Fields of Action at CCC-N

In order to structure the multifaceted tasks and requirements of a Comprehensive Cancer Center in patient care, research, and training, the Comprehensive Cancer Center Lower Saxony (CCC-N) has defined four fields of action and three additional cross-sectional fields. These are jointly and closely implemented at both CCC-N locations, UMG and MHH, and their cooperation partners.

Field of Action 1: “Translational Research”

Translational Research focuses on accelerating the availability of newly discovered diagnostic and therapeutic interventions for oncological patients. This requires close cooperation between different fields of medical and scientific research and staff. The emphasis of the field of action 1, “Translational Research”, is therefore optimization of the oncological research infrastructure and scientific networking across all CCC-N locations. This field of action includes four working groups:
-    AG Biobank
-    AG Molecular Tumor Board
-    AG Imaging and image-guided Intervention
-    AG Translational research.
Areas of special interest to CCC-N are:
-    Genome dynamics and immune regulation in treatment resistance
-    Stratification-based therapy
-    Infection and Cancer
-    Palliative and Psychosocial Research
-    Imaging and Image-guided Intervention in Oncology.

Field of Action 2: “Clinical Trials and Regional Trial Networks”

The second field of action, “Clinical Trials and Regional Trial Networks”, focuses on all topics related to planning, financing, and conducting clinical trials in Lower Saxony. The goals of this field of action are to increase the number, quality, and recruitment of clinical trials conducted at CCC-N and to simplify access to clinical trials for all cancer patients in Lower Saxony, especially clinical trials that are initiated by researchers at CCC-N locations (so-called Investigator-initiated trials). Centrally coordinated clinical trial centers that coordinate these tasks exist at both CCC-N locations. Central tasks of this field of action include harmonizing the processes of both locations, founding and expanding entity-based regional clinical trial networks and intensify the cooperation between maximum care providers, acute and specialized hospitals, and physicians in private practice. 

A joint digital clinical trial platform allows all patients and physicians to access information on all recruiting or upcoming clinical trials at both CCC-N sites as well as the relevant contact information. 

Field of Action 3: “Qualitätsoffensive Niedersachsen at CCC-N®”

The “Qualitätsoffensive Niedersachsen at CCC-N®” was founded in 2019 and serves as an interdisciplinary platform for all cooperation partners of the CCC-N, addressing all topics of multidisciplinary clinical care. These include, but is not limited to:
-    Tumor boards
-    Cardio-oncology
-    Prevention
-    Immuno-oncology
-    Cancer Survivorship
-    Supportive care (i.e. nutritional advice, pain management, exercise)
-    Oncology Nurse
-    Psycho-oncology 
-    Palliative medicine
-    Integrative oncology and complementary medicine
-    Quality management
-    Certifications
-    Documentation and cancer registries
-    Patient safety.

The central task of this field of action is harmonizing processes at the locations MHH and UMG according to national quality standards. The visibility and accessibility of these topics for patients, physicians and medical professionals shall be continuously improved. The goal is offering integrative care of the highest quality to all cancer patients in Lower Saxony. This requires close cooperation across different specialist disciplines involved in these processes.

Field of Action 4: “OnkoAkademie des CCC-N®”

The fourth field of action is comprised of the OnkoAkademie des Comprehensive Cancer Center Niedersachsen®. It aims for an integrated educational concept and brings existing educational programs in Lower Saxony together. The OnkoAkademie offers programs for: 
-    patients and interested people
-    medical personnel
-    scientific personnel
-    students.

Cross-sectional fields – Digitalization, Outreach, Patient Empowerment

The four fields of action are supplemented by three cross-sectional fields that concern all areas equally: digitalization, outreach, and patient empowerment.

Digital and virtual options are essential to the harmonization of processes and optimization of care in a large state like Lower Saxony. The continuous expansion of digitalization in everyday clinical practice as well as in scientific and public relations is a long-term challenge that requires multidisciplinary teamwork. 

“Outreach” combines all activities that allow active participation of cooperation partners in the CCC-N, thereby intensifying the cooperation. The main goal is the reduction of regional differences in standardized high quality cancer care in Lower Saxony. Examples for concrete tasks include the expansion of regional clinical trial networks, joint workshops, and training series, as well as support of regional partners.

Patient empowerment is defined as active patient participation in processes and structures in the clinical and research sectors and reinforcement of shared decision-making. To fulfill these goals, both locations have established patient advisory committees. These entities consult the CCC-N regarding design and offers of cancer related events and services and can help point out potential for improvement in the cancer centers. Additionally, both centers have integrated patient representatives into their organizational structure, giving patients both access and a voice in the board of directors of cancer centers and the CCC-N.