As sitem-insel aims to account for disruptive developments, the infrastructural design guarantees flexibility. To facilitate translational projects with specific novel technologies, several platforms have been designed. These platforms are open for projects from investigators independent of their origin. sitem-insel also welcomes the development of novel platforms in collaboration with innovative private or public investigators.
Dr. Simon A. Rothen
+41 31 632 58 41
The bridge between academia, clinics, the medtech and biomedical industry.
ARTORG is the medical technology research hub of the University of Bern. A multidisciplinary team of clinicians, engineers, life scientists, allied health professionals, social and management scientists, commercial partners and patient stakeholders are fully embedded in the medical faculty and in alliance with the Insel Group. Translation research that addresses unmet clinical needs in major disease areas transforms basic research findings in microfluidics, fluid mechanics, rapid prototyping, image processing, robotics and artificial intelligence into clinical solutions in neurology, respiratory, ENT, ophthalmology, hepatobiliary, metabolic, orthopaedic and cardiovascular medicine. In the last decade a sustained translation pipeline at the ARTORG has supplied projects for successful commercial ventures that have attracted investment, approved devices and launched products into clinical care.
The biosafety laboratory will be a central platfom for cooperation between public and private stakeholders
The development of new diagnostic-therapeutic products for infections, including those caused by emerging pathogens, highly pathogenic organisms and antibiotic-resistant bacteria, is hampered by the lack of laboratories that comply with biosafety regulations and the lack of cooperation between the various partners in this field. Therefore, a biosafety laboratory (BSL2 and BSL3 laboratory containig a BSL4 glove box) will be established in the new sitem-insel building as a central platform for cooperation between public and private stakeholders. The premises also allow viral transfections for the development of human gene therapy products and the creation of a bacteriophage centre. The biosafety laboratory will include a dedicated lab to perform risk assessment, packaging and processing of biological samples according to the ordinance on handling organisms in contained systems. The associated biological risk management network will integrate the expert knowledge in the field. The biosafety laboratory is under the direction of IFIK (Institut für Infektionskrankheiten) of the University of Bern.
Cardiovascular Test and Innovation Center
Flexible state-of-the-art infrastructure to develop and evaluate new cardiovascular products
Clinical cardiovascular medicine at Bern University Hospital enjoys a high reputation worldwide. One of the most important tasks of a university center is not only to provide the most up-to-date standard in the clinical field, but also to further develop the specialist field. The center promotes cooperation with industrial companies and basic research institutions for the purpose of development and application of new cardiovascular products. The strategy focuses on the competitive advantage of bundling expertise from industry and all clinical disciplines in the cardiovascular field. Thanks to the flexible state-of-the-art infrastructure in sitem-insel new cardiovascular products can quickly be developed and evaluated.
CATR Clinical Anatomy Training and Research Unit
Develops innovative diagnostic-therapeutic products with an infrastructure adapted to ethical requirements
The development of innovative diagnostic-therapeutic products as well as their correct handling whilst training on medical cadaveric specimens requires not only an infrastructure adapted to ethical requirements, but also synergies with other units - which exist at the site of sitem-insel. The current structure of the Swissendos Foundation in Fribourg was abolished at the end of 2017 and the course activities were provisionally relocated to the centre of the clinical anatomy department of the University of Bern. However, the existing structure will not suffice to meet the development potential in the medium term. The new CATR (Clinical Anatomy Training and Research Unit) intends to promote product development, services (advanced training courses) and networking with other platforms within the enabling facilities.
Clinical Trials Unit
A cooperation partner for clinical studies in the early phase
CTU Bern will operate an outpatient and inpatient research facility for the conduct of clinical studies at sitem-insel. This serves academic researchers as well as private companies as a cooperation partner for the conduct of clinical studies in any development phase but with a special focus on early phase studies.
Together with the other service divisions of CTU Bern, this facility will eventually form the Translational and Early Phase Unit at sitem-insel. Its specific aim is to facilitate translational research projects and cooperative projects between academia and industry partners in particular, start-ups and SMEs. The strength of the unit is based on the medical expertise of all disciplines at the Inselspital, the individual support, the comprehensive range of services (planning, implementation, closing) as well as the well-founded expertise in the area of Study Methodology/Design.
CSL Behring Biologics Research Center
The research and development centre for innovative therapeutic biologics
The biopharmaceutical company CSL Behring AG will establish a research center for innovative therapeutic biologics within sitem-insel’s premises. The proximity to the University Hospital of Bern is a major advantage for the development of novel, patient-oriented products.
Tracing its heritage back to the Behringwerke AG of Nobel Prize laureate Emil von Behring and the ZLB Central Laboratory, a department of the Swiss Red Cross in Berne, CSL Behring has a long tradition of researching and developing life-saving therapies based on human proteins.
More than 1 400 people are employed at the Berne site of CSL Behring. CSL Behring’s line of therapies includes products for primary immune deficiencies, the treatment of bleeding disorders such as hemophilia, and inherited respiratory disease, among others.
Close cooperation between clinicians and industrial research and development is essential for purposefully bringing new biologics to patients. The Swiss Red Cross, the ZLB Central Laboratory, CSL Behring and the University Hospital of Bern have been working together closely since the 1960s. The sitem-insel AG will soon provide an ideal environment for intensifying such collaborations.
Dental Translational Research Center
Integration of research and development activities
The School of Dental Medicine of the University of Bern, with its first-class track record in translational research, has been successfully cooperating with medtech companies such as Straumann AG for decades. The integration of this research and development activity into the Dental Translational Research Center (DTRC) strengthens the sitem-insel project.
By moving into the sitem-insel building, the pre-clinical laboratories gain access to a first-class research infrastructure and benefit from the existing expertise of other research groups. The focus is on cooperation with the platforms Translational Imaging Center, BSL 3 Laboratory, CATR and the ARTORG Center groups.
Diabetes Center Berne
Simplifying diabetes therapy and improving the quality of life of people with diabetes
The Diabetes Center Berne (DCB) improves the therapy of people with diabetes mellitus by adressing unmet needs. Established in autumn 2017 as a foundation by Dr. h.c. Willy Michel, the DCB moves into sitem-insel’s new building on the Inselspital-campus.
The DCB is one of the first partners from the private sector with a clear focus on translational medicine to commit itself to sitem-insel. The DCB will work closely with the Department for Diabetes, Endocrinology, Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism (UDEM) of the Insel group (University Hospital of Bern).
Initial research fields are continuous and instantaneous monitoring of blood glucose and the automation of therapy using intelligent algorithms for closed-loop systems.
The DCB aims to test research results in clinical studies in a timely manner and to subsequently commercialize successful ideas. Based on applicable investment criteria, projects and initiatives are supported in various phases and subject areas. The overarching purpose of the DCB’s endeavor is to simplify and improve the therapy of diabetes mellitus.
The partnership between Inselspital and Waters Corporation, the world’s leading specialty measurement company
The Metabolomics Unit bridges industry and academia by bringing together hardware and software developers, clinicians, engineers and biostatisticians. Building on a sustainable partnership between Inselspital and Waters Corporation, the Metabolomics Unit will be established within sitem-insel’s premises. Waters Corporation is the world’s leading specialty measurement company delivering benefit through innovations and people that enable customer success in the life, materials and food sciences with approximately 7000 employees worldwide.
The field of metabolomics is the most challenging in the ‘omics’-area with the highest potential for clinical application. By determining the complement of metabolites in biological samples, be it a tissue or a fluid, metabolomics experts obtain information reflecting the whole complexity of the interaction between protein expression, enzymatic activity and the environment.
The analysis of metabolomics data depends on the development of innovative hardware and software solutions. Accordingly, the Metabolomics Unit provides a platform to develop and test new instruments and software in the field of biomedical research.
Using Waters’ latest technology, the Metabolomics Unit aims to determine the metabolic effects of new drugs in the human body. For that purpose, the interaction with the Clinical Trials Unit, the Diabetes Center Berne and other platforms in sitem-insel will be of pivotal importance.
Research will focus upon the use of advanced Mass Spectrometry techniques for biomedical research into non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and thyroid cancer. Another promising innovation path involves Ambient Ionization techniques such as Desorption Electrospay Ionization (DESI). This technique allows for the in-situ deep phenotypic molecular characterization for ex-vivo tissues under different disease conditions. This allows to ask mechanistic metabolic questions at the tissue level and complement current imaging technologies present at sitem-insel. The University Hospital of Bern harbors all surgical and pathological research disciplines – a prerequisite for the facilitation of the interactive development of this novel technology.
Novel, flexible and cost-efficient technologies to improve diagnostics, monitoring and therapies of neurologic disorders
The goal of the NeuroTec Center is to promote novel, flexible and cost- efficient technologies that improve diagnostics, monitoring and therapies of neurologic disorders.
NeuroTec Center constitutes a vibrant environment that catalyzes the efficient interaction between healthcare and technology specialists from academia and industry. A core infrastructure of the center is the Living Suite – a smart apartment to monitor human behavior and how neurological disorders influence daily life. Using state of the art virtual reality technology, computer-generated three-dimensional animations of real world settings will allow patients to engage in everyday activities.
The overall strategy of the NeuroTec Center promises to tackle problems of our aging society, thereby enhancing the cost-efficiency and quality of healthcare in patients with neurologic diseases.
Translational Imaging Center
A cooperation between Siemens Healthineers and the Translational Imaging Center Bern in medical imaging
Today, diseases are detected earlier, and therapeutic and preventive treatments are made more effective. The tremendous contribution of medical imaging to this favorable development is appreciated internationally. Therefore, the window of opportunity for the advancement of radiological technologies is wide open and requires the interdisciplinary cooperation between industry and hospitals. The Translational Imaging Center in sitem-insel will enable translational research ranging from the analysis of biochemical samples to investigations of systems and organs by using ultra-high-field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In view of the paradigm shift from cohort analyses to personalized medicine, MR-technology marks a cornerstone for diagnostics, therapy-monitoring as well as the identification of new biomarkers.
Increasingly, specialized MR-applications cross-fertilize comprehensive synergetic research areas in biology, human and veterinary medicine, physics, psychology and other fields.
In line with this internationally recognized research strategy, several working groups of the University of Bern and the Inselspital have joined forces within a research consortium to conduct translational research and promote education.
The innovative 7 tesla UHF MRI device MAGNETOM Terra will be the heart of the Translational Imaging Center, which will be installed in combination with the 3 tesla MRI device MAGNETOM Prisma. Both full-body instruments will be delivered by Siemens Healthineers. Placing the Translational Imaging Center in sitem-insel and thus close to the Inselspital is ideal. The Insel Group has performed more than 30 000 clinical MR examinations in 2016 and, together with the University of Bern, possesses outstanding international scientific expertise to take translational innovations to the next level.
The cooperation between Siemens Healthineers and the Translational Imaging Center contributes to shaping the future of imaging and placing Switzerland in a leading research position in Europe.
Translational Musculoskeletal Research Cluster
Development of technologies and implants to improve patient care with diseases of the musculoskeletal system
The Translational Musculoskeletal Research Cluster allows the development and testing of innovative technologies and implants to improve patient care with diseases of the musculoskeletal system. It forms a central nodal point between Partner organisations of sitem-insel AG, industry partners and other external as well as cooperation partners within the Inselspital.
Within the framework of the sitem-insel School we can offer international courses as well as lectures together with our partners and thus contribute to the strengthening of Berne as a medical location through university education and training.
Benefit from our facilities and network
We welcome early-stage start-ups who look for close collaboration with our specialized scientific platforms or appreciate the proximity to clinicians. Start-ups can benefit from the different supporting facilities that we offer, including our partner network.
sitem-insel will operate from dedicated, purpose-built facilities on the Campus of Bern University Hospital (Inselspital). This location is ideal to facilitate and promote sustainable medical innovation through efficient interaction between patients, competent clinicians, the private sector, regulatory authorities and legal counselors.
The building will be ready in May 2019.