In the affair of the blood test for breast cancer at the University hospital of Heidelberg, there are new Details. As the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” (SZ) reported, an internal audit at the University hospital Heidelberg to the conclusion that the prospect of a Test does not yet exist.
The University had publicly raised false hopes for better early detection in breast cancer. After the PR Disaster of the much too early and with too great of promises presented to the Public, breast cancer test, the Board of management of the University had commissioned the Heidelberg tumour biologist Magnus von Knebel Doeberitz, the "The circumstances of the Presseerklärung" to check.
In a Letter of 7. April to the Dean of the Medical faculty, Andreas Draguhn, the "SZ" there is, notes Knebel Doeberitz, “that there is in the press release mentioned method so far”. There was even a prototype. "Thus, no information on the diagnostic value of the announced, but not yet existing product werden", the Professor writes. In the end, he closes: "Against this Background, in the press release, the statements made must be considered as not justified."
Medical Director: "I would müssen" stop;
The Board of management of the hospital failed, the "SZ" according to the faculty Council agreed on check of the data before the press conference to make. It was “one of the tasks of a University hospital to transfer research results into clinical practice,” write the three members of the Board Annette Grüters-Kieslich, Irmtraut Gürkan, and Andreas Draguhn, on request, in a common Mail. Therefore, it was important to them to support the spin-off HeiScreen, which developed the Test, “in your desire for public perception”.
You have thought that it could succeed, “to bring the interests of a private Investor” with those of the hospital in accordance. This has not clearly worked out. The Medical Director Grüters-Kieslich grants personally error. “I should have been stronger against the inclusion of the hospital in the PR-activity of the HeiScreen GmbH”, she writes of the "SZ", “and would have had to try to stop the press conference.”
Concerns of the press officer were knocked out
The "SZ" cited in addition to internal Reports, in which a mail exchange between the leaders mentioned. The PR took action accompanying article in the "Bild"-Newspapers weeks before the public campaign from the 21. February went back and forth. “Prima” was, therefore, about the Dean Draguhn a Interview of the "Bild". “This is very good communication with the Public,” he wrote. On "SZ"-Request stressed Draguhn, his positive assessment was based on the journalistic representation and intelligibility of the text. The substance of the statements had finally located the responsibility of the scientists.
Warnings suggested by the members of the Board of "SZ" according to. Above all, the press officer of the University hospital, had expressed before the PR campaign always remember. “I’m starting to get a stomach ache,” she wrote three days before the press conference. Again and again she is made aware of possible issues. Time you wrote a “controversial Situation”, she warned, it would not be made “far-reaching statements in a critical journalist environment”, although “data validity” of the Tests were “quite clear”. Two days before the press conference, she asked in a Mail to all Board members, once again, an admonition, “how widely you want to Express”.
The Test does not seems to exist yet. So it looks in theory:
The Test is one of a series of “Liquid Biopsies” (liquid biopsies). In body fluids, especially in the blood to be searched, cancer traces. The discovery is much earlier than any other diagnostic method.
The method of liquid biopsy is therefore regarded worldwide as the great hope for an extremely early diagnosis of cancer. However, the prediction accuracy is not yet reliable. This is also the main criticism of the Heidelberg Test: He was presented to the Public much too early, as the market maturity method.
The researchers from Heidelberg have identified 15 biomarkers for breast cancer, by which in a few drops of blood the first indications of malignant tumor cells can be detected.
The Test is intended primarily for younger women in whom the suspicion for an increased risk of breast cancer.