Since 1981, the Faculty of Medicine has been cooperating with several universities in China. This collaboration acquired a new basis in 2009 when the Collaborative Research Centre SFB/Transregio 60 “Mutual Interaction of Viruses with Cells of the Immune System – From Fundamental Research to Immunotherapy and Vaccination” (speaker: Professor Michael Roggendorf) was set up. With 5.5 million euros in funding from the DFG and the equivalent of 8.2 million euros from the Ministry of Science and Technology in Beijing, 16 project teams from Essen, Bochum, Wuhan and Shanghai are working under the direction of Essen to develop a scientific basis for new immunotherapies and vaccinations. Going beyond the already existing excellent cooperation within the Transregio, the Medical Faculties of the Ruhr University Bochum and the University of Duisburg-Essen have agreed to foster and intensify the collaboration in research and education in the University Alliance Metropolis Ruhr (UAMR). The alliance with the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute in Pennsylvania has also been strengthened with the establishment of the Pittsburgh-Essen Partnership Program (PEPP). This programme allows as many as five postdoctoral fellows per year to serve for 18 to 24 months as visiting researchers at this leading US cancer research institution.
The PEPP has also served as the template for a new partnership with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. This Institute, currently hosting three Nobel prize laureates, conducted pioneering work in the field of stem cell transplantation as therapy for leukaemia and other blood disorders. A special highlight of 2010 was the selection of the Westdeutsches Tumorzentrum (West German Cancer Centre), which in 2009 had been recognised by the Deutsche Krebshilfe (German Cancer Aid) as an oncological centre of excellence and provided with 3 million euros in funding, as a partner in the Deutsches Konsortium für Translationale Krebsforschung (German Consortium for Translational Oncology Research). At the centre of this consortium is the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg, which cooperates with leading university cancer research centres including Essen, the only one from North Rhine-Westphalia. With the implementation of this consortium, the Federal Government aims to foster strategic
cooperation between the best scientists and clinicians in cancer research.