“Translational Oncology – the National Center for Tumor Diseases” - Christof von Kalle, MD, PhD

The National Center for Tumor Diseases – NCT Heidelberg was founded as an exceptional alliance between the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg University Medical School (HUMS), the Heidelberg Medical Faculty, and German Cancer Aid (Deutsche Krebshilfe). NCT has rapidly become the primary comprehensive cancer center in Germany and is uniquely positioned to benefit from the wealth and depth of DKFZ cancer research and the Heidelberg biomedical campus.
NCT has implemented the NCT Precision Oncology Program (NCT POP) as a center-wide master strategy that, together with NCT’s dedicated Clinical Cancer Programs, coordinates all translational activities and focuses resources towards individualized cancer medicine, including patient-oriented strategies in genomics, proteomics, immunology, radiooncology, prevention, and early clinical development.
For this purpose, the center-wide NCT MASTER (Molecularly Aided Stratification for Tumor Eradication) umbrella protocol has been created to perform and evaluate molecular diagnostics on materials from all consenting NCT patients, with the explicit purpose of stratifying each patient for the best treatment or trial strategy.
The Heidelberg Center for Personalized Oncology (DKFZ-HIPO), the DKFZ Sequencing Core Facility and bioinformatics groups on campus streamline data acquisition and analysis in close collaboration with NCT POP. In order to best integrate and exploit the data produced in all NCT programs, a central NCT DataThereHouse contains a working copy of every patient-related dataset from all IT sources to enable efficient retrieval, aggregation, and evaluation of molecular and clinical data for clinical decision making and translational research.
The ultimate goal of this multidisciplinary center-wide effort in precision oncology is to provide a validated workflow for trials to infer rational recommendations for mechanism-based therapeutic interventions in advanced malignancies and improve patients care by integrating systematic molecular data.