With around 1.45 million people in Germany already afflicted and 450,000 new diagnoses per year, cancer represents a major medical and social challenge. The study of cancer, its molecular basis, and new therapies is thus a prominent research focus of Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, the jointly operated medical school of Freie Universität Berlin and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.
The Berlin School of Integrative Oncology (BSIO) was approved for funding in the German Excellence Initiative. It was set up under the guidance of Professor Clemens Schmitt, the director of the Molecular Cancer Research Center at Charité, by Freie Universität and Humboldt-Universität, along with the following external partners: the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, and the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine.
In the BSIO planning group, 52 researchers from the fields of hematology, oncology, genetics, biochemistry, surgery, radiology, computer science, the humanities, and social sciences are working together to form a particularly closely integrated education for prospective molecular oncologists and young physicians interested in cancer research. Such an interdisciplinary approach to training outstanding young scientists from the beginning of their research career is the basis for research capable of responding to the challenge of "cancer" and the development of effective strategies for addressing this challenge.
It is expected that the close dialogue between bioscience research and clinical applications will accelerate the development of therapies for patients. Likewise, experimental laboratory research can give priority to the most urgent issues in clinical cancer treatment.
Such a comprehensive approach to training outstanding young scientists from the beginning of their research careers forms the basis for interdisciplinary research that is able to face up to the challenge of cancer and to develop effective strategies for fighting this disease as quickly as possible.