German Cancer Research Center fosters patient empowerment

Around half a million people in Germany are diagnosed with cancer every year, and the number of cancers worldwide is rising rapidly. Intensive research efforts are needed to better help those affected. Patients themselves can also make a decisive contribution to successful research by creating framework conditions. The Patient Advisory Board on Cancer Research of the German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ)will enable patient representatives to play an active role in future research processes.

How and in which phases can patients and their relatives be actively involved in cancer research? The members of the new Cancer Research Patient Advisory Board, which met for the first time in Heidelberg, will in future deal with this question of patient participation. With the new committee, the DKFZ and its clinical research networks NCTand DKTK want to integrate the patient’s point of view even more into research projects and promote public understanding of modern cancer research.

“This well-founded, non-scientific patient perspective is particularly valuable in order to be able to develop clinical-oriented cancer research in a patient-oriented way,” says Prof. Dr. med. Michael Baumann, CEO of the DKFZ. “Basic research, from which new innovations only emerge, also benefits if we include the patient’s perspective from the outset,” emphasises Baumann. At the same time, the members of the advisory board gain insights into research strategies, method selection and data protection and can thus help to better and more comprehensively adapt modern cancer research to the treatment reality in hospitals. In this way, the patient’s perspective can also be taken into account in regulatory requirements and political framework conditions.

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