Key treatment areas
- Acute and chronic leukaemiae
- Malignant lymphomas
- Bronchial carcinomas
Key research areas
- Malignant lymphomas
- Myelodysplastic syndromes
- Chronic myelotic leukaemia
- Use of the non-myeloablative transplantation
- Clinical molecular biology
In this clinic everything revolves around cancer diseases. The key areas of treatment are malignant diseases of the blood, the bone marrow and the lymph nodes. This includes, for example, leukaemia, diseases of the haematogenic cells in the bone marrow. Patients suffering from acute leukaemia come to the university clinic from the overall Düsseldorf area, because the necessary specialised knowledge and the technical equipment for an effective treatment are only available here.
The methods of treatment vary depending on the type of disease. Leukaemiae, for example, are right from the onset not limited to one organ. Therefore, only one treatment is possible, the treatment which embraces the entire organism. Drugs which retard cell growth are suitable here. If the disease does not regress through this treatment, a high-dose chemotherapy is used. This therapy destroys the bone marrow and thus the source of the diseased cells. In order to ensure that the patient can form his or her own vital blood cells again afterwards, he or she then receives a transfusion of haemocystoblasts. This treatment is often the only possibility of permanently healing malignant diseases.
The haemocystoblast transplantation is difficult and often associated with considerable side effects. The clinic has at its disposal specialised experience in this high-risk operation. In North-Rhine Westphalia it was the second clinic able to offer this therapy. Here, about 500 patients have received their own haemocystoblasts or those from others since 1989.
Systemic cancer diseases are often difficult to diagnose. The clinic maintains special laboratories for the basic diagnosis of haematological diseases. Other hospitals and doctors' practices in the region also send their specimens here. A particular key area of the laboratory is the diagnosis of acute leukaemia, preleukaemiae and malignant lymph node tumours. Besides the traditional microscopic assessment of blood and bone marrow preparations, modern immune cytological and molecular biological examinations are also used.
The molecular biological diagnosis in particular makes it possible to draw up an individual therapy plan for every patient and to precisely control the course of the cancer disease. If a conventional chemotherapy does not take effect, all types of high-dose chemotherapy with stem-cell transplantation are also available. A difference is made here between the autogenic stem-cell transplantation where the patient receives his or her own stem cells, and the allogenic stem-cell transplantation where the cells come from a donor in the patient's own family or from a non-family donor. The allogenic transplantation is in principle more risky, but is often the only chance to achieve complete healing.
New therapy methods follow immunological approaches. Thus, endogenic cells of the immune system are used specifically aimed against leukaemia or lymphoma cells. In the case of some diseases due to changes of the genotype, gene-therapeutical approaches also promise success.
Research and teaching
The research contents of the clinic are closely linked to patient care. The aim is the rapid implementation of scientific knowledge into clinical application. Thanks to the research projects, many patients have the opportunity of participating early in innovative therapies or receive medication not yet generally available.
Currently, there are six scientific projects including two national multicentre studies. One of them is concerned with molecular biological monitoring of lymphatic gland cancer, the other is researching the value of various transplantation methods in the case of haematological malignant growth.
In field of stem-cell research, a work is pursuing completely new routes in that it is investigating the gene expression profile of haematogenic stem cells with the aid of so-called microarrays. A further key area is the molecular biological research in preleukaemia or the myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), which has found great international attention. The largest register in the world with MDS patients is kept in Düsseldorf. On this basis, the clinic checks in major studies success of various therapies for the individual disease stages. The great success in this field has resulted in the MDS foundation of the clinic being awarded the title of "MDS-Centre of Excellence".