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Research at the European Pancreas Center

A well-rehearsed highly motivated team

Pancreatic cancer is one of the cancers with the worst prognosis and a current 5-year relative survival of only 8%.
With late diagnosis and early metastasis, the prognosis for pancreatic cancer is extremely poor, partly because current therapies have so far not shown the desired effectiveness. Our laboratories are therefore working at full speed to achieve groundbreaking research findings in order to significantly reduce the still very high mortality rate associated with this disease. The well-coordinated and highly motivated team of researchers and technical assistants supports all medical staff in implementing their ideas in order to achieve new insights into the pancreas and the dangerous pancreatic cancer.

Our work distinguishes into the areas of translational research and basic research with its importance in the field of clinical application as well as projects that break absolutely new ground in the field of this research topic. Within the Pancreatic Surgery Section at Heidelberg University Hospital as well as in numerous internal and external collaborations, there is an active research activity. In order to be able to put a stop to the aggressiveness of pancreatic carcinoma, the greatest chances today are seen in a therapy that is individually tailored to the patient. Thanks to the possibility of close cooperation with the National Center for Tumor Dise ases (NCT) and the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg offers optimal conditions for combining basic research with the implementation of individual therapy concepts in patients.

In addition to our EPZ research laboratory, the EPZ consultation hours and the EPZ biobank (Pancobank) are central components for medical communication with patients and medical professional groups for the implementation of individual therapeutic approaches. The Pancobank provides the basis for patient-oriented translational research by collecting and properly storing tissue samples from surgical specimens and blood samples after appropriate information and consent from the patients. With the support of the EPZ consultation service, these samples are carefully annotated and are thus available (in an anonymized form) for general pancreatic research. The spectrum of interest of our research groups working in the laboratory is diverse and ranges from high-tech based elucidation of pathogenic carcinoma processes to the establishment of novel therapeutic interventions and reliable biomarkers. By providing reliable and quality-assured biomaterial as well as clinical and molecular background information, Pancobank contributes significantly to patient-oriented and application-oriented research.

To achieve real success in this broad field of research, we cooperate closely with other pancreas research groups and are very well networked with national and international partners. In this context, we also rely on young researchers and it is particularly important for us to provide a favorable environment for the scientific work and training of PhD students, young research associates and visiting scientists.

Insights into the EPZ research laboratory