Infections and their sequelae continue to account for one in five deaths worldwide. In this context, emerging and recurrent pathogens, chronic infections, as well as increasing resistance to approved drugs, continue to pose new challenges to physicians. The CiiM team is working towards the vision of treating infectious patients in an adapted and optimized way according to the specific needs and requirements of each individual. To achieve this, CiiM is dedicated to researching individual characteristics and their impact on susceptibility to infection or treatment success with available therapies. In doing so, CiiM creates a new interdisciplinarity by combining different work areas, which enables the necessary systematic workflow and promises innovation.
A modular and iterative workflow
From clinical routine, pressing questions will be addressed and translated into research. In doing so, CiiM's workflow will cover the following aspects and link them in a modular and iterative way, depending on the question.
For this purpose, CiiM physicians employed by the clinic request consent to participate from their patients with infections if eligible for specific CiiM studies.
CiiM physicians care for patients with infectious diseases in the clinic and request their consent to participate in specific CiiM studies, if eligible.
Existing data on routine diagnostics, clinical course, treatment decisions, and also outcome are collected and processed for research.
Depending on the study, certain biosamples are processed at CiiM for molecular diagnostics and the patients and the causative pathogens are characterised, while in parallel the (further) development of diagnostic methods is followed.
CiiM data specialists link these new, molecular diagnostics with existing clinical data and create correlations using bioinformatics methods.
In a next step, mathematical methods and simulations are used to create computer models that, for example, provide clues to biomarkers or show correlations that allow classification, known as stratification, of affected individuals in terms of their risk profile or recommended treatment.
Experimental validation of these computational hypotheses is performed on model systems, with CiiM scientists also exploring the underlying mechanisms in collaboration with HZI, MHH and TWINCORE.
After successful experimental confirmation of, for example, a newly discovered biomarker, the CiiM team rapidly translates the findings into new criteria for patient stratification and adapted treatment recommendations.
In collaboration with the clinics involved, the CiiM team validates the findings obtained in the previous steps in clinical trials. In the process, the CiiM team will also explore new treatment options for specific patient groups in close collaboration with the clinic.
The publication of study results by the CiiM team ensures that treatment recommendations and guidelines are adapted. At the MHH, CiiM physicians implement these in a targeted manner through the Center for Infectious Diseases, which is certified by the German Society for Infectious Diseases (DGI), in case discussions.