The Center of Allergy and Environment is conducting basic to applied research to discover the origins of allergies in order to identify novel preventive strategies as well as targets for innovative therapies. The ZAUM is also providing new technologies for partners within the pharmaceutical industry for allergy friendly products and Environments.
Origin and structure
In 1999 Munich universities and research centers founded the ZAUM (Zentrum Allergie und Umwelt) at the Technical University Munich (TUM) supported by the Bavarian Government. The intention was and is still to promote research on allergic diseases, to provide better help for patients, and even prevent the onset of allergic diseases. The means for realization of the project originated from the „Offensive Zukunft Bayern“ (Offensive Future Bavaria) and from general „Umweltfonds“. The newly founded institution was led by Prof. Heidrun Behrendt and a great impact was generated by a clinical research group at the Helmholtz Center Munich (HMGU).
In April 2010 Prof. Behrendt retired. Based on the impressive success of the institute and the raising awareness of allergy as an epidemic, the institute was included as full member of the medical faculty of the TUM. Prof. Carsten Schmidt-Weber accepted the newly founded chair of Molecular Allergology and the directorship of the ZAUM. Furthermore the clinical research group was transformed into an institute of the Helmholtz Center Munich. This institute of Allergy Research is the crystallization point of the allergy research agenda representing one of the three environmental disease areas.
Research at the ZAUM is essentially financed by means of third parties, whereas the basic funds come in equal parts from the TUM as well as the Helmholtz Center. It is member of the German Lung Center (DZL), where it plays a critical role in supporting the translation between basic and clinical research efforts. In frame of the tight collaborations of the ENT and Dermatology Clinic, the ZAUM is very active in conducting cost effective Phase 1-3 clinical trials together with pharmaceutical partners. In addition investigator initiated trials are performed, which mainly aim to translate basic research results into clinical practice. The Christine Kühne Foundation (CK-CARE) sponsors a project at ZAUM on the impact of ambient air and pollen influences on allergy. The strength of the center is a reliable and low-overhead structure, combined with state of the art science and technology.