Federal Research Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger has now officially confirmed the designation of the Robert Bosch Hospital along with the oncology centres in Tübingen (CSS-TS) and Ulm (CCCU) as “NCT-SüdWest” (NCT South-West). Together, this makes them one of six centres in Germany in the extended National Centre for Tumour Diseases (NCT). This extended NCT will ultimately be funded with 98 million euros per year, which makes it the largest financial network funding for national cancer research ever.
The Germany-wide NCT network will give more patients faster access to innovative cancer therapies.
Prior to confirmation, there was a two-year strategy phase in which the newly selected NCT sites had to develop and present a strategy concept. “The decision by the International Board of Experts and the BMBF fills us with pride and confirms our common goal of taking clinical cancer research to a new level,” emphasises Prof. Dr. Lars Zender, Coordinator of the NCT SouthWest and Medical Director of Medical Oncology and Pneumology at the University Hospital in Tübingen.
Clinical trials for innovative cancer therapies
The overarching objective of the nationwide NCT sites is to support clinical cancer research in Germany and to provide more patients with faster access to new innovative cancer therapies. To this end, the number of clinical trials in oncology will be significantly increased. In particular, the financial support should help transfer self-developed therapy concepts to the phases of clinical testing. The extended NCT is a long-term cooperation between the German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ) and partners in university medicine and research at various locations in Germany.
The concept of “patients as research partners” will play a major role here. “Patient participation in clinical research is a decisive factor and is a novelty in this form in German cancer research,” explains Prof. Dr. Hartmut Döhner, coordinator of the partner site in Ulm and Medical Director of the Clinic for Internal Medicine III at the University Hospital in Ulm. Each NCT site will have regional NCT patient councils, with an overarching “National NCT Research Council” in close cooperation with the Patient Expert Academy (PEAK).
Patients will be integrated in clinical research on an equal footing right from the start.
“We want to approach cancer research together with the patients.”
"This is another decisive step towards our common goal of improving the prognosis and thus the quality of life of cancer patients”, says Prof. Dr. Matthias Schwab, coordinator of the partner site Stuttgart and Head of the Dr. Margarete Fischer-Bosch-Institute for Clinical Pharmacology (IKP) at the Bosch Health Campus (BHC), which also includes the Robert Bosch Hospital and the Robert Bosch Centre for Tumour Diseases. In addition to contributing broad pharmacological expertise, the Stuttgart site will also support the NCT-SW by recruiting cancer patients from the Stuttgart metropolitan region.
The NCT SouthWest assumes a pioneering role in Germany in the field of academically developed, new targeted molecular therapies. New therapeutics, developed at the TÜCAD2 (Tübingen Centre for Academic Drug Discovery and Development) are now to be transferred to the clinical testing phase at the NCT, together with new imaging methods and new forms of immunotherapy. The NCT SouthWest partner sites profit from the long-standing and successful cooperation of the two oncological centres of excellence Tübingen-Stuttgart and Ulm and the joint implementation of clinical trials and in establishing the network of Centres for Personalised Medicine.