Applied research

Ihr Ansprechpartner
Dr. Christian Schmees
tumor biology

Tel: 07121 51530-881

Tumour pathways and therapeutic response

After cardiovascular diseases, cancer is the second leading cause of death in europe. Tumours arise following gradual accumulation of genetic changes in somatic cells. Genes, such as p53, which are responsible for the regulation of cell division, cell death and DNA repair mechanisms, are gradually changed and rules that limit proliferation are bypassed. The nature of alterations that occur varies depending on the individual tumour type, which necessitates the personalisation of treatments for individual patients.

We identify and validate target proteins for pharmacological drugs and biomarkers for the diagnosis and prediction of the therapeutic success. At this, signatures of differentially regulated signaling pathways are our main research interest . Actual  projects are dealing with prostate cancer (BioTag), pancreatic cancer (PakaNostra) and renal cancer (PREDICT).

While many tumours initially show a good treatment response, during the course of disease often drug refractory relapses occur. Our Tumour Biology group applies the concept of synthetic lethality, using RNAi-based screens to identify novel targets for the early identification of drug-resistance and alternative treatment options.

Research topics

  • Signaling pathways in tumour development and progression
  • Identification of biomarkers and target proteins for the personalized treatment of solid tumors
  • Acquired drug resistance in tumour therapy


  • Biomarkers for the targeted therapy of prostate cancer (BioTag)
  • Innovative strategies for the identification and validation of drug targets in pancreatic cancer (PakaNostra)
  • Identification of biomarkers to predict the response and resistance to VEGFR/mTOR inhibitors in renal cancer (PREDICT)


  • Boehme, KA and Blattner, C (2009). "Regulation of p53--insights into a complex process." Crit Rev Biochem Mol Biol 44(6): 367-92. (PMID: 19929178 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE])
  • Swanton C, Larkin JM, Gerlinger M, Eklund AC, Howell M, et al. (2010). “Predictive biomarker discovery through the parallel integration of clinical trial and functional genomics datasets”. Genome Med 2: 53. (PMID: 20701793 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE])


Development of cisplatin resistance:

First line treatment of ovarian cancer using platinum-based drugs such as cisplatin usually has a high response rate (yellow tumor cells) . However, few tumour cells often survive the treatment (violet tumor cells) and cause relapses that are platinum-resistant.