Funded projects 2016

Remaining in life

The "Remaining in Life" project is aimed at patients of working age. Specific counseling on occupationally relevant issues, individual coaching and group offerings to strengthen self-efficacy and to impart knowledge on socio-legal entitlements are to be implemented as part of the project. If necessary, intensive cooperation with employers and social service providers will help patients to reduce stress and remain in working life for longer.

The conceptual design, concrete objectives and planning of the project began in May of this year. By visiting the pension and health insurance companies and attending various training courses on related topics, the project officer was able to get a picture of the existing situation with regard to advice and care for people who are ill and in gainful employment. In the course of the conceptual design, it was determined that an evaluation of the project by third parties would be useful. For this purpose, two employees of the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences were recruited, who are exclusively dedicated to the scientific support.

The conceptual design of the project has been completed and in the new year the first patients will be advised within the framework of the project and included in the evaluation. Currently, we are still waiting for the positive vote of the ethics committee of the medical faculty.

Two questionnaire surveys are planned for the evaluation, and qualitative interviews will also be conducted with a selection of patients. In the further course, topic-related information events will also be offered, which will be evaluated separately. It is planned to include at least 200 patients of working age, regardless of their disease.

"We would like to thank all donors for their support. The donations have enabled us to realize the innovative project 'Staying in Life' by creating a social worker position as project officer."
Jürgen Walther, Social Services at the NCT

Measle viruses against cancer

At the NCT, measles viruses are being genetically reprogrammed so that they can be used against cancer tumors. To this end, researchers are developing a biotechnologically tamed measles virus to fight tumors. The viruses are genetically modified so that they can specifically kill tumor cells and at the same time impart an effective vaccination against the cancer.

Over the past 12 months, research in the laboratory has demonstrated that measles viruses can specifically activate certain immune cells against tumor cells. In addition, the researchers around Dr. Dr. Christine Engeland in the working group of Prof. Dr. Dr. Guy Ungerechts have succeeded in enhancing the effect on the immune system.

The next step on the way to tumor vaccination with measles viruses involves further research in the laboratory. This time, however, with tumor samples from patients. The researchers are developing tailored viruses that are adapted to the genetic makeup of the tumor. To do this, they are incorporating a small piece of the tumor's genetic material into the measles virus. The virus is then designed to alert the immune system to the tumor. Once this pre-clinical research is complete, preparations for a clinical trial can begin.

"We didn't think the results would look so good and promising. Many thanks to all the donors and supporters of the NCT who have made it possible for this project to develop so positively."
Dr. Dr. Christine Engeland, AG Virotherapy, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ)

Three-dimensionally against cancer

In radiotherapy, temporally resolved three-dimensional image data are generated and processed, which are analysed on two-dimensional computer monitors. Modern radiotherapy uses ionising radiation to cause maximum damage to the tumour while sparing healthy tissue. This goal requires the adequate presentation of various therapy-relevant information. However, the amount and complexity of this information is increasingly increasing, which is associated with a higher interpretation effort for the physician.

"The use of augmented reality glasses gives us completely new possibilities for three-dimensional representation, viewing and interaction with this data. This allows interdisciplinary teams to work together on both current and future issues in radiotherapy. Thank you for enabling us to further develop this innovative project with the help of the donations!"
Christian Bierstedt, Department of Medical Physics in Radiotherapy, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ)

Molecularly against cancer

Renal cell carcinoma is one of the ten most common cancers. Current therapies can only cure it to a very limited extent due to the complexity of the tumour. Prof. Dr. Carsten Grüllich and his team want to better understand the genetic map of the tumour and attack it more effectively. Thanks to the cooperation with the NCT Master Programme in Personalised Medicine, the DNA of the tumour has been sequenced since 2014 to identify mutations relevant to therapy.

"This study receives no funding from the pharmaceutical industry and it is the only study worldwide dedicated to this topic. With the donations, the study receives operational support. Among other things, a sequencing library with data analysis is being built, which makes the scientists' work extremely easier - thank you very much!"
Prof. Dr. Carsten Grüllich, Medical Oncology, NCT/University Hospital Heidelberg