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University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, Centre of Integrated Oncology Cologne Partner to Advance Cancer Care and Research


PITTSBURGH , June – The University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) and the Centre of Integrated Oncology (CIO) Cologne at the University Hospital in Cologne, Germany, are forming a strategic partnership that will combine the strengths of both institutions to accelerate progress in cancer research, education and patient care.

A delegation from Germany, including Michael Halleck, M.D., director of the CIO, will sign the agreement at the Hillman Cancer Center at 3 p.m. Thursday, June 26.

The partnership initially will include the creation of a student exchange program, the development of collaborative research and joint clinical trials in selected areas, the transfer of administrative and management advice, and the development of a common international fundraising strategy for both clinical and translational research.

“Our relationship with the Centre of Integrated Oncology will be a partnership in every sense of the word,” said Ronald Herberman, M.D., director of UPCI and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Cancer Centers. “We look forward to collaborating on common, innovative treatment research studies for patients with cancer. We also will provide organizational and administrative advice for the CIO as it seeks to become the European equivalent of a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, a distinction held by UPCI for 18 years.”

In 2006, the German Cancer Aid organization, the leading German non-profit dedicated to supporting research projects to improve cancer diagnosis, therapy and care, announced a priority funding program to address the country’s geographic disparities in cancer care and granted 12 million euros to four different cancer centers. Cologne University Hospital was one of the centers to receive funding and established the CIO. In partnering with UPCI, the CIO aims to advance the prevention, early recognition and treatment of cancer while continuing to provide outstanding care to the hundreds of patients it treats annually.

“The CIO is a leader in the research and treatment of lymphatic malignancies, including Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Our partnership will provide UPCI access to the cutting-edge research being conducted there,” said Dr. Herberman. “Our patients might be able to enroll in clinical trials for Hodgkin’s disease that are currently accruing at the CIO, so they may benefit quickly from this agreement.”

In addition to the area of lymphatic malignancies, UPCI and the CIO will work to establish joint clinical trials focused initially on lung cancer and melanoma. Collaborations in basic and pre-clinical research will include cellular immunotherapy, allogeneic stem cell transplantation, and targeted therapies and biomarkers for patient selection and treatment response.

Founded in 1984, the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute became a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in only six years, a record time. UPCI, the only cancer center in western Pennsylvania with this elite designation, serves the region’s population of more than 6 million. Presently, UPCI receives a total of $154 million in research grants and is ranked 10th in funding from the NCI.


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