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United against cancer

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German Consortium for Translational Cancer Research is launched

Today federal minister of science professor Dr. Annette Schavan announced the decision on the support of the German centers of health research. This allows the German Consortium for translational cancer research to begin its work. An international panel of experts certified the overall concept of the Consortium, a partnership between the German Cancer Research Center and seven academic sites of the highest excellence. The consortium is accordingly promoted to the extent of the contract: the annual budget of five million euros this year will gradually increase. From 2014, the funding will amount to approximately 30 million euros yearly.

The partnership of the German Cancer Research Center with seven University sites is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the German Cancer Aid and the German Cancer Research Center. The consortium aims to transfer the latest research results quickly into the patient's care.  "In the research of cancer, we have achieved decisive progress in recent years" says Professor Dr. Otmar D. Wiestler, Chairman of the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ).  "Now it is time to transfer this knowledge from the laboratory into clinical practice."
The German Consortium for Translational Cancer Research offers us the ideal platform. "At each of the partner sites a Translation Centre is furnished, which is staffed conjointly by the German Cancer Research Center and the respective University.  "The collaboration of eight partners and the introduction of clinical expertise will also lend international visibility to Germany“, explains Professor Dr. Peter Michael Schlag, head of the Charité Comprehensive Cancer Centers (CCCC). The scientific concept of the partners in the German Consortium for translational cancer research provides seven translational research programs in the areas of signaling pathways of carcinogenesis, molecular diagnosis of cancer, tumor immunology, stem cells and cancer, imaging and radiotherapy, resistance to therapy and cancer prevention and early detection. The Charité comprehensive cancer center is involved in all programs except "Cancer prevention and early detection".

In addition, there will be five research platforms which are available to all partner locations: The clinical communications platform will enable the researchers to exchange findings and to diagnose patients subject to standard conditions, in order to be able to treat patients subsequently in the best way possible in larger clinical trials. Various service units allow outsourcing of routine laboratory work and thus their implementation according to uniform standards. They also provide common access to animals that develop certain cancers due to genetic changes in preclinical models. In drug development, it focuses on selected areas and on cooperation with the pharmaceutical industry. And finally scientists and medical doctors in the field of translational cancer research should be trained to the highest levels in the school of Oncology.

In November of last year, the international panel of experts decided on the choice of the partner sites of the consortium.  The DKFZ takes over the function of the Core Center and together with the university medical Center of Heidelberg, introduced the national center for tumor illnesses (NCT) into the syndicate. As partner locations were selected:

- CharitéUniversitätsmedizin Berlin, Comprehensive Cancer Center
- Universitäts KrebsCentrum, Universitätsklinikum Carl GustavCarus, Technische Universität Dresden
- Westdeutsches Tumorzentrum, Universitätsklinikum Essen (in cooperation with Universitätsklinikum Düsseldorf)
- Universitäres Centrum für Tumorerkrankungen (UCT), Klinikum der Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe Universität Frankfurt (in cooperation with Universitätsklinikum Mainz)
- Tumorzentrum Ludwig Heilmeyer – Comprehensive Cancer Center Freiburg, Universitätsklinikum Freiburg
- Klinikum der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Klinikum der Technischen Universität München
- Südwestdeutsches Tumorzentrum – Comprehensive Cancer Center, Universitätsklinikum Tübingen

Prof. Wiestler, looking forward to the cooperation and the success of the consortium is convinced. "With these fine partners we will be able to achieve significant improvements for patients in many areas of cancer research and cancer medicine".

After the establishment of the consortium, the German Cancer Aid provides additional funding on request and after appropriate review for defined projects of the University partners.  "With this program the German Cancer Aid is an indispensable contributor to the consortium "says Prof. Wiestler.

Thus, the Federal Government pursues the nationwide strategy that the German Consortium for translational cancer research will be one of the four "German centers for health research", on which the Ministry has now decided. With it the Federal Government wants to promote a strategic cooperation of the best scientists and clinicians in the study of major human diseases on a national level.  The model provides for an equal partnership between non-university centers, universities and university hospitals.

Since 2009, the German Centre for Neurodegenerative Diseases and the German Center for Diabetes Research have successfully implemented this model of national centers.

The Charité Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCCC) is funded by the German Cancer Aid as an Oncology Centre of excellence.  It is member of the Federation of European Tumor Centers (OECI) and is certificated by the German cancer society as an Oncological Center.
All Charité locations with their various professional disciplines involved in tumor therapy are networked in the CCCC to guarantee interdisciplinary and comprehensive care of tumour patients.  From clinical expert panels, closely linked with scientific research groups, new approaches to diagnosis and treatment of cancer are developed, applied and further developed.  Under the umbrella of CCCC, every patient should receive direct access to the latest national and international treatment strategies and treatment studies. The German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) is the largest biomedical research institute in Germany and a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. More than 2,500 employees, including more than 1,000 scientists explore the mechanisms of carcinogenesis, and work on the recognition of cancer risk factors.  They provide the basis for the development of new approaches in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.  In addition, employees of the cancer information service (KID) clarify to family members and interested members of the public, the widespread disease of cancer.  The Center is financed 90 percent by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and to 10 per cent by the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg.


Claudia Peter
Geschäftsbereich Unternehmenskommunikation
CharitéUniversitätsmedizin Berlin
t.: +49 30 450 570 503

Dr. Stefanie Seltmann
Leiterin Presse- und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit
Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum
Im Neuenheimer Feld 280
D-69120 Heidelberg
T: +49 6221 42 2854
F: +49 6221 42 2968

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