Press Releases 2022

TBnet: Sustainable and highly successful collaboration in tuberculosis research

With more than 800 members, the research network "Tuberculosis Network European Trialsgroup" or “TBnet“ for short, founded at the Research Center Borstel in the fall of 2006, is now the largest research community in the field of tuberculosis in Europe. The idea behind the collaboration was simple. Members of the network identify questions together, share their experience and data, conduct experiments and clinical trials in parallel at different sites, and publish them together.



At the TBnet 2022 annual meeting in Barcelona in early September, the enormous potential of the research network was once again evident. In an ongoing study on the risk of tuberculosis in patients after organ transplantation, more than 6000 patients could be included. Another study on the prevention of tuberculosis in immunocompromised individuals studied 2000 individuals and followed them over two years. A third study is investigating the risk of tuberculosis in migrants throughout the EU and in bordering countries. Currently, members are concerned with the situation of tuberculosis patients in Ukraine and Ukrainian patients who have fled to other countries in Europe.

TBnet has been funded over the past 15 years primarily by the European Union, the German Federal Ministry of Health and private donors. Thanks solely to the commitment of its members and their institutional support, a remarkable 80 percent of TBnet's projects have been successfully completed without special financial support. For future tasks, the network would like to establish a European registry of tuberculosis patients and a biobank so that new diagnostic procedures can be validated immediately.

For this, TBnet is looking for financial support. "TBnet works extremely efficiently and sustainably. I know of no other research organization that has achieved so much with so little funding.  New goals to further improve tuberculosis research cannot be achieved with on-board funds alone. Financial support to this unique network is a very good investment; I cannot think of a better one for tuberculosis research in Europe", says Professor Christoph Lange, Medical Director at the Research Center Borstel and one of the founders of TBnet.

The successes of the collaboration to date speak for themselves: TBnet has produced over 80 publications in more than 15 years, many of them in high-ranking scientific journals, e.g. the New England Journal of Medicine or The Lancet and 33 papers alone in the European Respiratory Journal, the flagship journal of the European Respiratory Society. TBnet not only conducts joint research, but is particularly involved in the field of education and training.

Together with the Dutch Tuberculosis Society KNCV, the Finnish Tuberculosis Society FILHA and the renowned Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, TBnet organizes the annual European Advanced Course in Clinical Tuberculosis (EACCTB). Furthermore, the very well-attended monthly TBnet webinars discuss difficult clinical decisions and feature overview lectures by well-known international scientists. The highlight of the training is the annual TBnet Academy at changing locations in Eastern Europe, where young physicians and scientists from Western and Eastern Europe come together to exchange ideas, learn about problems in the field in hospitals and laboratories, and form a junior network of tuberculosis research in Europe with the help of mentors.

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Prof. Dr. med. Dr. h.c. Christoph Lange 
Medical Director, Research Center Borstel, Leibniz Lung Center, Borstel, Germany 

+49 4537 - 188-3321
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