It takes close cooperation among various experts to shed light on the intricate activities of genes and to understand the function of the many yet unknown building blocks of the cell.
And that’s exactly why the NGFN, the National Genome Research Network, was launched.
In a large-scale project which is unique in the world, scientific groups have been successfully linked to form this network. The common strand weaving the genome network together is the endeavor to research diseases that have a high incidence in Germany or that are particularly important for health policy due to the prolonged suffering and premature death of the people affected. These diseases include cancer, cardiovascular diseases and diseases of the nervous system. Moreover, infections and inflammation as well as diseases linked to environmental factors are being investigated.
The primary aim, especially of the research groups within the disease-oriented networks, is to clarify what role our genes play in the development of specific diseases. Genes program the “wiring diagram” for all processes in our body. Therefore, it is important to know which errors in this wiring diagram lead to a disease since that is the starting point for new therapies.
NGFN scientists not only have the best technology available at their disposal for their research into the causes of diseases, but they can also access the expertise of specialists in the field of genome research, bioinformatics and other special disciplines. This intensive cooperation of scientists from all disciplines is "internationally groundbreaking" on such a scale. This was confirmed by international experts in the spring of 2003. The expert commission also attested that the NGFN is “of greatest significance” for Germany’s innovativeness and competitiveness in combating disease.