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Gutenberg Health Study is supported by Boehringer Ingelheim for another four years

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The company Boehringer Ingelheim is continuing its support for the Gutenberg Health Study (GHS) with a sum of three million Euros by the end of 2017. Thereby, the GHS which started in 2007 is backed up until the end of that year. The aim is to build a biobank based on the data obtained. The knowledge gained through this biobank will make a key contribution to sooner predict an individual's risk for the development of cardiovascular disease, cancer, eye diseases, metabolic diseases, disorders of the immune system and the psyche and thus improve diagnosis and therapy.

The interdisciplinary, population-representative GHS is worldwide one of the biggest of its kind and plays a major role in the DZHK’s research projects. It aims at the analysis of complex medical-biological contexts. The study gathers population-based data associated with a collection of biological samples: DNA, RNA, erythrocytes (red blood cells), serum and plasma, urine, lachrymal fluid as well as tooth pocket swab which are entered in a comprehensive biobank. This biobank allows conclusions to be drawn regarding the influence of genetic and molecular factors that can cause just as well as environmental factors, lifestyle or previous conditions the presence of a disease. Studying these diverse influences on health is of great importance since the so called widespread diseases (these also include cardiovascular diseases) often show multi-causal factors.

In this context, Prof. Dr. Thomas Münzel points out that “the GHS is an important basis for a successful application for further large-scale projects by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) just like it was for the Centrum für Thrombose und Hämostase and the DZHK. With its degree of detail in the characterization of single individuals and its sample size the GHS is unique in Germany and Europe. It allows a holistic view of diseases involving different expositions that are relevant to the respective disease. Furthermore, it is a central component of the research focus translational vascular biology.”

GHS coordinator Prof. Dr. Philipp Wild comments: “The high standardization level of the tests and the data collection is of great importance for a high reliability of the scientific results. Especially in combination with clinical data from diseased people, the population-representative GHS constitutes an important control group. For many scientists from most diverse disciplines the GHS is an important resource for the implementation of their research and will continue to be a pillar of successful clinical research at the University Medical Center Mainz in the future.”

The Medical as well as the Scientific Board underline the GHS’ importance for the University Medical Center Mainz:
“The Gutenberg Health Study as a lighthouse project is very efficient: it is highly patient-oriented and due to its size delivers research results without compare. The findings from the GHS pave the way for entirely new therapeutic concepts and treatment options”, says chairman and Medical Board Prof. Dr. Norbert Pfeiffer.

“I am delighted that the Gutenberg Health Study will go on. In times of empty coffers in public budgets and therefore our own demand for budget cuts, excellent research like the GHS can only be maintained through strong commitments. I would like to thank Boehringer Ingelheim and particularly the study’s  staff. The GHS helps us to successfully meet our research obligations as a university medical center", states Scientific Board Prof. Dr. Ulrich Förstermann.

Between 2007 and 2012 over 15.000 people between 35 and 75 years of age from a representative population sample were enrolled in the study and examined during the study period. After 2.5 and 5 years the follow-up studies began in which in the years to come until 2017 the development of the participant’s medical condition as well as the course of occurred diseases will be recorded. “Therefore it is utterly important that the GHS will be continued, because we want to find out if and possibly why a participant’s medical condition has deteriorated. The next phase of the study will provide us with crucial insights”, says Prof. Dr. Philipp Wild.

Boehringer Ingelheim as the GHS’ biggest industrial sponsor ultimately contributes to gaining these insights: “We are generally happy as a company but in particular as scientists to be able to support an interdisciplinary study such as the GHS. Without a doubt, deriving from the results of the GHS we can expect some groundbreaking changes in the field of cardiovascular medicine”, says Prof. Dr. Klaus Dugi who is responsible for the medicine division at Boehringer Ingelheim.  

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Philipp Wild, MSc, Studienkoordinator GHS,
phone.: 06131 17 7163, Email: philipp.wild@unimedizin-mainz.de,