Visual Universitätsmedizin Mainz

Get strong to fight childhood cancer

Launch of European research project FORTEe on digital health and exercise for children and adolescents with cancer

Copyright: ©FORTEe

Under the leadership of the University Medical Center Mainz, sixteen partner institutions from eight European countries cooperate to form the joint research project FORTEe. The project with the motto ”Get strong to fight childhood cancer” aims to investigate the effectiveness of exercise therapy and digital health technologies during cancer treatment in children and adolescents. As part of the renowned research and innovation program “Horizon 2020” FORTEe has received a funding by the European Union of approximately EUR 6.3 million over a period of 5.5 years.

Cancer is a leading cause of death for children and adolescents in Europe. The common side effects of cancer treatment in children and adolescents include physical inactivity, cancer-related fatigue and an impaired health-related quality of life. Adapted exercise programs for adult cancer patients are an increasingly recognized treatment. However, in childhood cancer patients, there is still a lack of sufficient scientific evidence for the effectiveness of this new form of treatment. FORTEe will research the experiences of children and adolescents aged between four and 21 years in a Europe-wide interventional clinical trial. The project further aims to investigate the effects of a personalized, standardized and age-appropriate exercise intervention on successful cancer treatment in children and adolescents.

The exercise program will be supported by digital technologies enhancing the pioneering character of the study for the development of novel care concepts in pediatric and adolescent medicine. With the help of virtual and augmented reality-based devices and a newly developed exercise app, home-based, family-centered telemedical care will be integrated into cancer treatment.

“The international focus and the bundling of expertise on a European level helps to generate a considerable scientific evidence for innovative, personalized medicine and digital health concepts for children and adolescents. The FORTEe project further serves as an important step towards incorporating digital technologies into future patient care“, explains Univ.-Prof. Dr. Ulrich Förstermann, Chief Scientific Officer and Dean of the University Medical Center Mainz.

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Jörg Faber, the Principal Coordinating Investigator of the FORTEe project, elaborates further: “The FORTEe project represents an essential step towards implementing exercise therapy as an important, novel supportive cancer treatment and possibly increasing patients‘ health-related quality of life across the European Union and beyond. The research project serves as a model for preventive precision medicine in pediatrics by examining risk-adapted health interventions. Moreover, other disciplines and partners in the health care system will benefit from the project as the telehealth infrastructure may also be used by resident pediatricians or non-university inpatient hospitals.”

The scientists involved in the FORTEe project expect that exercise therapy will be established as standard of care in the future and that the knowledge gained by the research project may be transferred to other areas of pediatric and adolescent medicine.

FORTEe has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the grant agreement No 945153.


FORTEe partners:

-        Concentris research management GmbH (DE)

-        German Sport University Cologne (DE)

-        Nurogames GmbH (DE)

-        Pixformance Sports GmbH (DE)

-        University Medical Center Essen (DE)

-        University Medical Center Mainz (DE)

-        University Medical Center Heidelberg (DE)

-        Region Hovedstaden (DK)

-        Universidad Europea de Madrid SAU (ES)

-        Centre de Lutte Contre le Cancer Léon Bérard (FR)

-        Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori (IT)

-        Fondazione Monza e Brianza per Il Bambino e La Sua Mamma (IT)

-        Fundatia Youth Cancer Europe (RO)

-        Forma 3D Ltd. (SI)

-        Univerzitetni Klini?ni Center Ljubljana (SI)

-        Oxford Brookes University (UK)


More information:



Univ.-Prof. Dr. Jörg Faber, Principal Coordinating Investigator and Head of the Childhood Cancer Center, Department of Pediatrics, University Medical Center Mainz,
Phone: +49 (0)6131 17-8331, e-mail:

Media contact:
Johanna Flesch, Corporate Communications, University Medical Center Mainz,
Phone: +49 (0)6131 17-7427, e-mail: