Doctors and scientists at the Hamburg-Eppendorf University Hospital (UKE) are taking part in five international health reference networks focusing on rare illnesses of the liver and kidneys, bowel, metabolic functions and forms of cancer and funded by the European Commission, the UKE said Monday (January 9, 2017) in a press release. The EC has already set up 23 networks of this kind to improve the care of people with rare illnesses in Europe. The Authority of Social Affairs, Family, Health and Consumer Protection in Hamburg had backed the application. The EU is providing EUR 4.6 million in funds for European Reference Networks (ERNs) in 2017.
Recognition of Hamburg as a health centre
Prof. Dr. Dr. Uwe Koch-Gromus. Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Member of the Board at UKE, said: “We are delighted by this latest award at European level. Networking has been a key issue at UKE for many years – internally and externally, nationally and internationally. The funded projects are outstanding examples of clinical and scientific collaboration on an international level. They contribute to even better patient care in the long term.”
Cornelia Prüfer-Storcks, Senator for Health, noted: “The success of projects in Hamburg is a great recognition of Hamburg as a centre of health. The highly specialised care of patients with rare illnesses and the excellent research in our centre has been honoured by European reference networks and strengthened further.”
Rare illnesses in Europe and Germany
An illness in the EU is considered rare when less than five out of 10,000 people take ill. An estimated 4 million people in Germany alone suffer from rare illnesses. Such illnesses render the diagnosis and care of patients difficult in both medical and financial terms. The research of rare illnesses is often demanding. The networks in which the UKE is taking part conduct research into illnesses of the liver, metabolism, kidneys and tumours. The EC had initiated the establishment of European reference networks, which pool the expertise of around 1,000 health service providers from 26 countries in ERNs.
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