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German Cancer Research Center Completes €77M Renovation, Eyes Launch of New Programs

By Alex Philippidis

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The German Cancer Research Center has completed a €77 million ($104.7 million), renovation to its main building in Heidelberg designed to help the institution launch several new molecular biology programs.

"We want to implement new programs in cancer stem cell research, cancer genome sequencing, neuro-oncology and cancer epidemiology," Nicole Schuster, a spokeswoman for the cancer center, known in German as Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum (DKFZ), told GenomeWeb Daily News on Monday.

She said the new programs will enable DKFZ to grow its staff from its current 2,200 members, including 1,000 scientists, to 3,000 staffers. Schuster said that is a result of both the renovation and DKFZ's function as a core center in the German Consortium for Translational Cancer Research.

The new staffers, as with the veterans, will be working from the eight-story main building that DKFZ began using for science purposes more than 30 years ago. Over time, the facility became obsolete, necessitating the repairs, Schuster said.

Those repairs and renovations began with the eastern part of the high-rise building in 2006. Two years later, in July 2008, the first employees were able to move from the old west wing into the newly renovated offices and laboratories of the east wing. Renovation of the west wing also took about two years, and since last month, work in the whole main building has been back to almost normal, according to DKFZ.

"To keep our cancer medicine and cancer research at the highest level we need to attract the best brains from all over the world. For this we have to offer excellent working conditions, modern equipment, laboratories with the best available technology, and appealing premises," Schuster said.

DKFZ receives 90 percent of its funding from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, and the remainder from Baden-Württemberg.

The renovation of DKFZ's main building was funded mostly by the German Ministry of Education and Research, which provided about €70 million, with another €7 million coming from the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts of the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg.

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