NCT Research

Research Structure at NCT Heidelberg

Priority Areas and Clinical Cancer Research Programs

Precision medicine has been implemented as the overarching research strategy, including personalized strategies in radiation oncology, surgical oncology, medical oncology, immunology, genomics, proteomics, prevention and early clinical development.

In line with this strategy, the research structure of the NCT is defined by three main priority areas, namely (1) Precision Local Therapy and Image-Guidance, subdivided into Radiation Oncology and Surgical Oncology, (2) Immunotherapy and (3) Molecular Stratification (Figure 2-2). In addition to these three main priority areas, Pediatric Oncology and Cancer Prevention build research programs across the priority areas (see Figure 2-2, lower gray bars). This section addresses all six research programs in more detail including the specific mission and strategy of each program as well as selected highlight activities.

A comprehensive patient-oriented research platform is provided by the Clinical Cancer Research Programs (CPs, see Figure 2-2, upper gray bar and Figure 2-3). The CPs are primarily defined by specific groups of tumor types but increasingly incorporate disease mechanism-guided diagnostic and therapeutic approaches and systematically integrate basic, preclinical, translational and clinical research. These entity- and mechanism-oriented, coordinated research programs ensure the efficient and continuous transfer of interdisciplinary, personalized and innovative findings from bench to bedside and back.

Clinical Cancer Research Programs (CP)

The three priority areas are closely linked to the CPs, which ideally, are intertwined with each of these main areas. The aim of this linked structure is to facilitate both umbrella and basket trials in defined and well-characterized patient cohorts. The matrix formed by the priority areas and the CPs reflects the idea of a true comprehensive cancer center.

NCT Heidelberg Core Services

Interdisciplinary NCT Core Services - the NCT Trial Center, NCT Tissue and BioMaterial Banks and NCT Cancer Registry - form an infrastructure to facilitate translation of personalized oncology. DKFZ provides dedicated core facilities, operated by staff scientists, who aid NCT researchers and external NCT collaborators. Service areas include a genomics and proteomics core facility, an animal laboratory core facility, a core facility for microscopy, a flow cytometry core facility, an EMBL/DKFZ core facility for substance screening and chemical modification, and the biostatistics services division.

Cooperations & Networks

Innovative research and new treatment strategies demand interdisciplinary networking and collaboration. In order for patients to benefit from new diagnostic and therapeutic approches, the NCT Heidelberg cooperates with numerous organisations. The partnerships of the NCT Heidelberg combine competences that contribute systematicaly to further peronalised cancer treatments.