Meet Prof. Dr. Marcus Maurer at Charité Berlin
We start M100 with Prof. Dr. Marcus Mauer. Professor of Dermatology and Allergy and Director of Research at the Department of Dermatology and Allergy, Allergie-Centrum-Charité of the Charité — Universitätsmedizin in Berlin. Hear his positions on the digitisation of collaboration with the pharmaceutical industry and on the future of patient centered care within the digital transformation.
Nana: Digital health is a fact and could be much powerful than it is today. Hello, everyone, and welcome to Medicinisto M100. I’m Nana Bit-Avragim, a clinician scientist and digital health expert, and I’m here today at historical campus of Charité University Hospital, Berlin, to meet Professor Maurer. Hello, Professor Maurer.Professor Maurer: Hello. It’s nice to have you here.
Nana: Thank you. Could you please tell us some words about you?
Professor Maurer: Sure. You’re here at the Department of Dermatology and Allergy at Charité. I’m a dermatologist and allergist. I’m the head of research at this department, and I’m both a researcher, scientist and a physician who treats patients with chronic dermatological and allergological diseases.
Nana: Wonderful. We are very pleased to talk about a very exciting topic on the future of clinical research and medicine. My first question would be, why do you collaborate with pharmaceutical industry?
Professor Maurer: There are many reasons for us in academia to work with our partners in industry, and it goes from the identification of new targets and new solutions for our patients to a joint work on understanding mechanisms of disease, but also to bringing solutions to life. Patients come to us. They want new treatments, they want better treatments, and this is how we and where we rely on our partners in industry to provide us with new drugs, new diagnostic approaches to bring to the life of our patients.
Nana: And how could the industry partners improve their collaboration with medical experts?
Professor Maurer: We collaborate with partners from industry on many levels, on the very basic science, on understanding the mechanism of disease, on understanding the natural course of disease. So we speak to many people in pharmaceutical industry, from researchers to more market-oriented colleagues. It is sometimes difficult for physicians and researchers from academia to establish contact to people in large organisations such as pharmaceutical companies, so a platform, a way, a concept, a pathway to establish fruitful collaborations is needed, and examples for this have been shown and shown to be fruitful in the past.
Nana: I’m just wondering, could medical experts accelerate medical progress? What do you think?
Professor Maurer: Well, I think this is in part why we are medical experts. This is what drives us. We want to accelerate progress, we want to make discoveries that lead to better solutions, but sometimes in academia we’re stuck with things that we find in models, things that we find when we do our basic research, and we do need experts in making these targets, making these ideas products, drugs, treatments. So, yes, it is in part our responsibility to seek partners, not just in academia to move forward but also partners who work in a setting that then allows to make these findings that we have here in our research reality for our patients.
Nana: The internet of things and emerging technologies offer many undeniable advantages to become the so-called new norm. So I think that patients currently play a very important role in this process. So I would consider patients as a catalyst of innovation. How do we approach patient-centred innovation?
Professor Maurer: I absolutely agree with you. The way to do this is by listening to our patients. We have seen over the last years that the use of patient reported outcomes, things, knowledge that we learn from our patients have become very important, not only in the way that we optimise treatment of patients, especially with chronic diseases, but also how we do clinical studies and how we measure the efficacy of new treatments.
So we need to listen and we need to develop ways that make it easy for patients to tell us what we need to know. These are tools, these are techniques, these are platforms. We need to learn from our patients, not just when they’re here with us in the office and we can talk to them, but problems they have in daily life, problems they have at home when they’re not here in my office, to learn what are the burdens, what is the impact of a disease, and how does a new treatment, how does a new management approach change that burden in the daily life of patients.
Nana: Wonderful. And I think it’s very obvious that digital technologies are transforming the way we practise and evolve modern medicine. What is your personal experience of emerging technologies so far?
Professor Maurer: It’s exciting. It’s something that we like to use very much, and while there is still some apprehension, we think in the end this saves time, gives us better information, gives us data that will help us to understand patients better. This could be an app. This could be a web-based platform. This could be a wearable device that allows us to read the patient and patient outcome where the patient is. There’s so many ways how technology and information technology especially can help us to understand patients better, that we’re very excited about this and we help to push this move into using these techniques in our daily practice and in clinical trials.
Nana: Thank you so much for this insightful dialogue, and we are very happy to stay in touch with you to continue this journey in the future of medicine.
Professor Maurer: Thank you very much.