Brain Tumor Expert is new Medical Director at the Department of Neurology
Professor Dr. Wolfgang Wick has succeeded Professor Dr. Werner Hacke
Professor Dr. Wolfgang Wick, the renowned neurooncologist, has presided over the Neurology University Clinic at Heidelberg as Medical Director since October 2014. Therefore, he is replacing his predecessor in this office, Professor Dr. h.c. Werner Hacke, who will continue to devote himself to research and teaching as senior professor for the next three years. In 2007, Professor Wick came to Heidelberg at the age of 36 years as Germany’s youngest tenured professor for neurology and took over the then newly established Department of Neurooncology, which meanwhile enjoys an excellent international reputation.
With this change in management as of 1 October, both the Department of General Neurology and the Department of Neurooncology have been merged into the Department of Neurology. This department now has 86 beds and covers the areas of neurooncology, neuroimmunology, neurological intensive care and vascular neurology, with its stroke ward. “Our focus on patient care and research shall remain, once the structure has also been changed a bit”, emphasizes Professor Wick. “However, we want to utilize this restructuring in order to further improve the care of our patients in a few areas”.
Strengthening Patient-related Research
One of the scientific focal points comprises clinical trials in order to further develop the treatment of brain tumors and to better adapt therapy to respective patients. Thus Professor Wick’s team has discovered certain molecular markers for especially aggressive brain tumors, namely the glioma. They indicate whether older patients in particular, from whom a glioma was removed, will benefit more from chemotherapy or from radiation. Developing and testing a vaccine against gliomas is the objective of an international trial being conducted as part of the GAPVAC research consortium subsidized by the EU. The idea is that if the patient’s immune system is confronted with proteins from the patient’s own tumor, it will react more sensitively to the cancer cells in the brain and will combat these more energetically and specifically than previously. Thus, an individual medication can be made for every patient. Heidelberg University Hospital and Tübingen University Hospital are the first centers where patients are being selected for this therapeutic trial; Professor Wick is the head of this study.
In order to successfully continue the legacy of stroke medicine, a section has been set up in the field of vascular neurology. Professor Dr. Peter Arthur Ringleb, a long-time senior physician at the Neurology Clinic was appointed Section Head. For many years now, Professor Ringleb has been one of the prominent representatives of the German stroke scene with his emphasis on acute care and prevention. Among other things, he was in charge of the development of the guideline on the treatment of carotid artery stenosis (narrowing of the blood vessels of the neck and head) and is currently responsible for updating the guideline on “Acute Care for Stroke Patients”. The goal of this section is to develop the area of vascular neurology in the Heidelberg Neurovascular Network, with the departments of Neuroradiology (Prof. Dr. Bendszus), Vascular Surgery (Prof. Dr. Böckler), and Neurosurgery (Prof. Dr. Unterberg), in collaboration with many other partners in the region. The focus here will continue to be on the development and trial of new therapeutic procedures and scientifically accompanied prevention procedures.
Professor Wick is considered to be one of the most renowned neurooncologists in Germany. After completing his university studies and research sojourns at Bonn, London and Boston, he dealt with the genetic causes of the metastasis of braintumors in his dissertation with Professor Dr. Otmar Wiestler in Bonn. He completed his training as a neurologist at the Tübingen University Hospital where he worked as chief physician and obtained his postdoctoral qualification on the molecular mechanisms of the glioma, until he was called to Heidelberg. He manages national trials on behalf of the Neurooncological Association of the German Cancer Society and international trials for the European Association for Research and Treatment of Cancer”. Moreover, he is active as the head of the Neurooncology Research Group of the German Cancer Society as well as chair of the Brain Tumor Group of the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC).
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