University lecture 2010: "All forces for the patients"
(Vienna, 22 June 2010) Clinical research is at the centre of the university lecture 2010 of MedUni Vienna. In his lecture with the title "Interdisciplinary clinical oncology in Vienna – a success story", the internationally renowned cancer specialist Univ. Prof. Dr. Michael Gnant, who has already been conferred a number of prizes, speaks about the rapid positive development of treatment strategies for cancer in recent years. Before that the American Jeff Clovis from the news agency Thomson Reuters provides an overview of clinical research in Austria, the role of MedUni Vienna and the internationally valid parameters which make clinical research successful.
"The survival rate of patients with breast or colorectal cancer has in recent years risen enormously thanks to clinical research," says University Professor Dr. Michael Gnant from the Department of Surgery at MedUni Vienna. Hand in hand with this higher life expectancy, also the side-effects of therapies have decreased considerably. And additionally, organ maintenance such as after breast cancer therapy has clearly been enhanced.
"Thanks to the interdisciplinarity which is practised at MedUni Vienna / Vienna General Hospital (AKH) we can today speak of major successes in cancer treatment," adds Gnant, who also acts as President of the Austrian Breast and Colorectal Cancer Study Group (ABCSG). "The concept of the future is to join all forces for the patients," explains the cancer specialist. At present this interdisciplinarity practised at MedUni Vienna / Vienna General Hospital is reflected in international study projects that start out from Vienna, among others the CECOG studies as well as a novel worldwide immunotherapy project of ABCSG (ABCSG-22), all of which have already attracted major public attention in the past. In 2009 Gnant published the ABCSG study 12 in "The New England Journal of Medicine" with revolutionary findings for young breast cancer patients, which he also presented in the Plenary Session of the largest oncology conference worldwide (the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology – ASCO).
But also the range of international recognition for MedUni Vienna's achievements in oncology is increasing – this year no fewer than eleven contributions from Vienna were prominently represented in the American Cancer Conference. Particularly exciting and important is the successful transfer of findings from laboratory research to clinical practice ("from bench to bedside") such as in the field of tumour stem cells.
Gnant expects more important impulses in this field to come from the Comprehensive Cancer Centre Vienna, which is currently being set up with founding members Gnant, with Christoph Zielinski and Maria Sibilia. This Comprehensive Cancer Centre at MedUni Vienna / Vienna General Hospital is planned to implement the interdisciplinary concept "All forces for the patients" in the near future.
Before Gnant's lecture, Jeff Clovis from the news agency Thomson Reuters speaks about the necessity for universities to focus and pool their research activities and science projects. "It is only in this way that universities can create an independent profile in international competition," explains Clovis. The focus on selected specialist areas helps to obtain third-party funding and ultimately also benefits patients who receive competent and state-of-the-art medical care. One positive example mentioned by Clovis in this connection is cancer research / oncology as a special focus at MedUni Vienna; this University has in recent years been able to repeatedly present pioneering research findings at the international level thanks to its interdisciplinarity and setting of focuses.