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Organisation Description

The University of Zurich (UZH), founded in 1833, teaches 26,000 students and has a strong scientific focus on medical and translational research. The UZH ranks among the top 15 Universities in Europe and among the top 60 Universities worldwide according to several scientific ranking systems. The UZH and its researchers have received numerous scientific honours; among them 12 nobel prizes. The Department of Rheumatology at the University Hospital Zurich has been awarded a EULAR Center of Excellence for its scientific achievements. The Department has 30 beds with 762 in-patients per year and a large outpatient clinic with 21,764 outpatients visit per year. There are 21 full-time physicians, among them 11 faculty members. The Clinical Trials Center (CTC) Zurich is part of the Center for Clinical Research. More than 30 employees are working in the different CTC units (phase 1 unit, monitoring, data management, regulatory affairs and medical writing, quality management and training centre). It supports all research Departments of the University Hospital Zurich with the planning and realisation of their clinical trial projects, according to the Swiss Federal Laws and the international Good Clinical Practice Standards.

Department of Rheumatology:

Clinical Trials Center:

The Rheumatology team runs a well-established systemic sclerosis (SSc) cohort of > 300 patients and has a structured in- and out-patient assessment programme for SSc. SSc is a defined main focus of the Department both in its clinical care as well as in its research activities. The team has initiated or has contributed to many international clinical trials in SSc and is a founding member of EUSTAR. The CTC is a clinical trial unit that has a long standing track-record for several aspects of clinical study quality management. This includes monitoring and and auditing of trials initiated by academic centers, but also by pharmaceutical industry.


PD Dr. Oliver Distler is head of the Clinic for Connective Tissue Diseases and Vasculitides at the Department of Rheumatology. He has a 16-year long experience in SSc and has published 176 peer-reviewed papers in the field with 2823 citations, an H-Factor of 28, and a cumulative impact factor of 609 for original publications. He headed the basic science working group of EUSTAR from 2005-2009, is currently head of the biomarker working group and is board member of EUSTAR since 2009. He is also president of the American Scleroderma Clinical Trial Consortium (SCTC) since 2011 and scientific secretary of the Expert Panel on Pulmonary Hypertension in SSc (EPOSS). He is consultant to multiple pharmaceutical companies for clinical trial design in SSc. He also serves on the editorial board of several Rheumatology journals.

Dr. Jürg Lustenberger is Deputy Head and Head of Quality Management at the CTC. He has a diploma in Pharmaceutical Medicine, and received additional GCP auditor training. He headed the Corporate Quality Management of pharmaceutical companies in the past, and is a currently also a GCP consultant for the Biotech and Pharmaceutical Industry.

Dr. Britta Maurer, and Dr. Suzana Jordan are Senior Fellows, have long-standing experience in the assessment and follow-up of patients with SSc, received full GCP-training and designed several clinical trials in SSc.