Institute of Hemostasis and Transfusion Medicine

Institute of Hemostasis and Transfusion Medicine

Key research and treatment areas

Key treatment areas

  • Deep vein thromboses
  • Arterial thromboembolisms
  • Haemophilia A and B, acquired inhibitor haemophilia
  • Von Willebrand syndrome
  • Immunothrombocytopaenia
  • Haemotherapy

Key research areas

  • Thrombophilia and thrombosis prevention
  • Molecular epidemiology of thromboembolic diseases
  • Antithrombotic therapy
  • Molecular genetics of haemostatic defects
  • Arterial thrombogenesis
  • Haemovigilance

“Hemostasis” means arrest of bleeding, “transfusion” stands for blood transfer. According to its name, the main areas of the Institute of Hemostasis and Transfusion Medicine include the examination and treatment of patients suffering from bleeding (“hemophiliacs”) and blood clotting disorders (thromboses). The Institute is also responsible for collecting, producing, storing and providing blood units. Patients requiring transfusions involve accident victims with high blood loss, patients undergoing extensive surgery, hemophiliacs, patients with tumors, children and adults with leukemia or lymph node cancer, premature-born babies and, sometimes, even unborn babies.

To supply the University Medical Center and its patients with blood and blood products, the Institute operates a Blood Donation Center and a Transfusion Center, which warrant maximum safety standards for voluntary donors and patients. To this effect, the Institute’s staff applies state-of-the-art methods of gene technology for infection diagnostics and for compatibility testing between donor and recipient. In addition, the blood products produced are subjected to extensive quality control examinations. Along with new treatment procedures which have reduced the transfusion "trigger", it is particularly due to the progress in modern medicine, such as high-dosage chemotherapy for cancer, that an increasing demand for blood and special blood products has result

Patient care

As a central facility of the Düsseldorf University Medical Center, the Institute of Hemostasis and Transfusion Medicine is involved in interdisciplinary patient care. This includes the production and preparation of red blood cell concentrates, platelet concentrates, and fresh frozen plasma. Every year, up to 60,000 stored units of blood components are provided for the treatment of patients requiring transfusions.

Furthermore, comprehensive laboratory analyses are performed at the Institute for purposes of indication, control, monitoring and consultation in hemotherapy. This particularly pertains critically ill patients with immunohematological problems due to autoantibodies or alloantibodies. A challenging diagnostic and, simultaneously, preparative input is required for the hemotherapeutic care of patients with a risk pregnancy, for example in cases of an immunological incompatibility between mother and fetus. Should an immunological reduction in platelets (fetal immunothrombocytopenia) or anemia (erythroblastosis) occur, immunogenetically compatible preparations are provided for hemotherapy of the unborn child (intrauterine transfusions).

The diagnostics and therapy of hemophiliacs or patients with thromboses are another area of activity and a major focus of the Institute. Patients with an increased risk of bleeding or thromboembolic diseases are examined and treated at the Hemostasis and Thrombosis Outpatient Clinic of the Institute. For diagnosis of platelet and coagulation disorders, the Institute offers a wide repertoire of different methods including molecular, molecular-genetic and flow-cytometric techniques.

Within a European network, the Institute has been operating for many years as one of the reference centres for diagnostics in hemostasis. Furthermore, the Institute has been selected as a Center of Competence for a national “Thrombosis Network”. In the case of critically ill hemophiliacs with acquired inhibitors against coagulation factors, the Institute’s staff successfully applies an innovative treatment procedure to eliminate the inhibitor (immunotolerance induction). Special consultations are available at the Institute for hemophiliacs and thrombosis-prone individuals. To those patients who need anticoagulation therapy with coumarins, the Institute’s staff provides training for monitoring of anticoagulation (self-determination of INR testing with "CoaguChek" system).

Research and teaching

The current research activities of the Institute cover innovative techniques (multicomponent apheresis) and the risk minimization in hemotherapy. Another focus is on the early recognition of hemostatic disorders as a cause of deep vein thromboses and arterial circulatory disturbances which may trigger off a stroke or a heart attack. The applied molecular-genetic and molecular-epidemiological methods enable the team of researchers to identify and quantify the risk of thrombosis in patients and to provide effective individual prevention strategies. This relates to the “pill and thrombosis” problem as well as the risk of thrombosis during pregnancy and the puerperium.

The Institute’s scientists are experimentally analyzing the molecular mechanisms which result in bleeding disorders or in thrombus formation. These projects are being supported by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG) and the Volkswagen Foundation within the Program Project 612 ("Molecular Analysis of Cardiovascular Functions and Dysfunctions") or individual grants. The aim of this research, performed by the Institute in cooperation with the Düsseldorf Biological Medical Research Center (BMRC) and national and international working groups, is to establish new specific therapeutic strategies, including gene therapeutic approaches.

The Institute’s teaching activities cover lectures and practical courses in diagnostics of hemostasis and thrombosis, blood group serology, and the principles of hemotherapy and thrombosis prevention. The Institute is officially authorized to train residents, consultants and other medical professionals in "Transfusion medicine" and "Hemotherapy". Very recently, an intense training program in "Clinical Hemostasis" has been established and is now offered to MD students and MD residents.

Curriculum vitae Univ.-Prof. Dr. med. Rüdiger E. Scharf 

1969 - 1975University of Saarbrücken; Cambridge University Medical School, UK; Technical University of Munich, Stipend of the "Studienstiftung", Bonn
1976M.D. (Summa cum laude), University of Saarbrücken, School of Medicine
1977 - 1978Postdoctoral Fellow, Theodor Kocher Institute, University of Berne, Switzerland. Experimental Hemostasis: Studies on regulation of calcium metabolism in human blood platelets
1978 - 1984Residency in Internal Medicine, University of Düsseldorf
1984Diplomate, German Board of Internal Medicine Habilitation, Privatdozent University of Düsseldorf
1984 - 1986Assistant Clinical Professor of Internal Medicine, University of Düsseldorf
1986 - 1990Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Düsseldorf
1988 - 1990Visiting Professor, The Scripps Research Institute, Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine and Department of Vascular Biology, La Jolla, CA, USA
1989Speciality Hematology-Oncology Boards, German Board of Internal Medicine
1990 - 1994Associate Professor of Medicine (Hematology), University of Bonn, Director, Division of Clinical and Experimental Hemostasis and Thrombosis
1994Full Professor of Medicine, Director, Institute of Hemostasis and Transfusion medicine, University of Düsseldorf
Honours and Awards:Eduard Martin Prize for best M.D. thesis, University of Saarbrücken (1978); Albert Knoll Award, Society of Internal Medicine (1980);
Alexander Schmidt Award, German, Austrian and Swiss Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis (1984);
Fellowship Award of the International Society of Nephrology (1984);
Travel Award of the University of California, Los Angeles (1984);
University Prize of the Düsseldorf Medical School for best "Habilitationsschrift" (1985);
Heisenberg Stipend of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (1988-1991); Rudolf Jürgens Medal (1997);
Fellow of American Heart Association (2001)
SocietiesMember, American Society of HematologyMember, Council on Thrombosis, American Heart AssociationMember, International Society on Thrombosis  and HaemostasisMember, European Thrombosis Research OrganizationMember, European Concerted Action on Thrombosis & DisabilitiesMember, German Society for Internal  MedicineMember,  German and Austrian Society of Haematology & OncologyMember, German Cancer Society,  Working Group on Medical OncologyMember, German, Austrian and Swiss Society on Thrombosis and HaemostasisMember, German Society for Arteriosclerosis ResearchMember, Paul Ehrlich Society for ChemotherapyMember, American Society of Hematology
OfficesChairman of Organizing Committee, 4th Congress on Thrombosis andHaemostasis , Düsseldorf (1985-86)Member, Executive Committee, Paul Ehrlich Society, Frankfurt (1985)Member of Scientific Committee, 5th Congress on Thrombosis andHaemostasis , Frankfurt (1987-88)Treasurer, German, Austrian and Swiss Society on Thrombosis andHaemostasis (1988)Co-Chairman, German, Austrian and Swiss Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis (1991-95)
 Professor Scharf's CV comprises more than 250 original scientific articles and reviews, 3 textbooks and more than 340 abstracts. He is Co-editor of several international journals and member of an expert committee for Transfusion medicine at council of Europe in Strasbourg

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