For certain cancerous diseases, including some types of leukaemia, the prospects for a permanent cure have improved. In the case of wide-spread forms of cancer such as breast cancer or bowel cancer, survival rates have risen. Nevertheless, cancer is the second most common cause of death in Germany, following cardiovascular diseases.
That is why cancer research has been a priority of the BMBF's research funding for many years. In order to bring medical research results to hospitals and surgeries more quickly, the BMBF launched four new Centres for Health Research in April 2011. One of them is the German Consortium for Translational Cancer Research.
The BMBF supports cancer research in different areas: on the one hand, funding is provided for selected very specific individual projects dedicated to particular cancerous diseases, and on the other hand, it is provided for interdisciplinary collaborations that study cross-cutting topics relevant to various diseases. This coordinated and cooperative research programme will lead to the development of new therapies.
Researchers decoding biomedical mysteries. ©PT DLR/BMBFNational Genome Research Network (NGFN): Nine medical genome research collaborations (NGFN-Plus) are studying cancerous diseases. Their research areas include diseases of the prostate, the bowel, or the pancreas, leukaemia (blood cancer), brain tumours, and types of cancer that mainly affect children. These supra-regional research collaborations are conducting genome research with the aim of identifying certain genes and proteins in order to be able to systematically analyse the molecular interaction of the causes of diseases and create a basis for the development of effective therapy strategies and new diagnostic methods. The BMBF is making about 46 million euros available for functional genome research into cancerous diseases between 2008 and 2011. After a successful interim evaluation, the funding will be extended until 2013 for five of the collaborations.
Another collaboration (NGFN-Transfer) is developing diagnostic procedures on the basis of DNA chips. Approximately 2.7 million euros are being made available for this purpose between 2008 and 2011.
Together with Deutsche Krebshilfe e.V. (German Cancer Aid), the BMBF is supporting the largest international project that studies the molecular causes of cancerous diseases. Thanks to this collaboration, a German research consortium is taking part in the International Cancer Genome Consortium until 2014. The German scientists are studying brain tumours in children. The aim is to find better approaches to prevention, diagnosis, and therapy. The German side is providing €15 million in funding for this purpose.
|Topic||Topic Duration from / until||Funding|
|Clinical trials||2005 - 2014||€9.4 million|
|NGFN-Transfer||2008 - 2011||€1.2 million|
|Molecular diagnostics||2007 - 2011||€9.2 million|
|KMU-innovativ||until 2011||€12.6 million|
|BioChancePLUS||until 2010||€12.3 million|
|GO-Bio||until 2011||€11.7 million|
|Glycobiotechnology||until 2010||€2.1 million|
An important pillar of cancer research in Germany is theGerman Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg, which receives institutional funding from the BMBF. Other institutions are also funded and make major contributions to explaining the causes of cancer and developing new therapies.
Georg Schütte, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, acknowledged the work of the Krebsinformationsdienst (cancer information service - KID) and stressed the role of KID as the national reference centre for cancer information during the festivities to mark the service's 25th anniversary in Heidelberg on 15 July 2011. Since its establishment, physicians and other health experts have been providing counselling and information on cancer prevention and diseases for patients, relatives and interested persons under the toll-free phone number 0800 - 4 20 30 40 or by e-mail. The BMBF is funding this service with 3.3 million euros each year. The Krebsinformationsdienst aims to enable patients to take an active part in deciding on medical measures in line with their individual situation. The Krebsinformationsdienst wants to improve communication between doctors and patients and support the process of joint decision making.
The Krebsinformationsdienst is also geared towards people who are interested in cancer prevention and early recognition or who have questions regarding risk factors. Furthermore, the Krebsinformationsdienst provides registered medical practitioners and doctors involved in treatment as well as staff in all other medical professions with information and contact partners.
The Krebsinformationsdienst is located at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg. Its mission as national reference centre for cancer information is to provide public access to current, quality controlled information on tumour diseases.
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