustainable data collections such as the National Register and its biobank. According to the recommendations of the international board of reviewers who evaluated the Competence Network in December 2012, the future of the research network now lies in translational research. Currently and until 2015, integration into the German Centre for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK) is being prepared. For the future, close scientific collaboration is foreseen under the umbrella of the DZHK.

“We highly appreciate the upcoming cooperation with the DZHK. It will create new synergies that benefit both sides tremendously,” network speaker Prof. Dr. Hashim Abdul-Khaliq is sure. More than ever, this will require scientists from basic research and from clinical practice to closely collaborate in multidisciplinary research teams. “We intend to lay the foundations for this kind of collaboration now,” Dr. Ulrike Bauer, managing director of the Competence Network, explains. Already today, the Competence Network is involved in those programme groups of the DZHK that deal with the implementation of infrastructures and uniform standards for networked medical research.