News from the BioCity Campus

Top care for cancer patients in Saxony and Thuringia

The Cancer Center of Excellence Central Germany (Comprehensive Cancer Center Central Germany, CCCG) has started its work after the successful assessment by the German Cancer Aid. In the merger initiated in 2019, the oncological centers of the university hospitals in Leipzig and Jena have been working together, since January 1, 2023 as part of a top-level oncological center funded by the German Cancer Aid. The Central German Cancer Center is the first of the 15 oncological centers of excellence nationwide to operate across the federal states. His goal: to ensure the best possible cancer care for those affected in the respective region, also by quickly transferring current, innovative findings from cancer research into clinical practice.

In the past year, the German Cancer Aid has intensified its efforts to further develop cancer medicine and to provide patient care at the highest level and has launched two further alliances of top centers. One of them is the consortium of the two university hospitals in Leipzig and Jena, which have been creating the conditions for this development in the Central German Cancer Center since 2019. The new center will be funded with 4,8 million euros for four years.

"We are very happy about this success of our cancer doctors, from which patients throughout Central Germany will benefit," says Prof. Dr. Christoph Josten, Medical Director of the University Hospital Leipzig (UKL). The development that began with the founding of the university cancer center UCCL in Leipzig in 2012 has now achieved an important goal. "The fact that we are taking the next step in cancer medicine in close cooperation with the Jena University Hospital is logical and future-oriented in the best sense of the word," says Josten.

"Our alliance is the appropriate answer to the questions of the time, which are also being asked about the widespread disease of cancer," adds Prof. Otto W. Witte, Medical Director of the Jena University Hospital (UKJ). "By pooling our knowledge and skills, we help those affected and future generations in the best possible way - now also supported by the German Cancer Aid, for which we are very grateful".

Gap closed in the region 

“With the Central German Cancer Center of the university locations Leipzig and Jena, the care of cancer patients in the entire region is brought to the highest level. This Comprehensive Cancer Center consortium is another component of our funding program to establish such centers. This closes a gap in this region. Important comprehensive cancer center structures according to the ideas of the German Cancer Aid have not yet been established in Central Germany. The German Cancer Aid is now funding 15 top-level oncological centers nationwide, including seven CCC consortia,” says Gerd Nettekoven, Chairman of the Board of the German Cancer Aid.

Great opportunity for cancer patients in Saxony and Thuringia  

"Being part of this large network is a major task that we are happy to take on," emphasizes Prof. Dr. Florian Lordick, Spokesman of the CCCG Board and Director of the University Cancer Center at Leipzig University Hospital. This means that patients in Central Germany can now also benefit from the best possible care from a top oncological center. Multidisciplinary teams ensure that the best possible care is provided for a wide variety of cancers. "Every year we treat over 9000 cancer patients together and can include every third person in one of over 500 ongoing oncology studies at our center," says Lordick. This means that all patients receive innovative therapies based on the latest research. "In order to be as effective as possible, we have joined forces with 76 network partners and offer second opinions from our experts or the discussion of patients from the network in the weekly multidisciplinary tumor boards," says Lordick, citing the advantages for the entire region out of.

cooperative cancer research
"As a top oncological center, we have also made it our goal to advance clinical and translational cancer research," comments Prof. Andreas Hochhaus, member of the CCCG board and head of the University Tumor Center at Jena University Hospital (UKJ). With reference to the respective research competencies of the individual clinics, the focus is on the two overarching research areas "Immune and cell therapy - IMMUNE-ACT" and "Digitally supported precision surgery and local therapy - DISSECT".

Both clinics have phase I study units, the Jena Early Clinical Trial Unit (JECTU) and the Early Clinical Trial Unit Leipzig (ECTUL), and thus central building blocks for translational research.

"This ensures access to early clinical studies in all oncological disciplines," says Hochhaus. This quick access to the latest research results is particularly important for people whose cancer has come back or for whom standard therapy has failed.

"In addition, we attach great importance to the promotion of young scientists at all levels, from studies to doctoral to postgraduate phase." The Cancer Congress Compact also takes place every year, offering all those interested in the region specialist information on current developments in cancer medicine and research and, in addition to the many joint publications and research projects, also demonstrates the excellent oncological cutting-edge research in Central Germany.

Mike Mohring, member of the Thuringian state parliament, member of the CCCG patient and relatives advisory board and ambassador of the German Cancer Aid, added from his point of view: “With its support, the German Cancer Aid sets three important signals for the people who are at home in Central Germany: Excellent research funding also takes place in the East. For patients and their relatives, this message that excellent cancer care is possible in their own region is an encouragement.

What has long since been experienced through the top centers in other regions of Germany that have already been funded means for the patients confronted with the fateful news that just because I live far away from a university clinic in the countryside and poorly cared for, the fight against cancer is not hopeless from the outset, but with the promise of being able to share in the experience of the cancer centers, the research results and their implementation in therapies.

And thirdly, the decision of the German Cancer Aid for the Central German CCCG is also a manifest expectation of politicians to accompany the Cancer Center of Excellence in its further development in a trusting and reliable manner and to invest in the two university clinics in a plannable manner, to expand the research location of Central Germany, humanely and to expand dental study places and to enable the study conditions for all students at the same high level as well as to make medical care in rural areas so future-proof that the first way for patients does not have to be the university clinic itself, but they do have access to top medicine in a familiar environment can benefit.”

Background: CCC Comprehensive Cancer Center

In 2007, the German Cancer Aid set up its program for the promotion and initiation of 'oncological top centers' in Germany with the aim of nationwide patient care at the highest medical level and according to the current oncological knowledge. The "Comprehensive Cancer Center" in the USA served as a model. The requirements for the centers, which have since been determined by an international expert commission: to further develop care structures and processes, to cooperate closely with surrounding hospitals and resident doctors, especially practices specializing in oncology, and to advance cancer medicine through innovative oncological research.

The core tasks of a Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCC) include providing a central contact point for cancer patients, interdisciplinary care according to current medical guidelines, innovative cancer research and the transfer of innovations to other care facilities in the respective region.

According to the understanding of the German Cancer Aid, the progress made in the CCCs should be made available to all oncological care facilities nationwide - such as the 'Clinical Oncological Centers' and 'Organ Cancer Centers' certified by the German Cancer Society - so that all cancer patients can quickly benefit from them.

The German Cancer Aid is currently funding 15 top centers, including seven CCC consortia. In total, the non-profit organization has provided around 2007 million euros for the program since 185 from donations entrusted to it by the population.

The top oncological centers – in which around 250.000 cancer patients receive comprehensive care every year – are each funded by the German Cancer Aid for a period of four years. They then have to apply again and undergo a thorough examination by an international committee of experts.

The Central German Cancer Center
The certified oncological centers of the University Hospitals Leipzig (UCCL) and Jena (UTC) have been working together in the Comprehensive Cancer Center Central Germany (CCCG) since 2019. Since January 01.01.2023st, XNUMX, the CCCG has been designated as a top oncological center after international assessment through funding from the German Cancer Aid. This makes the Central German Cancer Center the first cross-state center in Germany.

Every year, more than 9000 cancer patients are treated in Leipzig and Jena. This shows the great need for excellent cancer treatment in the city and region.

76 cooperation partners in the Central German region already belong to the CCCG consortium and thus form a broad network for the joint high-quality care of oncological patients.

Source: Press release University of Leipzig from April 26.01.2023th, XNUMX

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