Individualized treatment for each cancer patient in order to avoid ineffective or excessive treatment and undesirable side-effects is the primary aim of current cancer research.
Knowledge about the genetic causes of cancer is an important foundation. Worldwide, scientists are working in the "International Cancer Genome Consortium" (ICGC) to decode the genomes of 50 types of cancer. On 22 June 2010, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research announced in Berlin that two further German projects, nationwide research associations for the important cancer forms prostate cancer and malignant lymphoma, will participate in the International Cancer Genome Consortium. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research will fund the associations with the total sum of 15 million euro until 2015.
The ICGC research association on prostate cancer is coordinated by the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf and the Martini-Klinik. Its aim is the sequencing of the complete genomes by 2015.
Additionally, the Martini-Klinik, in cooperation with the Department of Pathology of the UKE, has been participating in the genetic research of prostate cancer in the US-American TCGA (The Cancer Genome Atlas) since October 2013.
First results: cancer-causing agents discovered
The result of first surveys was made public in spring 2012: hormone-dependent gene fusions were detected in younger prostate cancer patients. The insight that the hormone testosterone can change a specific gene and thus cause prostate cancer can give rise to new opportunities for the development of screening measures and preventive treatment.
The International Cancer Genome Consortium is the largest and most ambitious biomedical research project since the Human Genome Project with which the sequence of the human genome was determined.