NCT Heidelberg

National Center for Tumor Diseases in Heidelberg (NCT)

Interdisciplinary research, preventing and treating cancer

The National Centre for Tumor Diseases in Heidelberg (NCT) is the leading National Cancer Center in Germany.  The NCT was founded in 2004 by the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), the Heidelberg University Hospital , the Medical Faculty Heidelberg and German Cancer Aid (Deutsche Krebshilfe). They secure the financing and support the NCT through infrastructure and resources.


The founders created an institution that is unique in its construction: Research, therapy and prevention are all housed under one roof and interconnect in many ways. Research results are directly incorporated into patient treatment. The conditions are ideal for the primary aim of the NCT to optimize current clinical therapies, and to translate the latest research into clinical application as fast as possible.

The NCT also strives to offer each patient a personalized treatment option specifically tailored for his or her individual needs. This approach uses modern precision oncology and reaches far beyond the borders of traditional disciplines.

The NCT has structurally evolved from the first interdisciplinary oncological center (Comprehensive Cancer Center, CCC) into a National Center of Excellence with clearly defined priorities. In 2011, the groundbreaking precision oncology program NCT-POP was introduced. It follows a center-wide master strategy, which allows coordination of all translational activities and resources toward the purpose of individualized cancer therapy.

The NCT offers state-of-the-art interdisciplinary options for diagnostics, treatment and prevention of cancer-related diseases, as well as for progressive clinical trials. 300 studies are currently ongoing.

In this context, the Heidelberger Center for Personalized Oncology (DKFZ-HIPO) is a real innovation. NCT and DKFZ founded DKFZ-HIPO to facilitate molecular diagnostics. It is a platform for genomics and bioinformatics especially dedicated to clinical translation. A new and increasingly important tool here is the NCT DataThereHouse, a research database developed by the NCT together with SAP. NCT DataThereHouse is able to generate a working copy of all patient-related datasets from various types of IT sources. This helps to efficiently collect, evaluate and collate molecular and clinical data for clinical decision-making and translational research.

The NCT has a strictly patient-oriented strategy. Various clinical and scientifically outstanding cancer research programs provide the basis for interdisciplinary patient-care. These programs are illness-oriented in structure and provide a link between the research groups at NCT, DKFZ and Heidelberg University Hospital, with national and international networks in research and clinical studies.

In 2015 alone, approx. 12 00 patients newly diagnosed with cancer visits the NCT and more than 55 000 patient visit the NCT during consultation. The catchment area reaches well beyond the Rhine-Neckar area, and far across the country borders. Currently, 20% of NCT patients are enrolled in clinical trials.

In addition to the activities at NCT, many model projects on precision oncology are brought forward in collaboration with the German Cancer Consortium (DKTK), the National Cohort and the Helmholtz initiative on personalized medicine, iMed.

To be physically active, to get involved with innovative research projects and to set a sign against cancer – in three respects the charity run of the NCT Heidelberg  is a good thing. Running against cancer – how far would you go?

NCT-Concert ‘Musical Bars against Cancer’

There will be no tickets or seats on sale for the NCT charity concert but instead musical bars of the composition. If the musical bars are not completely sold, parts of the composition will remain silent. The discontinuation of the composition at a certain bar represents a drastic symbol for cancer: the diagnosis often comes similarly surprising and unpredictable.

Regatta ‘Rowing against Cancer’
At the charity regatta “Rowing against Cancer” patients, professionals, physicians and rowing-novices rowing for the good cause. The event is organized by the foundation “Living with Cancer”, the NCT Heidelberg and the Rowing Society of Heidelberg 1898 e.V. (RGH). Next to the water-race, there will be a variety of entertainment for visitors on the Neuenheimer Neckarwiese.

The donations will be given directly to the NCT Heidelberg and will be used for innovative research projects and programs for patients.

The enormous wealth of knowledge and experience at NCT should have an immediate impact on the training and development for physicians. Together with the Heidelberg School of Oncology (HSO), the NCT has established an extensive training program for scientists and physicians. It covers key aspects of clinical and translational research, as well as interdisciplinary patient-care in trans-institutional curricula. Intensive training in scientific and clinical modules, training courses and events as well as the annual DKTK summer school supplement these curricula. Within the DKTK, the NCT HSO are promoting access to and exchange with all training programs existing at DKTK partner locations.

The NCT follows a strict goal to promote interdisciplinary, precise and preventative oncology providing a basis for personalized treatment decisions that fit the specific needs and requirements of individual patients. Reaching this goal will take a few more years. But things are on the way and in 2016, a comprehensive genetic and molecular high-throughput analysis is expected to allow every patient to be stratified. This way, the NCT wants to be able to offer every patient the treatment that offers them the very best chances.