© Universitätsklinikum Essen

The DKTK partner site Essen/Düsseldorf has built a leading clinical trial activity in drug development, radiation oncology, surgical oncology, stem cell transplantation (SCT), and cancer diagnostics. Matching preclinical/translational research programs are established on cancer genetics and epigenetics, signal transduction, immunology, tumor-host interaction, resistance mechanisms, cancer imaging, biomarker development and validation.

Scientists from Essen/Düsseldorf lead national and international multicenter trials (IITs and industry-sponsored) and are active members and serve as coordinators in national and international study groups (AIO, ADO, GPOH, EORTC, AMLCG) in particular on thoracic oncology, sarcoma, melanoma and skin cancers, breast, colorectal and pancreatic cancer, neurooncology, adult and pediatric leukemia and lymphoma, the International Rare Cancers Initiative (IRCI) and the European Reference Network on Rare Adult Cancers (EURACAN). Regional trial networks have been formed to include oncology primary care providers in innovative clinical studies.

Key infrastructures include (i) the WTZ Precision Oncology Program with highly active trial centers including a dedicated oncology phase I unit, (ii) cutting-edge radiation oncology infrastructure including the West German Proton Therapy Center Essen (WPE), (iii) the West German Biobank Essen (WBE), (iv) the German brain tumor reference center and the CNS tumor tissue bank in Düsseldorf, (v) recruiting centers of the National Cohort (NaKo), (vi) Europe’s largest allogeneic SCT program, and (vii) advanced imaging facilities including PET/MRI, PET/CT, 7T MRI, as well as the Imaging Center Essen for preclinical studies. 

University Hospital Essen has initially allocated 8 new professorships to the DKTK translational center, 5 of which were contributed by the Medical Faculty and 3 by DKTK. Düsseldorf has allocated one professorship and a DKTK-funded Young Investigator group. The newly established DKTK research divisions at the partner site Essen/Düsseldorf are dedicated to Thoracal and Visceral Oncology, Skin Cancer, Neurooncology and Pediatric Neuro-Oncogenomics. These are complemented by locally contributed professorships covering Radiation Oncology (Particle Therapy), Genome Informatics, Cellular Therapy, Nuclear Medicine, and Chemical Biology. Recent addition to the translational center include endowed professorships for Personalized Cancer Therapy and for Interdisciplinary Urogenital Oncology.

The partner site Essen/Düsseldorf follows a focused strategy, with most activities being linked to active clinical trials, biobanking and data analysis programs. This is complemented by co-clinical trials using informative models such as ex vivo culture systems and Patient Derived Xenograft (PDX) models.