Cookie Settings

We use cookies to optimize our website. These include cookies that are necessary for the operation of the site, as well as those that are only used for anonymous statistic. You can decide for yourself which categories you want to allow. Further information can be found in our data privacy protection .


These cookies are necessary to run the core functionalities of this website and cannot be disabled.

Name Webedition CMS
Purpose This cookie is required by the CMS (Content Management System) Webedition for the system to function correctly. Typically, this cookie is deleted when the browser is closed.
Name econda
Purpose Session cookie emos_jcsid for the web analysis software econda. This runs in the “anonymized measurement” mode. There is no personal reference. As soon as the user leaves the site, tracking is ended and all data in the browser are automatically deleted.

These cookies help us understand how visitors interact with our website by collecting and analyzing information anonymously. Depending on the tool, one or more cookies are set by the provider.

Name econda
Purpose Statistics
External media

Content from external media platforms is blocked by default. If cookies from external media are accepted, access to this content no longer requires manual consent.

Name YouTube
Purpose Show YouTube content
Name Twitter
Purpose activate Twitter Feeds

Towards individualized cancer medicine for each patient: Dietmar Hopp Foundation will support an initiative at the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) Heidelberg with €15 million

No. 24 | 20/05/2014 | by Sel

Comprehensive genome analyses of cancer cells have shown that each tumor and cancer patient are unique and need to be treated individually. To pave the way, by 2015 the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) Heidelberg aims to offer cancer patients at the NCT analyses of their individual cancer genomes to be used as the basis for personalized recommendations for treatment. This initiative from the DKFZ and NCT has been made possible by generous support from the Dietmar Hopp Foundation. The long-term goal is to facilitate the transition of research findings into applications and thus make individualized cancer treatment a part of standard clinical care. Leading technology companies including SAP, Molecular Health and GATC Biotech are collaborating in the project.
Joint Press Release of the Dietmar Hopp Foundation and the German Cancer Research Center

© Philip Benjamin / NCT, DKFZ

The National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) Heidelberg was established by the DKFZ, Heidelberg University Hospital, the Medical Faculty of Heidelberg and German Cancer Aid (Deutsche Krebshilfe) and has developed into Germany's leading Comprehensive Cancer Center over the past 10 years. “Scientists from the DKFZ and the NCT have made essential contributions toward the development of individualized cancer medicine, particularly in the area of genome research,” says Professor Otmar D. Wiestler, Chairman of DKFZ’s Management Board. The DKFZ currently is home to the second-largest sequencing unit in Europe and is offering whole-genome sequencing of individuals’ cancer cells to a growing number of patients at the NCT.

“In the future, individual differences in the molecular profile of tumors will increasingly serve as a basis for therapeutic decisions,” says Professor Christof von Kalle, coordinator of NCT's board of directors. “This is the basis for a systematical development of individualized cancer medicine at the NCT and the establishment of a world-leading center in individualized cancer medicine.”

By 2015, the DKFZ and Heidelberg University Hospital aim to offer individual genome sequencing that will be used to make treatment recommendations for every patient at the NCT. After initial clinical trials, the procedure will become a standard part of the care covered by a person’s health insurance. “Thus, all cancer patients in our region and beyond will be given a chance to benefit from advances in individualized cancer medicine,” says Dietmar Hopp. His extremely generous support for the project will amount to €15 million over the next five years. “Medical developments for the benefit of patients and their families are a major focus of my foundation's activities.”

The overall aim of the project is to facilitate the transition of research findings into applications and thus make individualized cancer treatment a part of standard clinical care, at which point it should be approved and covered by health insurance companies. The DKFZ and the NCT are collaborating with leading technology companies to accelerate these developments.

GATC Biotech AG is collaborating in the project by generating genome sequencing data under certified conditions. “GATC has been a partner of the NCT for many years in the area of sequence analysis for clinical purposes,” says Peter Pohl, CEO and co-founder of GATC Biotech. “Our quality standards and certifications make us a reliable partner of the NCT in its endeavors to introduce tumor profiling into standard care.”

from left to right: Prof. Guido Adler, Peter Pohl, Prof. Dirk Jäger, Dr. Werner Eberhardt, Prof. Christof von Kalle, Dietmar Hopp, Dr. Friedrich von Bohlen, Prof. Otmar D. WiestlerPicture: Drehkreuz Videoproduction/Holger Bonrath

SAP AG is contributing its innovative in-memory technology SAP HANA for the real-time analysis and management of large amounts of patient data. Bernd Leukert, SAP's Application-innovation head and member of the Executive Board, states: “The SAP HANA platform has allowed us to develop applications that exactly meet the needs of the experts at the NCT Heidelberg. Together, we helped the technology leap forward with the NCT DataWareHouse, an innovative new platform for cancer research.”

Molecular Health GmbH is using its software TreatmentMAPTM to carry out an individualized genomic analysis of each patient’s tumor and provide an interpretation in the clinical context. The resulting recommendation will help physicians determine the best treatment. TreatmentMAPTM is the first registered medical product of its kind for individualized cancer medicine in Europe. “Cancer is a life-threatening disease whose diagnosis and treatment requires the utmost precision,” says Dr. Friedrich von Bohlen, Chairman at Molecular Health. “Rapid and correct diagnosis, individual therapies and how they should be adjusted over time are essential to successfully fighting cancer. We provide information systems that swiftly help doctors make precise diagnoses and individual recommendations for treatment, at any time.”

Initially, specific recommendations for treatment that are produced through this system will be issued to the physicians in charge and then will be examined in clinical trials. The first “proof of concept” trial will involve approximately 50 patients. Its aim is to ensure that data flow and interfaces used by collaborators in the project are working correctly and efficiently. A larger study involving about 1000 patients will follow, aiming to assess the clinical benefits and the potential economic impact of individualized cancer medicine.

The project will be carried out using two complementary approaches: Scientists at the DKFZ will sequence the whole genomes of cancer cells and examine them for alterations. At GATC Biotech, a selection of approximately 600 genes known to play a role in cancer will be examined for aberrations. Molecular Health’s TreatmentMAPTM will interpret the results and make them comparable. “We want to find out whether there are further important alterations across the genome that not only have an impact on the onset and progression of a disease but are also relevant for treatment decisions,” says von Kalle, explaining the motivation for the joint approach.

“We are pleased that the generous support for this innovative project from the Dietmar Hopp Foundation will enable us to implement our goals at the Heidelberg site in the near future,” says Otmar D. Wiestler. “We are very grateful to Dietmar Hopp, whose support will help us provide access to customized therapy for tumor patients in the Metropolitan Region Rhine-Neckar and also throughout Germany, through the German Cancer Consortium (DKTK).”

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.


Subscribe to our RSS-Feed.

to top
powered by webEdition CMS