PanCareLIFE’s official press release has been launched.
It is available in .doc format here.
Mainz University Medical Center coordinates new EU project examining the after-effects of childhood cancer
European Union provides funding of approximately EUR 6 million
Is it possible to predict the likelihood of subsequent complications following childhood cancer treatment on the basis of genetic tests? This is the main question to be addressed by an EU-wide research project that is being coordinated by the German Childhood Cancer Registry at the Institute of Medical Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Informatics (IMBEI) of the Mainz University Medical Center. The project will focus on late effects of childhood tumor therapy, such as fertility problems and hearing loss. In addition, the researchers aim to determine the impact of these complications on the health-related quality of life of former patients. The European Union will be providing funding of some EUR 6 million to support the research project entitled PanCareLIFE.
The prognosis for survival of patients who develop cancer as children has significantly improved in recent decades. Some 80 percent of children who have been diagnosed with cancer now experience remission. However, improvement in long-term survival rates has also resulted in an increase of the rate of those likely to suffer later complications. These complications can take various forms, such as damage to organs (e.g., heart, kidneys, ear), impairment of the quality of life (due to growth problems, physical disabilities, intellectual impairment, or difficulty with social integration), and an increased risk of second cancer.
Researchers from eight European countries (the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, and Switzerland), will take part in the PanCareLIFE project. The data from c. 12,000 survivors from all participating countries will be analyzed to identify genetic and non-genetic risk factors of post-therapy fertility problems and deafness.. The data collected during the PanCareLIFE project will be collated centrally at the German Childhood Cancer Registry of the Institute of Medical Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Informatics (IMBEI) at the Medical Center of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU).
“It is a great honor for us that we here in Mainz at IMBEI have been assigned the coordination of this project and the responsibilities for collation of this valuable European data and the main statistical analysis,” said PD Dr. Peter Kaatsch, Project Coordinator and Head of the German Childhood Cancer Registry. Professor Maria Blettner, Director of IMBEI, added: “The fact that we have improved the rate of long-term cancer survival is a great achievement. At the same time, this necessarily means that we need to focus on the possible later complications. PanCareLIFE can make a significant contribution to the improvement of the long-term quality of life of survivors.”
The Chief Scientific Officer of the Mainz University Medical Center, Professor Ulrich Förstermann, emphasized that this project again demonstrates the significance assigned to epidemiological research at Mainz. “The University Medical Center with all its institutions is a key player in analyzing the emergence of diseases with their temporal and regional variations in a population, in exploring their development mechanisms, finding causes, preventing late complications, and initiating the corresponding preventative measures.”
About the German Childhood Cancer Registry
The German Childhood Cancer Registry has documented all cases of cancer occurring in children and adolescents in Germany since 1980. Some 50,000 cases have been recorded to date and more than 30,000 former patients are in long-term follow-up. The German Childhood Cancer Registry is coordinating PanCareLIFE, a multinational research project supported by the European Commission, due to its extensive experience with childhood cancer registration, familiarity with research into the causes and late complications of childhood cancer, and its international links with other institutions.
PD Dr. Peter Kaatsch, Institute of Medical Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Informatics (IMBEI), Mainz University Medical Center
phone +49 6131 17–3111 / fax +49 6131 17-4462
Oliver Kreft, Press and Public Relations, Mainz University Medical Center
phone +49 6131 17-7428 / fax +49 6131 17-3496
About the University Medical Center of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
The University Medical Center of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz is the only facility of its kind in Rhineland-Palatinate. It consists of more than 60 clinics, institutes, and departments. Research and teaching are inextricably linked with medical treatment. Approximately 3,500 students of medicine and dentistry are trained in Mainz on a continuous basis. More information can be found at http://www.unimedizin-mainz.de/index.php?L=1