The road of a finding from laboratory research to medical innovation is often long. Only a small fraction of the newly discovered active substances makes it to the practical application on patients, with an average development period of about 15 years.

Translational research at the DZL aims to better understand the causes of lung diseases and transfer findings from laboratory research into clinical practice more rapidly (bench to bedside). At the DZL, excellent university and non-university institutions cooperate closely for the benefit of the patient to rapidly develop new approaches to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of lung diseases. Basic researchers, whose primary goal is the gain of scientific knowledge, and clinical researchers, whose objective is the safe, successful application of new medical findings, collaborate more intensively than ever before. The DZL member and partner institutions work together on equal terms in joint research projects. Interdisciplinary teams look at lung diseases from various perspectives and close the gaps in the translational research chain. Furthermore, this close cooperation allows the researchers to conduct large-scale clinical studies with high numbers of subjects and access large amounts of biomaterial and data for medical evaluation. In 2017, the German Council of Science and Humanities (Wissenschaftsrat) also recognized that networked translational research provides major benefits, stating that the German Center for Lung Research (DZL) should be further promoted without restrictions.

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