The Clinical Research Unit (CRU) 329 "Disease pathways in podocyte injury – from molecular mechanisms to individualized treatment options" is an interdisciplinary, cross-faculty research center of excellence funded through the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG).
This CRU is based on the concept that minimal-change disease and focal-segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) treatment requires a targeted approach that addresses the particular underlying pathogenic mechanism in each individual case. The overall aim of this CRU is to develop diagnostic tools and to characterize pathogenic pathways to allow individualized treatment approaches targeting the distinct pathomechanisms. Thus, we aim to convert FSGS management from a trial-and-error approach into a precision medicine strategy based on targeting individual disease mechanisms in patients.
The CRU 329, established in 2018, started in its second funding period in 2021 and is organized into 9 scientific and 3 central projects. The speaker of the CRU is Professor Thomas Benzing, director of the Department II of Internal Medicine (Divisions of Nephrology, Rheumatology, Diabetes and General Internal Medicine) of the University Hospital of Cologne. The scientific coordinator of the CRU is Professor Paul Brinkkoetter, Department II of Internal Medicine of the University Hospital of Cologne.