The National Center for Tumor Diseases – NCT Heidelberg was founded as an alliance between the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg University Medical School (HUMS), the Heidelberg Medical Faculty, and German Cancer Aid (Deutsche Krebshilfe). NCT Heidelberg has rapidly become the primary comprehensive cancer center in Germany and is uniquely positioned to benefit from the wealth and depth of DKFZ cancer research and the Heidelberg biomedical campus. In the meantime DKFZ is establishing cooperations with local medical universities as the NCT partner site in Dresden. DKFZ has also established cooperation with 7 leading university medical centers in Germany, the so called German Cancer Consortium (DKTK) to further promote translational cancer research.
NCT Heidelberg provides infrastructure and resources that integrate and support all of DKFZ’s and HUMS’s clinical and translational cancer research activities. NCT’s mission is to foster interdisciplinary oncology for an optimized development of current clinical therapies, and to rapidly transfer scientific knowledge into clinical applications through a comprehensive concept of translational and preventive oncology. DKFZ provides NCT with full access to its excellent research infrastructure and resources. NCT is the clinical pipeline for all of DKFZ’s translational cancer research activities. On the clinical side, all of the HUMS departments involved in clinical cancer care consider every oncology patient in Heidelberg an NCT patient.
ACCC is founded in Athens, Greece with excellent researchers and clinicians. Activated initially through bilateral collaborations in translational research, ACCC will cover a wide spectrum of oncological treatment, cancer research, and training with the participating clinics and laboratories. This close connection between the faculty of medicine, hospital clinics and translational laboratories in cancer research is a model for the "ACCC concept" as the central strategy.
Both comprehensive cancer centers in Heidelberg and Athens will join forces in cooperative projects, for example, joint clinical trials, genomic analysis of tumor samples for a precision oncology approach, complemented by an integrated radiogenomic analysis.
Through an extended cooperation in complementary and synergistic fields, a great opportunity is now provided to develop NCT Heidelberg with a partner location in Athens into an international leading center for patient oriented translational cancer research. The structures and expertise in Heidelberg and Athens present ideal conditions for the success of such a project. They will be enhanced and optimized by the interaction with the Athens location.
The planned cross national cooperation of NCT with ACCC strengthen the new NCT partner site in Dresden and the German Cancer Consortium (DKTK). DKTK can be utilized in manifold interactions with other partner locations. In particular the NCT access to high-throughput technologies and bioinformatic analysis offers joint studies with the DKTK partners. The planning and implementation of mutual innovative studies in Heidelberg and Athens can be carried out in a collaboration with the DKTK partners. The intensified collaboration between both locations in the field of individualized cancer medicine can serve as a model for the development of further international partnerships within DKTK.
Within the structural partnership with University Clinics and Research Centers, through the ACCC concept network, the DKFZ can exploit links in the area of cancer research with ACCC partner organizations in Athens, such as Alexandra Hospital and Ag Sophia University Oncology and Pediatric Oncology Clinics respectively, the basic and translational research institutions National Hellenic Research Foundation (NHRF) and the National Centre for Scientific Research „Demokritos“. In the area of oncological care, this alliance in precision oncology will benefit partners on both sides.
The postgraduate schools with their master-, postgraduate- and clinical programs, as well as the educational activities of UCC and the ACCC partner location in Athens, are continually training young researchers and clinical scientists for translational and interdisciplinary research projects in the key aspects of precision oncology in Athens. These activities will be closely linked to the Heidelberg- and DKTK School of Oncology.