Lung Cancer is predicted to cause about 249 000 deaths and to be the leading cause of cancer-related mortality in the European Union after 2020. More than half of lung cancer patients are diagnosed with distant metastases and thus require systemic antineoplastic treatment. This medical management of metastatic lung cancer has witnessed an unprecedented innovative boost in the last ten years. Every year, a plethora of novel compounds is introduced into clinical practice, which has already resulted in a substantial improvement in quality of life and survival. Our interdisciplinary Thoracic Oncology Group is dedicated to make these innovations available to all our patients as soon as possible. In addition, we aim at answering unmet clinical needs with academically driven innovative research projects.
Therapeutic improvements in lung cancer have been the result of a personalized oncology approach, where drugs are tailored to subgroups with common genetic and immunological features. Hence, pathologists have become even more important for making treatment decisions in medical oncology, as they assign tumors to these subgroups based on evermore demanding morphological, genetic, and immunological analyses. Ultimately, the increasing complexity of diagnosis and therapy in this field is only manageable with high-end software support. In this context, our research group has developed as an interdisciplinary hub of pathologists, software engineers, and medical oncologists that is rooted in our joint everyday patient care.
We believe that real and sustained progress in oncology can only be achieved by creating an interactive network around the patient including general oncologists, the local comprehensive cancer center, as well as national and international expert groups. Therefore, we decided to become a key contributor to the National Network Genomic Medicine Lung Cancer (nNGM), which defines the current state-of-the-art in molecular analysis and knowledge transfer for lung cancer in Germany. By following almost half of all advanced NSCLC patients in Germany, nNGM also allows for clinical studies and in-depth analyses of even the rarest molecular subtypes in lung cancer.