Virchow 2.0 is bringing together various actors from the capital region ranging from research and technology organisations to industry, society and the clinics in order to develop an AI-driven biomedical innovation ecosystem. The overarching aim is to develop and apply innovative medical solutions based on understanding and targeting diseases at the cellular level (cell-based medicine, Rajewsky N, et al. (2020) Nature). This will enable the earlier detection of diseases, predict their progression, and develop innovative therapies to intercept them by reverting disease-initiating cells to a healthy state (interceptive medicine). The concept developed by the pan-European LifeTime Initiative (more than 200 research institutions and medical centres, over 80 companies) includes the continued development, integration and application of three technologies at the core of this vision: i) single-cell and imaging technologies, ii) artificial intelligence (AI) in particular machine learning and iii) patient-derived disease models.
The creation of the Berlin Cell Hospital (BCH), a new initiative envisaged to involve all relevant major research and innovation organisations in the capital region will break boundaries between the disciplines required for cell-based interceptive medicine, including medicine, biology, data science, mathematics and engineering. It will enable dynamic interactions between researchers, industry partners and start-ups in close proximity to the clinics and strong societal participation. The goal is to translate the results from cutting-edge research to benefit directly patients and the citizens. With the BCH the region is to become a catalyst for driving the rapid transfer of experimental biomedical and AI developments into innovative products and services for the healthcare industry and thus position itself as an internationally leading pioneer and competitive location in personalised and precision medicine.
Prof. Nikolaus Rajewsky, Scientific Director of the Berlin Institute for Medical Systems Biology (BIMSB) at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) in the Helmholtz Association and Prof. Angelika Eggert, Director of the Department of Pedriatric Oncology and Hematology at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin will give insights into their current research and introduce initial steps towards Virchow 2.0 and the establishment of the Berlin Cell Hospital. In particular they will present a recently submitted proposal for the BMBF “Clusters4Future” initiative and further possibilities of collaborations.