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Nationwide Alliance Against Cancer

No. 54 | 29/10/2012 | by Koh

With the attendance of Germany´s Federal Minister Professor Dr. Annette Schavan and State Minister Theresia Bauer, the official launch of the German Consortium for Translational Cancer Research (DKTK) was celebrated today in Heidelberg.


The German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and Heidelberg University Hospital celebrated “Innovation in Oncology” today during a joint event. The Federal Minister of Education and Research, Professor Dr. Annette Schavan, said: “The establishment of the German Consortium for Translational Cancer Research opens up new possibilities to develop new ideas and to achieve real innovations in the treatment of cancer patients, as the best researchers from 20 institutions will cooperate on an interdisciplinary basis. We have created a unique setting where top-level oncology research can serve the benefit of people.”

Professor Dr. med. Dr. h.c. Otmar D. Wiestler, DKTK’s chief coordinator and Chairman of the Management Board of DKFZ: “We now aim to transfer the exemplary collaboration between cancer researchers and physicians we have established at the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) Heidelberg to the whole of Germany in the German Consortium for Translational Cancer Research.” Theresia Bauer, Minister of Science, Research and the Arts of the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg, added: “Combining excellent university hospitals with high-profile research at a Helmholtz Center is an important contribution to improving the chances of cancer patients.”

Professor Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Harald zur Hausen gave an account of the long journey which led from the discovery of papillomaviruses as a cause of cancer to a vaccination against cervical cancer. Nobel Prize winner zur Hausen emphasized the obligation of cancer researchers to continuously consider whether their results may be a starting point for new approaches in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. More than 160 scientists and physicians with their working groups at DKTK’s eight locations will be committed to this “translational” idea.

In a panel discussion scientists and oncologists of DKTK presented aspects of individual programs in the new consortium. These include radiation therapy, which is fighting cancer with unprecedented precision. Technical innovations like the unique gantry of Heidelberg Ion-Beam Therapy Center (HIT) contribute to this aim. Using the example of pediatric cancer, DKTK researchers explained the chances for improved cancer therapies emanating from sequencing individual tumor genomes. Efforts to develop targeted anti-cancer drugs will require a much higher number of clinical trials in the future, but each of these will include a smaller number of patients. The Clinical Communication platform of DKTK will ensure that patients have the possibility to participate in clinical trials best suited for them anywhere in Germany.

The partnership of the German Cancer Research Center with seven university hospitals has evolved from a joint initiative by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), German Cancer Aid (Deutsche Krebshilfe) and the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ). The consortium will help to translate current research results even more swiftly into patient care. At each of the partnering sites, a translational center will be established, which will be a joint project of DKFZ and the respective university hospital.

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the participating states will provide funds of approximately €12 million for the consortium this year. The annual budget will be successively raised to reach about €28 million by 2014. In addition, German Cancer Aid (Deutsche Krebshilfe) will provide additional funding for defined research projects upon request after evaluation.

The general scientific concept of the German Consortium for Translational Cancer Research provides for seven translational research programs in the areas of Signaling Pathways of Carcinogenesis, Molecular Diagnosis of Cancer, Tumor Immunology, Stem Cells and Cancer, Imaging and Radiation Therapy, Therapy Resistance, and Cancer Prevention and Early Detection. Several sites will participate in each of the programs.

Furthermore, research platforms will be available for all partnering sites. A Clinical Communication platform will ensure uniform diagnosis standards for all patients so that they may then be offered innovative treatment protocols in clinical trials. Various Service units will facilitate outsourcing of routine laboratory work and conducting it according to uniform standards. Preclinical Models will facilitate common access to animals that have been genetically modified to develop specific cancers. Substance Development will focus on collaboration with the pharmaceutical industry. Finally, the School of Oncology will provide education and training for natural scientists and medical researchers in the area of translational cancer research at the highest level.

Partnering sites and their coordinators

Charité University Medicine Berlin
Professor Dr. Reinhold Schäfer
Charité Comprehensive Cancer Center
Berlin University Medicine

University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus of Dresden Technical University
Professor Dr. Michael Baumann
University Cancer Center Dresden
University Hospitals Carl Gustav Carus of Dresden Technical University
Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics
Helmholtz Center Dresden-Rossendorf

Essen University Hospital of the University of Duisburg-Essen
Professor Dr. Martin Schuler
West German Cancer Center
Essen University
Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf

University Hospital Frankfurt/M.
Professor Dr. Hubert Serve
Tumorzentrum Rhein-Main of Frankfurt University Hospital
Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt/Main
Georg-Speyer-Haus, Frankfurt
Northwest Hospital, Frankfurt
University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz

University Medical Center of the Albert Ludwigs University Freiburg
Professor Dr. Christoph Peters
Comprehensive Cancer Center Freiburg
Freiburg University Hospital
Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology

German Cancer Research Center (core center of the consortium)
Professor Dr. Otmar D. Wiestler,
Professor Dr. Josef Puchta
German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) Heidelberg
University Medical Center of Ruprecht Karls University Heidelberg
National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) Heidelberg
Associated Partner: Paul Ehrlich Institute, Langen
Associated Partner: University of Cologne

Ludwig Maximilians University Munich
Professor Dr. Wolfgang Hiddemann
Ludwig Maximilians University Munich
Munich Technical University

University Medical Center of Eberhard Karls University Tübingen
Professor Dr. Klaus Schulze-Osthoff
Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Tübingen
Faculty of Life Sciences of Eberhard Karls University Tübingen

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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