ICEMED: Imaging and Curing Environmental Metabolic Diseases


Together with leading German scientists at all stages of the value chain, Helmholtz Zentrum München, a partner in the DZD, is building a strong alliance to conduct research on metabolic diseases – and ultimately to cure them. The ICEMED Alliance (Imaging and Curing Environmental Metabolic Diseases (ICEMED)) is being funded with 15 million euros over five years by the Helmholtz Association - this in addition to 15 million euros in funding of the more than 30 participating Helmholtz centers and universities.

ICEMED is pursuing an ambitious goal: The ICEMED scientists led by Professor Matthias Tschöp are linking modern imaging techniques with basic, applied and clinical research to find a cure for diseases such as type 2 diabetes mellitus and obesity – or in the future even to prevent them. The consortium of more than 30 German partners engaged in obesity, diabetes and brain research includes Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Hans-Ulrich Häring of the Institute for Diabetes Research and Metabolic Diseases of Helmholtz Zentrum München at Tübingen University Hospital. It cooperates with Sanofi Aventis Pharmaceuticals, and also with the internationally renowned diabetes and obesity research centers of the University of Cambridge (UK) and Yale University (USA).

Innovative approach with interdisciplinary team
The team focuses on the central nervous system, which is involved in the regulation of all systemic, metabolic processes and is thus the critical target organ of environmental influences such as hypercaloric diet and stress. “Our innovative approach and outstanding interdisciplinary team may enable us to make scientific breakthroughs and develop new treatment approaches for metabolic diseases such as obesity or type 2 diabetes mellitus,” said Professor Matthias Tschöp, director of the Institute of Diabetes and Obesity Research at Helmholtz Zentrum München. As the first physician ever to receive a Humboldt professorship, this year Tschöp was appointed Humboldt Professor at Technische Universität München (TUM).
“Together we can succeed in stemming the spreading pandemic of diabetes and obesity and hopefully reverse it,” Tschöp said confidently. As a physician, he not only has clinical and pharmaceutical experience, he also receives powerful support through the active participation of leading German hospital directors in the field of metabolic research (Prof. H.-U. Häring, Prof. J. Spranger, Prof. J. Brüning, Prof. H. Lehnert, Prof. M. Stumvoll). This ensures the efficient implementation of scientific insights in everyday medical practice.

Leading the way for personalized therapy
"We are also extremely fortunate,” Tschöp said, “to have the opportunity to collaborate with leading physicists like our ICEMED co-coordinator, Professor Jon Shah (Helmholtz Forschungszentrum Jülich), who in recent years developed new technologies for the simultaneous imaging of multiple metabolic processes in the human brain.”
The unique ICEMED Alliance is thus at the same time leading the way for alliances for metabolic research throughout the world: National science resources are used synergistically and can thus be implemented in personalized, effective treatment strategies.