Berlin Future Fund grants €16m to medical engineering projects

6 December 2007

The board of trustees of the Technologiestiftung Berlin (TSB) has approved a project to develop a new marker for use in diagnosing strokes, the eighth medical engineering project supported by the Berlin Future Fund. The project will receive a subsidy of €2.2 million.

That means that about €16 million of the Future Fund's total budget of €47.7 million will go towards significant innovative medical engineering projects.

The aim of the project is to develop tools to detect processes that occur after a stroke, such as cell death, inflammation, angiogenesis, and blood-brain barrier disorders.

The research will be carried out on small animals using the new high-resolution single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) device. The SPECT can accurately pinpoint diagnostic marker substances within the body. By combining the SPECT with other procedures already employed on animals at the Charité teaching hospital in Berlin, the Charité has become one of Germany's leading preclinical research establishments in the field of molecular imaging.

The diagnostic procedures using substances developed as part of the project as well as new imaging-related services have a significant economic potential. The project is being carried out jointly by the Charité and two Berlin-based companies.

The Future Fund is the State of Berlin's central innovation promotion tool, and is used to sponsor work conducted in Berlin in the fields of biotechnology, medical engineering, information and communication technology (ICT), optics, and transport systems technology as well as areas of activity that have already been developed and offer particularly good prospects in Berlin.

In the medical engineering sector these are imaging processes and devices for use in diagnosing and treating oncological and cardiovascular diseases, and telemedicine.

Most of the other Future Fund medical engineering projects also fall into one or more of the above categories.

With 200 medical engineering companies and a combined annual turnover of more than €1 billion, Berlin is one of the most important medical engineering locations in Germany, and one that is growing by an average 8% a year. The entire local health industry cluster provides jobs for more than 180,000 people in Berlin and generates turnover of more than €17 billion a year.

Further information on the Berlin Future Fund, which is co-financed by the European Fund for Regional Development (EFRD), can be found at www.zukunftsfonds-berlin.de 

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