Regenerative medicine is a relatively young discipline that is dedicated to treating disease through strengthening the body's own self-healing and regenerative potential. The central question is how biologically active factors, cells, and biological materials can be used to stimulate and enhance the body's regenerative processes.
Charité-based research exploring the body's natural regenerative potential brings together experts from a wide range of medical specialties. Their aim is to develop treatments that can repair diseased or damaged tissues and, by restoring their function, improve and maintain the patient's quality of life. In addition, researchers use diagnostic markers to produce treatments that are tailored to the individual patient. These are known as personalized treatments.
Interdisciplinary research in action
As a central hub, the Berlin-Brandenburg Center for Regenerative Therapies (BCRT) brings to-gether the expertise of all the staff involved in this pioneering field of research at Charité – Univer-sitätsmedizin Berlin. An internationally-renowned translational research center, BCRT is the result of an alliance between Charité and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, which specializes in the devel-opment of biological materials.
BCRT boasts a team of over 250 staff who complement each other in terms of skills and expertise, and include medical specialists in addition to specialists from engi-neering and the natural sciences. The center combines basic research, clinical research areas, and technology platforms in an innovative research structure that sets new standards for both the field of regenerative therapies and related research areas.
Translational research center with an innovative approach
The translational center's research focus is on disorders affecting the immune, musculoskeletal, and cardiovascular systems, for which current treatment options remain wholly inadequate. At the BCRT, clinicians and researchers work together to develop innovative approaches, treatments, and products that can be used to manipulate the body's own regenerative processes. Their work is based around the use of immune cells, adult stem cells, biological materials, and bioactive factors, either on their own or in combination. The aim of the BCRT is to develop treatment methods that will meet the needs of the individual patient. In this manner, Charité is promoting a distinctly pa-tient-oriented approach to treatment, which takes into account the regenerative potential of the individual patient.
In addition to its three main research areas, which deal with disorders of the immune, musculo-skeletal, and cardiovascular systems, BCRT also has a number of interdisciplinary technology plat-forms. The guiding principle behind the work of its more than 30 different research groups and are-as is interdisciplinary cooperation. This approach ensures the efficient translation of research find-ings into diagnostic methods, as well as medical treatments and products. The center has dedicat-ed staff with a remit for identifying high-potential research ideas. These staff are also responsible for providing intensive project and quality management support throughout every stage of the pro-ject.
The BCRT's close partnership with other institutions from the fields of health care, life sciences, and health economics has been a particularly important factor in the center's success, and sees it work closely with statutory health insurance providers, monitoring and regulatory authorities, as well as companies from the biotechnology, medical technology, and pharmaceutical sectors. In-volvement in regional, national, and international networks ensures that the center's researchers are in constant exchange with other research organizations from the field of regenerative thera-pies. Work in the field of new technologies, and therapy platforms such as stem cell therapy, comes with its own set of social responsibilities, which Charité is keen to meet. As part of this commitment, Charité ensures that its experts contribute to the public debate on the risks and po-tential benefits of new treatment methods.