DGP Research Award 2022 for Tuberculosis Project of DZL and DZIF
This year’s Clinical Research Award of the German Society of Pneumology and Respiratory Medicine (DGP) goes to Maja Reimann, Dr. Sebastian Marwitz and Prof. Jan Heyckendorf. At the Research Center Borstel, they developed a methodology that allows better control of therapy against tuberculosis. Heyckendorf and Reimann work at the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF). Marwitz is a scientist and principal investigator at the German Center for Lung Research (DZL) at the ARCN site.
So far, WHO guidelines specify relatively rigid treatment durations for standard tuberculosis therapy. Maja Reimann, Sebastian Marwitz and Jan Heyckendorf from the Research Center Borstel wondered whether it would be possible to better predict the effectiveness of a therapy. Could the duration of therapy be adjusted individually and factors such as the patient’s immune status, disease severity, virulence of the pathogen type and drug availability be taken into account?
In fact, in a study of blood samples, the researchers found a signature of 22 genes that predicted the course of therapy better than the standard model. “With patient-based RNA, ribonucleic acid from 22 genes, we were able to develop as well as validate a new algorithm. And this is able to indicate the end of therapy with high accuracy in retrospective analysis and to reflect a therapy response,” says Sebastian Marwitz. As part of the study, the researchers examined biomaterials and clinical data from more than 200 patients. They calculated that their algorithm could shorten therapy by many weeks. A prospective study is planned to validate the results.
The award winners emphasize that their research has also led to excellent cooperation between the DZIF and the DZL. They were already able to publish the results of their work in the European Respiratory Journal last year.
DGP for Basic Research for UGMLC scientist
The DGP Prize for Basic Research also goes to the DZL this year: Marija Gredic from Giessen (DZL site UGMLC) receives it for her research on COPD and Pulmonary Hypertension in a mouse model. She found that protection against chronically elevated blood pressure in the pulmonary circulation can be achieved by inactivating the nitric oxide synthase gene in macrophages.
Both prizes are endowed with 10,000 euros each. They were awarded during the opening ceremony of this year’s DGP Congress in Leipzig. Also last year, an ARCN scientist was awarded with the DGP Prize for Clinical Research: Prof. Thomas Bahmer.