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Enhancing Science Partnerships for Innovation and Sustainable Development


Ambassador for the Year of Science

Interview with the special ambassador of the Year of Science, Motsi Mabuse
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Photo gallery: Closing Event in Berlin 16/04/2013

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German-South African Science Network
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Conference on Photodynamic Therapy presents opportunities for South Africa

Ambassador Dr. Horst Freitag, german participants and Prof. Heidi Abrahamse, Copyright: University of Johannesburg
Ambassador Dr. Horst Freitag (l), german participants and Prof. Heidi Abrahamse (r), Copyright: University of Johannesburg

PDT is an innovative treatment method that can be used to diagnose and treat surface tumours and precancerous stages early on. The minimally invasive therapy is relatively low-cost and has been common practice in Germany for quite some time in the areas of dermatology, ophthalmology, ear-nose-throat medicine and internal medicine. In South Africa, there is no clinical application despite intensive basic and in vitro research.

At a conference entitled "PDT as minimal invasive therapy – an innovation in health care for South Africa" at the University of Johannesburg, researchers from Germany and South Africa shared ideas about this technology from 27 to 31 October 2012. They worked together to investigate the great potential of PDT for South Africa in particular. The hosts were the Institute for Laser Technologies in Medicine and Measurement Technology at the University of Ulm in cooperation with the University of Johannesburg and the National Laser Centre of the CSIR/NLC in Pretoria, South Africa. The target group included students, post-graduates and PhD students, clinical physicians as well as researchers at the participating institutes.

In keeping with the principles of the German-South African Year of Science 2012/2013 which is dedicated to the theme of "Innovation in the healthcare sector", the conference focused on the bilateral exchange of ideas among the specialists and guests in attendance. One of the clear goals of the event was to intensify the exchange of ideas among the younger generation of scientists in both countries and stimulate other research efforts and clinical training in PDT applications, including at an international level.