Press and Public Relations

Visit to DKFZ - A clear signal

No. 38 | 17/07/2017 | by Koh

During the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to the German Cancer Research Center, they will tour a laboratory and converse with patients.

© DKFZ

The British Prince William and his wife, Duchess Catherine, will begin their Heidelberg visit on July 20 by making a stop at the German Cancer Research Center. "We are very proud that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have decided to visit the DKFZ. They have made a clear gesture which underlines the great importance of medical research for our society", said Prof. Dr. Michael Baumann, chairman and scientific chair of the DKFZ. His colleague, Prof. Dr. Josef Puchta, commercial chairman, added: "The decision to come to the DKFZ also serves to show that we are recognized internationally as a leading research institution."

The royals will be welcomed by Winfried Kretschmann, governor of the state of Baden-Württemberg, and the board of directors of the DKFZ. In addition, they will meet the Nobel Prize winner and long-time chairman of the DKFZ, Prof. Harald zur Hausen, for a brief conversation. Zur Hausen identified the Papillomavirus as the cause of cervical cancer and therefore paved the way for the development of a vaccine against this illness.

Afterwards, the couple will visit Dr. Michael Milsom in his laboratory. The British stem cell researcher leads the junior research group "Experimental Hematology". "I had never imagined that I would one day be presenting my research to my future King. This will be a very moving and exciting meeting for me", said the scientist. Milsom is a specialist for the development of blood stem cells. He will explain to the royal couple how a misdirected gene in blood stem cells can cause a particularly aggressive form of blood cancer.

After the laboratory visit, the royal couple will have a brief conversation with a cancer patient, who will be accompanied by her doctor, Prof. Dirk Jäger, the director for medical oncology at the NCT Heidelberg. The Duke and Duchess will learn how the most modern research results are applied directly to custom therapies. "The cancer researchers and medical doctors in Heidelberg are working together every day to remove the fear around cancer and to enable every patient to have a custom therapy which most optimally suits their needs", emphasized Michael Baumann. "We are very excited that we will be able to share this with our guests."

The German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) with its more than 3,000 employees is the largest biomedical research institute in Germany. At DKFZ, more than 1,000 scientists investigate how cancer develops, identify cancer risk factors and endeavor to find new strategies to prevent people from getting cancer. They develop novel approaches to make tumor diagnosis more precise and treatment of cancer patients more successful. The staff of the Cancer Information Service (KID) offers information about the widespread disease of cancer for patients, their families, and the general public. Jointly with Heidelberg University Hospital, DKFZ has established the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) Heidelberg, where promising approaches from cancer research are translated into the clinic. In the German Consortium for Translational Cancer Research (DKTK), one of six German Centers for Health Research, DKFZ maintains translational centers at seven university partnering sites. Combining excellent university hospitals with high-profile research at a Helmholtz Center is an important contribution to improving the chances of cancer patients. DKFZ is a member of the Helmholtz Association of National Research Centers, with ninety percent of its funding coming from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the remaining ten percent from the State of Baden-Württemberg.

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