WHO WE ARE
We are the Data Med Sachsen (DaMeSa) research consortium, and this is our application to the Wissen schafft Perspektiven programme, an initiative for the creation of new research centres under the aegis of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Our proposed project is entitled ‘Integrated multi-omics biodata for translational medicine’ (Integrierte multi omics Biodaten für translationale Medizin).
The project centres on the collection and use of medical biodata for the development of groundbreaking new routes to diagnosis and methods of treatment. Our aim is to create the world’s first genuinely ‘smart’ medical research consortium.
Our consortium brings together expertise from the fields of medical research, data protection and data ethics, IT, health policy and science policy. We are working closely with regional policymakers to ensure our proposal, if funded, brings quality jobs to Saxony.
This website provides an overview of our project proposal, which we officially submitted to the BMBF in May 2021.
‘Omics’ technologies are integral to the realisation of data-driven diagnosis and treatment methods in medicine. The term stems from sub-disciplines of biology whose names end in the -omics suffix; they include genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, metagenomics and transcriptomics, and each refer to specific classes of molecules. A multi-omics approach seeks to synthesise these classes of molecules, creating a holistic ‘big picture’ that is currently a major route to innovative and individualised treatments. Biodata are the vital key to this strategy’s success.
The medical community is currently in a period of transition to a personalised treatment landscape, with a plethora of trailblazing methods now emerging that draw on the analysis of large biomedical data sets. Work in this area has already scored a number of successes, one prominent example being the unprecedented rapidity with which scientists developed mRNA vaccines against Covid-19.
This is a worldwide trend, with major life science and IT businesses ready to launch into work in this area alongside start-up ventures. We want our project to join this epoch-making shift, boosting Saxony’s research scene and helping make Germany and Europe more competitive on the global science stage.
WHAT IS DaMeSa?
To date, the world remains without the urgently needed technological and organisational infrastructure that will make it possible to collect large data sets with multidimensional applications for medical research. This is the gap we intend to fill.
Far from regarding Europe’s strict data protection laws as a disadvantage to our work, we see them as a win for us, because GDPR means we will be working, from the outset of our project, within a binding legal framework with corresponding regulatory authorities – in other words, we know and can plan for the conditions under which we will proceed. In accordance with these, we have taken care to recruit respected data ethicists from German universities to our consortium; they will advise us on matters of data governance and provide their support throughout the project’s duration.
HOW WILL DaMeSa PROCEED?
The expertise in multi-omics technologies held by the members of our consortium, demonstrated in a wealth of publications and in strong track records within the practice of medicine, will form the foundations of our work. We will commence with the creation of a multidisciplinary omics research centre, where our scientists will develop new methods and procedures for collecting and processing biomedical patient data.
Harnessing the expertise and skills in our consortium, we will bring them to bear on one of the most crucial challenges facing medicine today.
WHERE WILL THIS HAPPEN?
We plan to set up a campus, covering both omics research and IT development, in Schloss Hubertusburg in the town of Wermsdorf, Saxony. As well as drawing scientific professionals to the region, the proposed project would create skilled non-graduate jobs within a short period of time by, for example, training approximately three hundred ‘digital health advisors’ who would support medical practices and hospitals with the implementation of digital medical infrastructure. This new lease of life for Schloss Hubertusburg would give the entire region a strong economic boost, increasing its purchasing power and raising demand for local services.