Precision oncology is based on the interplay of modern molecular diagnostics and biomarker-driven therapy and has the goal of offering cancer patients individualized treatments. Over the past few years, great structural efforts have been undertaken in Germany to enable patients to gain access to innovative tumor diagnostics using high-throughput sequencing. The challenge here consists in translating the complex diagnostic information into personalized therapies. This is the task of interdisciplinary teams with complementary expertise, which come up with treatment recommendations in so-called molecular tumor boards. However, there is a lack of qualified personnel who can give the growing number of patients expert advice and treatment – and before now there has not been any structured education and training pathways available to medical and scientific staff.
To fill this need, Dr. Benedikt Westphalen from LMU University Hospital Munich (spokesperson and lead applicant), Prof. Martin Fischer from the Institute for Medical Education at LMU (deputy spokesperson), and Prof. Sonja Loges from Universitätsmedizin Mannheim (UMM) and the DKFZ-Hector Cancer Institute at the UMM (deputy spokesperson), in cooperation with RWTH Aachen University and the University of Duisburg-Essen, have secured 630,000 euros in funding from German Cancer Aid. The funding will go toward the designing and successful implementation of the interdisciplinary precision oncology master’s program at LMU as well as partial scholarships for particularly qualified candidates.
Led by LMU Munich and operating in mutual coordination with other German universities, the interdisciplinary PRECISE program – Germany’s only master’s degree in precision oncology – is expected to begin in the 2023/2024 winter semester. It is aimed primarily at scientific and medical personnel working in molecular tumor boards or precision oncology programs. According to current plans, the course will be a blend of classroom-based teaching events and virtual learning content. The Dean of LMU’s Faculty of Medicine, Prof. Thomas Gudermann, will be patron of the program.