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German Cancer Award for Michael Baumann

No. 12 | 21/02/2018 | by Koh

Michael Baumann, Chairman and Scientific Director of the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg, receives the 2017 German Cancer Award in the category "Translational Research". The science award, which is sponsored by the German Cancer Society and the German Cancer Foundation, is one of the most prestigious distinctions in cancer medicine in Germany.

Michael Baumann
© P. Benjamin, NCT Dresden

Established in 1986, the award is presented annually in equal parts for excellent research in experimental basic research, in translational research and in tumor diagnostics and treatment. Each category includes a monetary prize of €7,500. This year's awards will be presented at the 33rd German Cancer Congress in Berlin on February 22, 2018.

The German Cancer Award distinguishes current and seminal work in oncology which is rated outstanding in originality and quality. Award winner Michael Baumann has combined applied cancer research and clinical oncology in his work for many years.

Baumann is a physician, radiation oncologist and radiation biologist who has treated cancer patients by radiation therapy since 1990. From 2004 until 2016, he established the OncoRay National Center for Radiation Research in Oncology in Dresden and pursued the integration of new biological findings with advanced technologies in radiation therapy.

Since November 2016, Baumann has been Chairman and Scientific Director of the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) in Heidelberg and chairman and spokesperson of the steering committee of the German Cancer Consortium (DKTK). His own research focus is on individualized radiotherapy, where radiation-specific biomarkers are used to adjust radiation treatment to the individual patient.

Using modern image technology, scientists led by Baumann have developed, for example, a method to see the oxygen concentration in tumors of the head and neck. A radioactively labeled molecule accumulates in so-called hypoxic tumor areas, where oxygen levels are lower than normal. A PET camera captures images of this accumulation of the radioactive marker substance. The oxygen concentration in a tumor during irradiation plays an important role in treatment, because tumors in the head and neck with large oxygen-deprived areas are considerably more resilient to radio-chemotherapy compared to oxygen-rich tumors.

The results may help tailor the current standard therapy for head-and-neck cancer better to the individual patient. Based on the innovative imaging method, physicians are enabled to predict the effectiveness of combined radio-chemotherapy. If the prognosis for the patient is poor, radiotherapy might be intensified to increase the chances of cure.

Michael Baumann earned his degree as a medical doctor from Hamburg University in 1988. He went on to work as a post-doc at Massachusetts General Hospital at Harvard Medical School in Boston, USA, until late 1989. Following his training as a radiation therapy specialist, he attained his qualification to give lectures ('Habilitation') in Hamburg in 1994. In 1995, he joined the Medical Faculty Carl Gustav Carus in Dresden as head of Experimental Radiotherapy. In 2003, he became a founding director of the University Cancer Center Dresden (UCC). From 2010 until 2016, he worked as the director of Radiotherapy and Radiation Oncology at Dresden University Hospital and also as the director of the Institute of Radiooncology at the Helmholtz-Center in Dresden-Rossendorf.

Hartmut Goldschmidt (National Center for Tumor Diseases, Heidelberg) is awarded for „Clinical Research", Thomas Brabletz (Nikolaus-Fiebiger-Center for Molecular Medicine, University Erlangen) receives the award for „Experimental Research".

A photo of Michael Baumann is available for download at:

Note on use of images related to press releases
Use is free of charge. The German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) permits one-time use in the context of reporting about the topic covered in the press release. Images have to be cited as follows: "Source: P. Benjamin, NCT Dresden".
Distribution of images to third parties is not permitted unless prior consent has been obtained from DKFZ's Press Office (phone: ++49-(0)6221 42 2854, E-mail: Any commercial use is prohibited.

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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