Two German cities among global leaders in cancer research

World Health Organization (WHO) statistics show that cancer is the world's second leading cause of death. The WHO estimates the total economic cost of cancer is greater than USD 1.16 trillion worldwide.

Illustration "leukemie"; Source: fotolia/Sebastian Kaulitzki
© fotolia/Sebastian Kaulitzki

Research is a key factor in combatting the complex, ever-changing disease. Through scientific enquiry, doctors and researchers gain better understanding of each type of cancer. Research is the only way to find new treatments and cures.

The German cities of Heidelberg and Munich were recently ranked among the top thirty in the world for excellence in cancer research. A study commissioned by the US pharmaceutical company Pfizer and implemented by the Vienna-based consulting group FASresearch placed Heidelberg 20th position and Munich 29th. Some 88 thousand scientific publications and clinical research projects from 2013 to 2018 were among the assessment criteria for the report.

Heidelberg's success in the ranking was in part attributed to the fact that the city is home to the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ). Founded in 1964, the DKFZ employs more than 1300 staff scientists and has a budget of EUR 319 million. In 2008 and 2014, Nobel Prizes were awarded to DKFZ scientists for medicine and chemistry, respectively. FASresearch analysts said that in terms of oncology, the DKFZ is one of the most productive institutions in international oncology research.

At the same time, the Munich area is home to a number of life-sciences clusters of excellence as well as renowned medical biotechnology companies. The Comprehensive Cancer Center – CCC München – is also located in the Bavarian capital. Since 2014, German Cancer Aid has fostered the CCC and included it among its list of leading oncology treatment centers in Germany.

The Export Initiative for the German Healthcare Industry, HEALTH MADE IN GERMANY, is the go-to organization when it comes to learning more about Germany's pharmaceutical and medical biotechnology industries. The initiative has published a series of reports and brochures on both sectors.