In recent years, we observed an increasing decline in the number of post-mortem examinations performed in pathology (independent of specific questions in the context of a SARS-CoV2 infection). Possible reasons for this are, among others, the increasingly specialised modern laboratory as well as radiological tests performed during the lifetime, increasing staff shortage as well as inadequate financing of autopsy services.
A post-mortem examination not only serves to determine the cause of death, but also to further assess the extent of the disease leading to death beyond the scope of clinically possible diagnostics. Thus, the decreasing number of autopsies leads above all to a loss of clinically relevant knowledge.
Regardless of the importance of autopsies for clinical knowledge assurance, a timely analysis of pathological tissue also enables essential disease research. For this reason, TRR 305, together with the Institutes of Pathology at the Universities of Regensburg and Erlangen, applied for and received funding from the German Research Foundation (DFG) for a structured autopsy programme for targeted post-mortem examinations. With this funding, it will now be possible for the first time to work on questions of tumour evolution, tumour immunology, therapy resistance and organ-specific metastasis with a wide range of methods, also with the help of tissue samples obtained post-mortem. This will enable us to test novel research hypotheses. The ultimate goal is to better understand the mechanisms of metastasis and to develop new therapeutic options for the benefit of patients.
In the treatment of patients with advanced metastatic tumours, palliative medicine and primary care physicians are often decisively involved, which is why close cooperation is to be established with them in order to offer participation in the autopsy study to as many patients as possible.
Both in Regensburg and Erlangen, there is already close cooperation with the Centre for Palliative Medicine of the University Hospital Regensburg and Erlangen, respectively, in order to evaluate the requirements for optimal implementation, wishes and questions of the patients, relatives and palliative care staff with regard to the present project. A scientific analysis of these by means of qualitative and quantitative methods in the further course is also planned here.
Please send your enquiries/questions to
- Dr. Katja Evert
- Dr. Michael Rechenmacher
- Ulrich Kaiser
- Dr. Florian Lüke
- Prof. Dr. Arndt Hartmann
- Dr. Philip Eichhorn
Further information can be found using the links provided: