The human immune system ...
...is responsible for holding off viruses and fighting cancer cells. It is the most complex system within the human body (along with the nervous system).
Surviving due to immune medicine
Interventions in the immune system can protect from diseases (e.g. vaccination), ease terminal illnesses (e.g. rheumatism) or increase efficiency in therapies (e.g. transplantations or chemo therapy). For example, cure rates for lymph gland cancer have improved drastically through antibody therapies and survival rates after organic transplant have increased.
Future in medicine: Interventional Immunology
Medical research shows: the human immune system is involved in far more diseases than ever known. Thus it has to be taken into consideration in far more therapies. One of the biggest challenges in modern medicine is to effectively intervene with the immune system without causing too many side effects. Which intervention is needed specifically, depends on:
- a need to reduce the immune system´s activity (if the system overreacts, e.g. rheumatism, diabetes, allergies)
- a need to stimulate the immune system
- a need to suppress the immune system after transplantations in order to prevent it form rejecting transplanted organs or stem cells.
The RCI researches and develops new immune cell therapies for the treatment of diseases with deregulated immune function, such as cancer, autoimmune diseases, and chronic inflammations, as well as for the prevention and therapy of transplantation complications. The goal of the RCI is to significantly improve medical care for the population by developing modern cell therapeutics for these widespread diseases associated with aging, combined with the ambition to set international standards for cell therapy for a wide variety of diseases.
To achieve this goal, the complementary expertise of all scientists was strategically interlinked in three program areas. The research departments, working groups, technology and service platforms as well as the infrastructure are consistently oriented towards joint translational development processes.
Support of young scientists
One of the RCI’s key objectives is the optimal training of young scientists in all career phases and the support of individual development perspectives. As an independent institute, the RCI offers special opportunities for this purpose: Students of relevant subjects can do their bachelor's and master's theses at the RCI and are integrated into the scientific life of the institute from the very beginning. Doctoral students go through a structured graduate program with a broad qualification program. To support the development of an independent research profile, the RCI implemented a junior research group program, which allows young scientists to qualify for a further academic career or a management position in the industry. These measures are described in detail in the employee concept (Mitarbeiterkonzept).
Equal opportunities and work-life balance
The RCI regards the realization of equal opportunities for men and women and a work-life balance as a priority management task for the institute's management and a cross-sectional task for all areas of the RCI. The institute is subject to the Bavarian Equal Opportunity Act and observes the Implementation Agreements on Equal Opportunity (AV-Glei) in joint research funding. In addition, the RCI implements the research-oriented equality standards of the German Research Foundation as a voluntary commitment.
The RCI has appointed an equal opportunities representative and her deputy. They advise and support the institute's management in the implementation of the equal opportunities goals and are available to employees to advise on equal opportunities and compatibility issues.
The RCI has received the TOTAL E-QUALITY award for its exemplary human resources policy, oriented to establish and sustainably ensure equal opportunities. In addition, the RCI is a member of the Dual Career Netzwerk Nordbayern (DCNN) to support dual-career couples in the best possible way to continue their careers.
The RCI merges all research areas related to developing and applying new therapies with the goal of creating new diagnostic methods, technologies and drugs:
- Scientists are working on the challenging task of how to suppress the human immune system after organic or stem cell transplantations and yet allowing it to fight viruses and cancer cells.
- Scientific research groups are analyzing how rheumatism and inflammatory bowel disease can be treated through selective intervention of the immune system with the goal of potentially finding a cure.
- The RCI also focuses on the question of how the immune system can be utilized to fight cancer cells in an effort to decrease the intensity of chemo therapy and radiation.
- Two new departments and work Groups has been established in order to extend professional competence.
Researchers of the RCI introduce young doctors to newest scientific findings in the field of immunotherapy, thus specifically supporting young academics.
- Regensburg holds great scientific and medical expertise in the field of Interventional Immunology
- Experts in Regensburg are leading in the field of organic and stem cell transplantation.
- Modern high-tech infracture (e.g. JCC) enables local experts to manufacture cell products for individual immunotherapy.
- Close collaboration of the RCI with the University Hospital, Companies and University Hospitals of Erlangen-Nuernberg and Wuerzburg allow synergetic effects in modern therapies for the good of patients.
- For many diseases, there is still no cure but patients can be treated through intervention in the immune system.
- Combination of theory and practice for the good of patients is a unique feature of the RCI.
- Doctors and scientists in Regensburg are leading in the global competition for new immunotherapies.
- Forschungsallianz Immunmedizin (Erlangen-Nürnberg, Regensburg, Würzburg)
- International scientific institutions in Ann Arbor, Stanford, Harvard, Wien, London, Oxford, Newcastle, Nantes, Mailand and Lund
- The RCI cooperates with multiple companies in the field of biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.
The Free State of Bavaria
- The Free State of Bavaria supports the RCI strategically on its way to becoming an extra-faculty research institute as well as financially since 2011.