The Robert Bosch Stiftung, the Robert Bosch Hospital (RBK), and the Bosch Group join forces in the fight against cancer
The World Health Organization expects the annual incidence of the disease to rise to some 20 million by 2025. In 2012, the figure was already 14 million. Across the globe, cancer is second only to cardiovascular disease as a cause of death. In Germany alone, some 224.000 people die of cancer each year.
The Robert Bosch Stiftung, the Robert Bosch Hospital (RBK), and the Bosch Group are joining forces to fight cancer. The three partners have formed an alliance and started several initiatives. The alliance’s core elements are the newly established Robert Bosch Centrum für Tumorerkrankungen (RBCT: Robert Bosch tumor center) in Stuttgart and the planned alliance with the Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum (DKFZ: German center for cancer research). To support the establishment of the RBCT, the Robert Bosch Stiftung is making extra funding available. It already provides the RBK with basic funding for medical research projects. Between now and 2020, 24 million euros will be devoted specifically to cancer research. Effective immediately, the Bosch Group will also give its associates with cancer access to the latest diagnostic methods offered by the RBK and the DKFZ.
Mr. Alscher, the World Health Organization expects the number of new cancer patients to rise to 20 million per year by 2025, with 500,000 of those being in Germany. What is the current status of cancer research and what are the biggest challenges?
Cancer research is about to gain a wealth of new insights. With the possibilities offered by genomics (genetic research) along with the quality and relatively affordable methods now available, it will soon be possible to perform exact genetic diagnostics on tumors. This will enable tailored treatments. However, this information will only become truly useful with the simultaneous development of an adequate IT infrastructure – the keyword being "big data" here. This combination will revolutionize cancer therapy. The challenge is to acquire and process insights and then be able to apply them to patients as quickly as possible. This will only be possible at research institutes with access to the latest studies. That is why the Robert Bosch Hospital has established the new RBCT alongside of the existing Institute for Clinical Pharmacology, one of the largest research facilities for pharmaceutical treatments in Europe; and it wants to be a role model for tumor-based diseases.
The Robert Bosch Stiftung is making a total of 24 million euros available for cancer research at the Robert Bosch Hospital up to the year 2020. What role will the new RBCT play for cancer research in Germany?
With the strong technical faculties and the expertise of the local companies combined with new studies, tailored drugs and the latest IT, our hope is that this environment will result in groundbreaking treatments being developed and provided. Ideally, we will gain insights that will be beneficial to cancer patients at other institutions as well.
What specific benefits do you expect for the Robert Bosch Hospital from the research performed at the RBCT?
For patients, the most important aspect is the translation of these new insights into more effective therapies. For cancer patients, speed is paramount. That is why a modern study unit like the RBCT is necessary. Our goal is to take the latest insights gained on cancer treatments and make them available to patients at the Robert Bosch Hospital.
Roughly 224,000 people die from cancer in Germany each year. This makes cancer the second most common cause of death, exceeded only by cardiovascular disease. What preventative measures should people take to minimize their cancer risk?
More than anything, those looking to reduce their risk of cancer should strive to have a generally healthy lifestyle. This includes aspects like a healthy diet and regular exercise. Beyond this, there are some early detection measures, such as regular colonoscopies, which help to detect tumors at an early stage. People should identify the applicable preventative measures together with their doctors and implement them at regular intervals. This would notably reduce the rate of new cancer cases.