Prof. Eva Winkler

Contact Section Leader Eva Winkler


Section Translational Medical Ethics

Previously: Ethics and Patient oriented Care in Oncology (EPOC)

Section Leader: Prof. Dr. med. Dr. phil. Eva Winkler

The Section for Translational Medical Ethics is a dedicated core facility for applied ethics at the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) Heidelberg, a partnership between German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and Heidelberg University Hospital, Medical Faculty, Heidelberg University. Main research areas are: Research Ethics (e.g. data driven & precision medicine, genome sequencing and editing), Clinical Ethics (e.g. end of life decisions, organizational ethics, AI ethics) and Public Health Ethics (e.g. resource allocation, secondary use of health data).

The section's expertise is represented in its participation in numerous initiatives and committees (e.g. Central Ethics Commission of the German Medical Association, Academy for Ethics in Medicine (AEM - Society for Medical Ethics in Germany), German Human Genome-Phenome Archive (GHGA), 1+mio Genomes Initiative, Genomic Data Infrastructure Project (GDI), Network of University Medicine (NUM), Medical Informatics Initiative (MII), EURAT platform (Ethical and Legal Aspects of Translational Medicine)).

Due to the impressing medical & technological progress fostered by structural and systemic changes in health care, ethical issues in oncology and research constantly gain importance. Such issues include, for instance, the informed consent process in research, patient’s rights and the right to self-determination or the ethical justification of expensive treatments facing limited resources in health care.

Model of empirical ethics

Figure 1: Model of empirical ethics

The concept of Empirical Ethics combines empirical studies in patient care and research with ethical analysis (cf. figure 1).

  • The concept of empirical ethics starts with a clinical or research question that causes moral distress.
  • In a first step, the empirical research allows for a detailed account of the ethical questions at stake.
  • The ethical analysis weighs the values and ethical principles affected in order to develop an ethically sound recommendation.
  • To close the concept, this recommendation aims at informing our decisions in the clinical or research context - be it as an aid in decision-making, as an advice or a counselling service.

Section Translational Medical Ethics research, teaching and clinical activities focus on: