World Cancer Day on the 4th of February is designed to raise awareness that cancer remains one of the major, often fatal human diseases. Every year, more than twelve million people worldwide develop cancer. The Helmholtz Association carries out research into the development of cancer and the underlying risk factors, and comes up with effective strategies for the prevention of cancer and for better diagnostics and targeted therapies.
"The Helmholtz Association is a health research organisation focusing on cancer research. In Germany alone, around 440,000 people develop cancer every year and about half of this number die from this severe disease. This is why we invest 140 million euros per year in cancer research,” said Professor Dr. Jürgen Mlynek, president of the Helmholtz Association. “Basic research carried out by researchers from the Helmholtz Association has led to decisive findings that might help to save lives. For example, researchers at the GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research have developed a therapy involving the treatment of tumours with ion beams which is now being successfully used to treat patients in the Ion Beam Therapy Centre in Heidelberg.” Basic research has also led to the finding that cervical cancer is caused by human papillomavirus infections. In 2008, Professor Dr. Harald zur Hausen (German Cancer Research Centre, DKFZ) was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his groundbreaking achievements in this field. There are now vaccines to protect against cervical cancer. Cancer research at the Helmholtz Association is carried out at several centres: The German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ) in Heidelberg almost exclusively focuses on cancer research and the Max Delbrück Centre in Berlin/Buch also has a major focus on cancer research. In addition, large research groups at the Helmholtz Centre for Infectious Disease Research and the Helmholtz Centre in Munich deal with cancer. In order to speed up the translation of laboratory findings into medical application, the DKFZ, the University Hospital of Heidelberg, the Thorax Hospital in Heidelberg and German Cancer Aid have established the National Centre for Tumour Diseases in Heidelberg. In addition, the DKFZ has established a cancer information service which provides patients and their relatives with comprehensive advice based on state-of-the-art scientific knowledge, a service that has elicited huge levels of public interest.This information, examples of major successes in the development of new medicines and therapies as well as important results from current basic research can be found on a new website (www.helmholtz.de/weltkrebstag).
The Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres contributes to solving major challenges facing society, science and industry with top scientific achievements in six research areas: Energy, Earth and Environment, Health, Key Technologies, Structure of Matter, Transport and Space. With almost 28,000 employees in 16 research centres and an annual budget of around 3 billion euros, the Helmholtz Association is Germany's largest scientific organisation. Its work follows the tradition of the great natural scientist Hermann von Helmholtz (1821 - 1894).
Further information:Helmholtz AssociationThomas Gazlig Head of Communications and Media - Berlin OfficeAnna-Louisa-Karsch-Straße 210178 BerlinTel./Fax: +49 (0)30 206 329-57/60E-mail: presse(at)helmholtz.de