The German
Cancer Award.

Research with

The German Cancer Award

The German Cancer Award, sponsored by the German Cancer Society and the German Cancer Foundation, counts as one of the highest honors in German cancer medicine.

History of our awards

2022, Category: Translational Research

In the category “Translational Research”, Prof. Dr. Frank Winkler from Heidelberg University Hospital was honored.

The nervous system plays a central role in the development, progression and therapy resistance of brain tumors. The research group of Prof. Frank Winkler from Heidelberg has been working on fundamental questions concerning the development and therapy resistance of brain tumors. Together with his research team, Prof. Winkler has described for the first time that gliomas form functional multicellular networks that support growth and therapy resistance via so-called tumor microtubes. As in a neuronal network and using the same subcellular mechanisms, glioma cells communicate with each other and thus respond as a network to exogenous influences. Not only that, glioma cells also receive pro-survival signals from healthy neurons via synaptic connections.

This discovery not only fundamentally expands our understanding of the biology of brain tumors, but also opens up completely new therapeutic targets. Thus, Prof. Winkler’s team is developing new therapies with the goal of specifically interrupting the communication of tumor networks.

The NOA is proud that Prof. Winkler has been awarded the translational part of the German Cancer Prize 2022 for these groundbreaking and translationally highly relevant findings, which have decisively shaped international neuro-oncology.

2019, Category: Clinical Research

In the category “Clinical Research”, this year’s award went to Prof. Dr. Michael Platten (German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg; University Medical Center Mannheim).

Michael Platten is one of the pioneers of innovative immunotherapeutic procedures for the treatment of gliomas. These tumors are among the most common types of brain tumors in adults and are feared, as complete surgical removal of the tumor is virtually impossible, and regrowth is common even after radiation and chemotherapy. Prof. Platten and his research group have shown that a common mutation in the gene for isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) in gliomas is specifically recognized by the immune system and have developed a tailored vaccine therapy that elicits a specific inflammatory response in tumor tissue in a clinical trial. Prof. Platten’s work on central metabolic changes as switch points for the inhibition of regional immune defense against gliomas also led to the development of drug therapies that specifically interfere with these immunosuppressive metabolic pathways. These therapeutic approaches open up completely new possibilities to boost the body’s own immune defense against this dreaded type of tumor and, at the same time, improve the effect of this immune defense in brain tumor tissue.

2017, Category: Translational Research

In the category “Translational Research”, Prof. Dr. Guido Reifenberger (Institute of Neuropathology, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf) was honored.

Guido Reifenberger is one of the world’s most renowned neuropathologists. His scientific focus is the molecular causes of brain tumors in children and adults. His work has shaped the molecular classification and development of targeted therapies for gliomas – brain tumors that arise from the supporting cells of nervous tissue (glial cells). Prof. Reifenberger is also involved in the identification and evaluation of new molecular markers in brain metastases and in the search for characteristic biomarkers of long-term survival in glioblastomas.


Prof. Dr. Andreas von Deimling (Heidelberg University Hospital) was honored in the category “Translational Research”.

The contribution of Andreas von Deimling lies in the consistent development and integration of molecular analyses into the field of tumor neuropathology. By using molecular diagnostics, the planning of treatment for gliomas can be much more precisely adapted to the individual circumstances of the patient. Prof. von Deimling is one of the international leaders in the field of molecular pathology; through his research, he has contributed significantly to the introduction of personalized medicine into pathology.


Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Wick (Heidelberg) was honored in the category “Translational Research”.

Wolfgang Wick from the Department of Neurology at Heidelberg University is one of the most renowned neuro-oncologists in Europe and the first German chair of the Brain Tumor Group of the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC). He has initiated major clinical trials in the field of neuro-oncology in Germany and Europe and has been instrumental in the implementation of innovative therapies. As coordinator of the German NOA-04 and NOA-08 clinical trials, he succeeded in developing new therapy standards that are implemented worldwide in the treatment of patients with malignant brain tumors, the so-called gliomas.


Prof. Dr. Stefan Pfister (Heidelberg) was honored in the category “Translational Research”.

Prof. Dr. Stefan Pfister from the Center for Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine at the Department of Pediatrics III at Heidelberg University has been awarded the German Cancer Prize for his research on childhood brain tumors. He demonstrated a central alteration for the most common brain tumor in children, pilocytic astrocytoma, and was able to prove crucial differences between these tumors. His research findings have a direct impact on the treatment and assessment of the success of treatment of this tumor.

2007, Category: Tumor diagnostics and tumor treatment (clinical part)

In the category “Tumor Diagnostics and Tumor Treatment (Clinical Part)”, Prof. Dr. Michael Weller (Tübingen, now Zurich) was honored.

The neurologist from Tübingen, whose specialty includes the research and treatment of brain tumors, receives the clinical award. Prof. Michael Bamberg, President of the German Cancer Society and Chief Medical Director at University Hospital Tübingen commented: “Prof. Weller has decisively advanced the treatment of malignant brain tumors with great commitment and outstanding therapy concepts.”