Re­search at the Di­vi­sion of Haema­tol­o­gy and Trans­fu­sion Medicine

Thrombocytes (Source: U.Salge-Bartels/Paul-Ehrlich-Institut)

Research Team

Dr Anneliese Hilger (Head of Division Haematology and Transfusion Medicine)
PD Dr Johannes Dodt (Scientist)
Dr Michael Etscheid (Scientist)
Birgit Haschberger (Scientist)
Janina Hesse (Scientist)
Dr Andreas Hunfeld (Scientist)
Dr Christine Keipert (Scientist)
Dr Sabrina Kneissl (Scientist)
Dr Gerrit Praefcke (Scientist)
Dr Ursula Salge-Bartels (Scientist)

Research Summary

Medicinal products derived from human blood are indispensable in modern medicine. However, inherent changes of composition or minor modifications in the production process may impact efficacy and can cause adverse immunogenicity or contamination with adventitious agents. The objective of our research is to deepen our understanding of crucial determinants of efficacy and safety, and to develop or improve laboratory methods to assess key parameters for quality control of medicinal products derived from blood.

A great number of plasma proteins are purified from plasma or obtained from recombinant sources to yield valuable medicinal products, e.g. coagulation factors needed for haemophilia patients. Blood coagulation involves a cascade of proteolytic activation of inactive proenzymes. We focus on very sensitive methods to assess the integrity and activation state of coagulation factors, and on the functional integrity of plasma protease inhibitors. Special attention is paid to contaminating proteolytic activities.

Coagulation factors and inhibitors exert vital regulatory and life-supporting functions in physiological processes such as haemostasis, inflammation, angiogenesis, and tissue repair. These biological systems are crucial for host defence, and are also exploited by malignant tumours. We focus on studying the interaction of cultured human lung cancer cells with coagulation factors.

Transfusion of cellular blood components (e.g. red cells, platelets) is an essential prerequisite of many life-saving interventions in e.g. surgery and haematology. We work to develop and refine suitable methods to assess the functional integrity of the blood cell preparations for transfusion, taking into account the perspective of the increasing level of processing and manipulation.

To support the availability of safe and efficacious biomedicines, our non-experimental regulatory research includes the collection and evaluation of registry data concerning haemophilia treatment in Germany. Moreover, information derived from clinical studies and pharmacovigilance reports is assessed with the aim of improving knowledge about causes and risk factors of therapy-associated neutralising antibodies (so-called "inhibitors"), the currently most significant problem of haemophilia treatment.

Head of Research Group

Dr Anneliese Hilger
Email: [email protected]

Updated: 15.09.2020