Translational Cancer Research

Research Program

Translational Cancer Research

Research Program

Translational Cancer Research

Coordinator Prof. Dr. Alwin Krämer (komm.)

At the DKFZ, the Translational Cancer Research Program is based on a coalition of the DKFZ Clinical Cooperation Units (CCU) and the Divisions of Translational Oncology and Preventive Oncology at the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) Heidelberg. NCT was founded as an exceptional alliance between the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg University Medical Center (HUMC), the Heidelberg Medical Faculty, and the German Cancer Aid (Deutsche Krebshilfe) and has rapidly evolved into a comprehensive cancer center of excellence. NCT’s mission is to foster interdisciplinary oncology for an optimized development of current clinical therapies, and to rapidly transfer scientific knowledge into clinical applications.

The research units of the Research Program Translational Cancer jointly address the unifying theme of precision oncology, combining clinical algorithms and state-of-the-art molecular profiling to create diagnostic, therapeutic and preventive strategies precisely tailored to the patients’ individual disease requirements. The Research Program has three major goals:

  • To DISCOVER molecular mechanisms of neoplastic transformation through patient-oriented high-throughput diagnostics and stratification; examination of molecular pathways, targets and biomarkers in tumor development and metastasis; analysis of molecular and functional heterogeneity within tumors.
  • To DEVELOP relevant diagnostic markers and tests through the development of small molecules in therapeutic model systems; identification of biomarkers of drug action and tumor responsiveness; therapy resistance and metastasis; examination of microenvironment and inflammatory processes; modulation of tumor immune responses.
  • To TREAT through the validation of new drugs, vaccines and strategies; determination of outcomes in molecularly stratified patient cohorts; elucidation of mechanisms of resistance and recurrence in functional models; development of early-detection strategies and population-wide screening programs.
With regard to clinical implementation, NCT has established a highly innovative Precision Oncology Program (NCT POP). NCT POP is a center-wide master strategy that coordinates all translational activities and focuses resources towards individualized cancer medicine, including patient-oriented strategies in genomics, proteomics, immunology, radiooncology, prevention, and early clinical development. For this purpose, the center-wide NCT MASTER (Molecularly Aided Stratification for Tumor Eradication) umbrella protocol has been created to streamline the entire diagnostic trial workflow. NCT MASTER makes it possible to perform and evaluate molecular diagnostics on materials from all consenting NCT patients, with the explicit purpose of stratifying each patient for the best treatment or trial strategy.


Topic Locator

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Cancer Research at DKFZ


The DKFZ-ZMBH-Alliance is a strategic alliance between the Research Program Cell and Tumor Biology and the Center for Molecular Biology of Heidelberg University.

Research Results

Here you can find our latest press releases.

Junior Research Groups

At German Cancer Research Center the following Junior Research Groups have been established.

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