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Changeover in the Cancer Prevention Unit: Ute Mons is taking over from Martina Pötschke-Langer

No. 33 | 31/08/2016 | by Sel

On September 1, 2016 Dr. Ute Mons will take over as Head of the Cancer Prevention Unit at the German Cancer Research Center, which also serves as the WHO Collaboration Center for Tobacco Control. She will be replacing Dr. Martina Pötschke-Langer, who headed the unit since it was established 19 years ago, and is now retiring.

Changeover in the Cancer Prevention Unit: Ute Mons (left) is taking over from Martina Pötschke-Langer
© Jutta Jung/DKFZ

"The aim of the unit has always been to make a significant contribution to reducing tobacco consumption, as this is the most important single risk factor for cancer", explains Professor Michael Boutros, Acting Scientific Director of the DKFZ. Around 120,000 people in Germany die every year as a direct consequence of smoking, 35,000 of them from lung cancer.

Martina Pötschke-Langer and her team have produced numerous publications, fact sheets and background information on the subject of smoking, tobacco, and protection of non-smokers, and acted as a consultant for political decision-makers. She made an important contribution to significantly reduce tobacco consumption since 2002, especially amongst adolescents and young people. She points out that they also "contributed significantly towards the introduction of the legislation on nonsmokers' protection, and the transposition of the European Tobacco Product Directive into national law".

Ute Mons studied sociology and epidemiology and already worked in the Cancer Prevention Unit as a research assistant from 2007 until 2012. She subsequently changed to the Division of Clinical Epidemiology and Aging Research under Prof. Hermann Brenner, where she investigated the correlation between smoking and chronic diseases associated with old age. Mons has set herself a big challenge: "It is particularly important to me to continue promoting cancer prevention in Germany."

Ute Mons plans to extend the central area of tobacco prevention by the prevention of other avoidable cancer risk factors, such as excess weight. "Above all, we want to continue raising public awareness with our results. The only successful way to really prevent cancer is to inform opinion leaders and policy makers about scientific evidence on cancer risk factors, as well as effective measures and prevention strategies."

An image for this press release is available for download at

Changeover in the Cancer Prevention Unit: Ute Mons is taking over from Martina Pötschke-Langer

The German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) with its more than 3,000 employees is the largest biomedical research institution in Germany. More than 1,300 scientists at the DKFZ investigate how cancer develops, identify cancer risk factors and search for new strategies to prevent people from developing cancer. They are 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 all questions on cancer.

Jointly with partners from the university hospitals, the DKFZ operates the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) in Heidelberg and Dresden, and the Hopp Children's Cancer Center KiTZ in Heidelberg. In the German Consortium for Translational Cancer Research (DKTK), one of the six German Centers for Health Research, the DKFZ maintains translational centers at seven university partner locations. NCT and DKTK sites combine excellent university medicine with the high-profile research of the DKFZ. They contribute to the endeavor of transferring promising approaches from cancer research to the clinic and thus improving the chances of cancer patients.

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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