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CLINSPECT-M: Clinical Mass Spectrometry Center for Molecular Brain Research goes into extension

Awards & Grants, Health AI, ICB,

Munich scientists from the fields of proteomics, informatics, and medicine are working together on a large-scale project to investigate the causes of diseases of the central nervous system, how they can be diagnosed, and how treatment can be monitored. In 2020, the clinical mass spectrometry center in Munich, CLINSPECT-M, was founded as part of this project. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) will now support the joint project for another 3 years with 6 million euros.

The CLINSPECT-M project is part of the MSCORESYS research consortium, which aims to establish the wider use of innovative mass spectrometric technologies in systems medicine to support therapeutic decisions in disease. MSCORESYS brings together four research centers in Berlin, Heidelberg, Mainz, and Munich.

The goal of the Munich-based CLINSPECT-M network is to detect severe neurological diseases, understand their molecular causes, and better monitor treatment and therapy progress. Mass spectrometry makes a decisive contribution to this. The researchers want to use this method to simultaneously and quantitatively determine the smallest amount of thousands of biomolecules from tissues and body fluids. Such molecule profiles for proteins are to be brought into clinical use for the first time. The scientists want to show that mass spectrometric protein analysis is suitable for the discovery of clinically useful biomarkers.

Expertise From Helmholtz Munich

In addition to the Technical University Munich (TUM) as the main coordinator, the University Hospital rechts der Isar, the Ludwig Maximilians University (LMU) with the University Hospital and the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Helmholtz Munich is also involved. The research groups led by Stefanie Hauck, Head of the Metabolomics and Proteomics Core Facility at Helmholtz Munich, and Fabian Theis, Head of the Computational Health Center at Helmholtz Munich, and Director of Helmholtz AI, are developing and optimizing the complex processes of sample processing as well as novel methods for mass spectrometric measurement and data analysis.

It’s All About The Brain

CLINSPECT-M is working on four major medical application areas:

  • Multiple sclerosis: Protein profiles of bone marrow fluid from 4,000 patients will help physicians find disease-specific fingerprints that can be used in clinical diagnostics.
  • Alzheimer’s disease: Clinical studies involving hundreds of patients will be used to find biomarkers that indicate whether a drug is effective or not.
  • Stroke: The examination of thousands of patient samples will identify proteins that indicate damage to the brain caused by a stroke and distinguish it from other causes.
  • Brain tumors: Hundreds of cancer patients are being studied here with the aim of finding molecular targets for personalized therapy decisions.

Futher Information

With its initiative „Research Cores for Mass Spectrometry in Systems Medicine”, the BMBF is promoting the implementation of the latest technologies in medical practice. In addition to BMBF funding, the project also receives funding from the Free State of Bavaria, TUM and LMU.

Information on the project’s website:

About the scientists

Dr. Stefanie Hauck, Head of the Metabolomics und Proteomics Core Facility at Helmholtz Munich

Prof. Dr. Dr. Fabian Theis, Head of Computational Health Center at Helmholtz Munich and Director of Helmholtz AI


Core Facility Metabolomics and Proteomics