National and regional governments pledge total of around € 97 million for LOEWE Centre “Frankfurt Cancer Institute”.

Goethe University has a new LOEWE Centre under its belt – together with its own research building that is planned for completion by 2023. As announced on 29 June, a good € 73.4 million are being made available for this purpose; the decision followed a recommendation by the German Council of Science and Humanities in April 2018. Hessen’s State Ministry for Higher Education, Research and the Arts had officially announced just the day before that the Frankfurt Cancer Institute would be integrated as a LOEWE Centre in the state’s scientific support programme. Around € 23.6 million in regional funding are available for operating costs in the first phase from 2019 to 2022.

LOEWE Centre “Frankfurt Cancer Institute”

Nowadays, it is possible to completely decode cancer genes within just a few days. However, to be able to forecast how well a patient will respond to treatment, genetic data are only useful to a limited degree because for this it is necessary to know the effect of mutations within the tumour cell and in turn what impact this will have on the surrounding tissue and the immune system. Exploring this complex process is the task of the LOEWE Centre “Frankfurt Cancer Institute” (LOEWE FCI), where basic researchers and clinicians will work closely together in interdisciplinary teams. Partners from the pharmaceutical industry are also involved. Particularly gratifying is the news that the Frankfurt Cancer Institute will receive a new building on Niederrad Campus paid for by the national government: € 73.4 million have now been approved. According to a press release by Hessen’s State Ministry for Higher Education, Research and the Arts, the national and regional governments are each contributing 50 % towards € 52.1 million of this sum; German Cancer Aid will donate € 20 million towards building costs and additional funds will come from other partners.

“The two grants mean tremendous progress for university medicine in Frankfurt, especially for oncology. Translational cancer research at Goethe University has seen a very positive development in the last ten years. These efforts are now being rewarded by Hessen’s state government and German Cancer Aid in the shape of the new LOEWE Centre and the new research building, for which we’re very grateful. It raises our work to a new level,” says Professor Florian Greten, Director of the Georg Speyer Haus and professor for tumour biology at the Faculty of Medicine of Goethe University.

Apart from Goethe University, also participating in the project are the Georg Speyer Haus (GSH), the German Cancer Consortium (DKTK), the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut (PEI) and the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research in Bad Nauheim.

“Congratulations to our researchers on Niederrad Campus, who following the approval of the LOEWE jurors have now also been given the green light for their new building by the Joint Science Conference of the state ministry responsible here in Hessen and the federal government in Berlin,” says Professor Birgitta Wolff, President of Goethe University. She is very pleased about the double success. “The Frankfurt Cancer Institute will perform a task that is very important for the future. It will contribute not only to our scientific understanding of cancer but also to its more targeted treatment. This requires staying power and an opportunity to bring together the corresponding disciplines on a long-term basis. We’re very grateful to the national and regional governments for enabling us to establish the necessary framework. The funds for our own new research building are an important milestone that will give cancer research here in Frankfurt a tremendous boost. I’m very happy that Hessen’s state government initiated the LOEWE programme: It’s an indispensable instrument for developing large-scale research programmes at our region’s universities and keeping them running over a long period.”

Funding applications with good prospects

Thanks to the positive evaluation of their preliminary proposals, a further three projects were invited to submit full proposals in the 12th round of funding:

  • In the planned LOEWE Focus Group “Warm Periods of the Past as a Natural Analogy to our ‘High CO2’ Climate Future (VeWa)”, geologists, biologists, geographers and climate modellers want to study what we can expect if the carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere virtually doubles compared to pre-industrial levels.
  • The LOEWE Focus Group “Digitalised Education Processes” (DBP) aims to investigate mechanisms relevant for digital education processes and provide an insight into how these processes can be optimised. Psychologists and educational scientists will deal with the changes that accompany digital education processes.
  • Last but not least, the LOEWE Focus Group “Minority Studies: Language and Identity” deals from an interdisciplinary perspective with the question of the role played by identity-dependent factors in the context of migration by minorities. The researchers are particularly interested in minorities which already had a minority status in their country of origin.

Further information on the LOEWE Centre “Frankfurt Cancer Institute”: Professor Florian Greten, Director of the Georg Speyer Haus, Faculty of Medicine, Goethe University, Tel.: +49(0)69-63395-183, Greten@gsh.uni-frankfurt.de.