Future cluster finalist curATime: Joint fight against cardiovascular diseases

Innovation through networking in the Rhine-Main-Palatinate region. The kick-off of the conception phase of the "Cluster for Atherothrombosis and Individualized Medicine - curATime" has now also marked the start of the integration of further network partners from science and industry in the Rhine-Main-Palatinate region. The purpose of curATime is to develop customized, innovative treatment methods, diagnostics and prevention concepts for cardiovascular diseases. The curATime cluster is one of the 15 finalists of the "Clusters4Future" initiative of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and an important component for the biotechnology location Rhineland-Palatinate. The core partners include the translational research institute TRON gGmbH, the University Medical Center Mainz and the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI).

The cluster curATime aims to develop novel, tailored treatment methods and prevention concepts for cardiovascular diseases by using modern artificial intelligence methods in biomarker research and combining them with immunological methods.

Cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attacks and strokes in particular, are the most common cause of death worldwide. Atherothrombosis underlies almost all cardiovascular diseases. This is a progressive disease in which blood clots (thrombi) form in the arterial vascular system. Inflammatory processes as well as the immune system of the affected individuals play a decisive role in the development and progression of atherothrombotic diseases.

The medical challenges and negative socioeconomic impact associated with these diseases are enormous. Accordingly, there is a great need for leap innovations that enable new therapeutic approaches and a significant improvement in prognosis.

“The curATime cluster builds on a targeted structure formation started 15 years ago as well as extensive investments in the field of life sciences at the Rhineland-Palatinate location. The planned close integration of excellent basic research with the use of these very research results in both a clinical and economic sense is a central element of the biotechnology project of the state government of Rhineland-Palatinate. Thus, the success of the future cluster is of great importance - for the state of Rhineland-Palatinate and also beyond the state border”, emphasizes Univ.-Prof. Dr. Georg Krausch, President of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and biotechnology coordinator of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate.

With TRON, the Center for Thrombosis and Hemostasis (CTH) and the Center for Cardiology at the University Medical Center Mainz as well as the DFKI, experts in the fields of immunological thrombosis research, epidemiology and systems medicine, clinical cardiology, biomarker research, immunotherapy and artificial intelligence have joined forces within the framework of curATime. With their complementary expertise and access to extensive data and biobanks from large cohort studies, such as the Gutenberg Health Study (GHS), the three core partners have excellent prerequisites for achieving the cluster goals. The initiators of curATime include Dr. Andrée Rothermel (TRON gGmbH), Univ.-Prof. Dr. Ugur Sahin (Mainz University Medical Center / TRON gGmbH), Univ.-Prof. Dr. Wolfram Ruf (Mainz University Medical Center), Univ.-Prof. Dr. Philipp Wild (Mainz University Medical Center) and Univ.-Prof. Dr. Prof. h.c. Andreas Dengel (DFKI / TU Kaiserslautern).

curATime strives for networking across society beyond science. For this reason, the cluster is looking for additional network partners who want to participate in the cluster initiative through research and development projects as well as innovation-related activities. “curATime lives an open innovation culture in which we want to collaborate across disciplines and industries to develop innovative concepts and bring them to application,” explains Dr. Andrée Rothermel, spokesperson of the curATime cluster and Scientific Director of TRON.

Research institutions, startups, small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as associations or clubs from the Rhine-Main-Palatinate region interested in participating in curATime can send an e-mail to . Large companies located in Germany are also invited. Partners who can contribute to the research and development activities or who are interested in the dissemination and commercialization of corresponding solutions are particularly sought after. Experts in the field of location marketing, promotion of young talent, early integration of future users and support for start-ups are also invited to apply.

At the end of the conception phase, a high-ranking panel of experts will decide on further funding for the purpose of realizing the projects of the curATime cluster, probably in mid-2022. Funding of up to 45 million euros is available for a maximum of three successive three-year implementation phases.

curATime is one of a total of 15 finalists nationwide in the “Clusters4Future” initiative of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The open-topic innovation competition is a funding measure of the BMBF to strengthen knowledge and technology transfer within the framework of the High-Tech Strategy 2025. With the regional approach of cluster funding, future clusters are to be created from scratch and the innovative potential of a region is to be exploited and further developed. The aim is to bring technological as well as social innovations into people's everyday lives more quickly. At the same time, the future clusters are to contribute to advancing Germany as a location for research and development both nationally and internationally.

About the University Medicine of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
The University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz is the only medical institution of supramaximal care in Rhineland-Palatinate and an internationally recognized center of science. It comprises more than 60 clinics, institutes and departments that cooperate across disciplines and provide inpatient and outpatient care to more than 300,000 people annually. Highly specialized patient care, research and teaching form an inseparable unit at Mainz University Medical Center. Around 3,300 medical and dental students and more than 600 specialists in a wide range of healthcare, commercial and technical professions are trained here. With around 8,600 employees, Mainz University Medical Center is also one of the largest employers in the region and an important driver of growth and innovation. Further information on the Internet at www.unimedizin-mainz.de.

About TRON - Translational Oncology at the University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz gGmbH
TRON gGmbH (Translational Oncology at the University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz gGmbH) is an internationally recognized institute for translational research based in Mainz, Germany, that develops novel diagnostics and agents for the immunotherapeutic treatment of cancer, infectious diseases and other severe diseases with high unmet medical needs. The focus is on the establishment of new platforms for personalized therapy concepts and the identification of meaningful biomarkers. Following the translational concept, innovative ideas from basic research are quickly and efficiently paved the way for clinical application within TRON gGmbH. In collaboration with academic institutions, biotechnology companies and the pharmaceutical industry, TRON is at the forefront of innovative drug development.

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German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence
Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz