The National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR) has been promoting and facilitating collaboration among scientists from different countries, yet another role played by the organization in its efforts to help defeat the disease. Case in point: Earlier this month NFCR President Dr. Sujuan Ba played the key role in establishing communications between the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and multiple world-class medical institutes and hospitals in China.
A leading European biomedical research institution headquartered in Heidelberg, DKFZ conducts comprehensive and in-depth oncology research, and its findings are employed to develop new approaches for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancers. Among its many talented researchers are Dr. Harald zur Hausen, winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physiology, and Dr. Stefan Hell, winner of 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
Dr. Ba has been working in partnership with DKFZ and the Hong Kong-based Asian Fund for Cancer Research (AFCR) to craft a research and scientific exchange visit to China by the German institution’s management team and top scientists. The mission culminated last week and included herself and DKFZ Scientific Chair and CEO Dr. Michael Baumann, Administrative Director Dr. Josef Puchta and International Relations Coordinator Dr. Eike Martin, as well as NFCR Scientific Advisory Board Chairman Dr. Webster Cavenee and, representing AFCR, Dr. Michael Wang, a member of its Scientific Advisory Board.
Thanks to NFCR and AFCR’s coordination, the delegation met with His Excellency Zhu Chen, Ph.D., Vice Chairman of the National People’s Congress and the country’s former Minister of Health, and His Excellency Wei He, Vice Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. Agreement was reached by the group to advance communication and collaboration between DKFZ and Chinese scientific research and clinical institutes. Dr. Chen’s affiliation with NFCR runs particularly deep, as he was winner of our 2012 Szent-Györgyi Prize for Progress in Cancer Research.
The delegation too visited Capital Medical University (CMU), a top academic institution. There they met with CMU President Dr. Yongfeng Shang, President Dr. Yongjun Wang of CMU’s affiliated Beijing Tiantan Hospital (BTH), BTH Neurosurgery Chairman Dr. Jizong Zhao and Dr. Wenbin Li, Director of the China National Clinical Research Center for Neurological Diseases (NCRC-ND), whose facility they too toured. The parties expressed interest in building up long-term cooperation in the field of brain tumor research and treatment, and to gradually expand to all cancer types. Exchange programs could allow CMU graduate students and young scientists to study at DKFZ and participate in collaborative research projects.
During the mission, NFCR and AFCR also arranged for DKFZ to visit Peking University Cancer Hospital, Tianjin Medical University Cancer Institute and Hospital, Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center, Shanghai Institute of Hematology and Fudan University Huashan Hospital. These engagements with the hospitals’ leaders were designed to allow for future cooperation and exchange programs between the various parties and improve global efforts to defeat cancer and, ultimately, find a cure for the deadly disease.