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German Cancer Research Center and Bayer HealthCare Join Forces to Combat Cancer

Successful partnership between science and industry to develop new anticancer drugs to be extended / Partners invest 10 million euros in total for collaborative research

No. 03 | 17/01/2011 | by (nis/Sel)

Berlin/Heidelberg, January 17, 2011 - The German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) and Bayer HealthCare (BHC) announced today that they will continue their strategic alliance for another three years after the positive experience of the past two years. The alliance aims to utilize promising research results for developing new anticancer drugs. The partners will invest 10 million euros in total into their collaboration, which was started in 2008.

Multipolar, malformed spindle of a cancer cell

This collaboration focuses on finding molecules, mechanisms and models which may give new impulses for the development of innovative therapies to treat cancer. In addition, DKFZ and BHC are working to develop novel methods of diagnosis which monitor individual course of disease and treatment progress and predict treatment success. Experience gained over the past two years was presented at a press briefing held jointly by both partners.

"Our partnership with the German Cancer Research Center optimally combines the scientific excellence of a high-end research center with Bayer's proven expertise in drug development," said Professor Dr. Andreas Busch, Member of Bayer HealthCare's Executive Committee and Head of Global Drug Discovery. "In times of rapid knowledge gain and increasing complexity of drug development, such excellence networks are critically important. They increase the chances of finding innovative treatment approaches for patients with severe diseases such as cancer. Although great progress has been made in recent years, there is still a huge medical need in tumor treatment."

"Cancer is a great challenge for all of us. We need to overcome institutional boundaries and combine our knowledge and know-how in networks in order to be successful in combating this disease. We have already set standards for translational cancer research here in Heidelberg by joining clinical and scientific expertise in the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT). Over the past two years, our collaboration with Bayer HealthCare, an innovative and experienced partner from industry, has also taken an extremely promising course. We are convinced that our combined forces will continue to help translate research results even more swiftly into clinical application," stated Professor Otmar D. Wiestler, Scientific Director of DKFZ.

Bayer HealthCare and the German Cancer Research Center are looking back at two successful years of collaboration. Nine projects have been launched, one of which has even advanced to the level of substance screening, and others are almost there. The partners jointly decide on the start, continuation and management of projects. Finding new approaches for cancer treatment is the major focus of this alliance. Thus, the project "Centrosomal Clustering", for example, is aimed at developing substances which prevent defective regulation in cell division so as to stop tumor cell multiplication. Further steps are planned to expand collaboration in the area of translational research, i.e., to translate findings from basic research into clinical application and vice versa. Involvement of the National Center for Tumor Diseases in Heidelberg, a modern oncology center with an interdisciplinary approach operated by DKFZ and other partners, offers excellent possibilities for doing so.

About the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) Heidelberg
The National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) Heidelberg is a joint project of the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg University Hospitals, Thorax Clinic Heidelberg and German Cancer Aid (Deutsche Krebshilfe). The aim of NCT is to link promising approaches from cancer research with patient care from diagnosis over treatment to follow-up care and prevention. At the heart of NCT is the interdisciplinary Tumor Outpatient Clinic where patients benefit from an individual treatment plan provided in a timely manner by interdisciplinary expert boards called Tumor Boards. Participation in clinical trials provides access to innovative therapies. Thus, NCT is a trend-setting platform for the transfer of new research results from the laboratory to clinical practice.

About Bayer HealthCare
The Bayer Group is a research-based and growth-oriented global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, nutrition and high-tech materials. With sales of 15,988 Euro million (2009), Bayer HealthCare, a subsidiary of Bayer AG, is one of the world's leading, innovative companies in the health care and medical products industry and is based in Leverkusen, Germany. The company combines the global activities of the Animal Health, Consumer Care, Medical Care and Pharma divisions. Bayer HealthCare's aim is to discover, manufacture and market products that will improve human and animal health worldwide. More than 53,400 people are employed by Bayer Healthcare worldwide in more than 100 countries. Find more information at

A picture for this press release is available on the Internet at:

Picture caption: Multipolar, malformed spindle of a cancer cell
Picture source: German Cancer Research Center


Dr. Stefanie Seltmann (DKFZ), phone +49 6221 42 2854

Dr. Kerstin Crusius (BHC), phone +49 30 468 14726

Find more information at:

With more than 3,000 employees, the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) is Germany’s largest biomedical research institute. DKFZ scientists identify cancer risk factors, investigate how cancer progresses and develop new cancer prevention strategies. They are also developing new methods to diagnose tumors more precisely and treat cancer patients more successfully. The DKFZ's Cancer Information Service (KID) provides patients, interested citizens and experts with individual answers to questions relating to cancer.

To transfer promising approaches from cancer research to the clinic and thus improve the prognosis of cancer patients, the DKFZ cooperates with excellent research institutions and university hospitals throughout Germany:

  • National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT, 6 sites)
  • German Cancer Consortium (DKTK, 8 sites)
  • Hopp Children's Cancer Center (KiTZ) Heidelberg
  • Helmholtz Institute for Translational Oncology (HI-TRON Mainz) - A Helmholtz Institute of the DKFZ
  • DKFZ-Hector Cancer Institute at the University Medical Center Mannheim
  • National Cancer Prevention Center (jointly with German Cancer Aid)
The DKFZ is 90 percent financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and 10 percent by the state of Baden-Württemberg. The DKFZ is a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers.


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