Tumor-bio­logy

Current approaches in genome-based, personalized medicine have shown the potential to improve the clinical course of cancer, especially in patients who have been treated without the prospect of treatment according to the "one-fits-all" principle pursued to date. However, the clinical benefit currently only affects a minority of patients. To improve this situation, it will be necessary to analyse the tumour disease of the individual patient on a broad basis, i.e. taking into account the tumour microenvironment as well as the specific changes of the transcriptome, proteome, metabolome and microbiome. This allows a more efficient stratification of individual patients compared to purely genome-based approaches, e.g. by identifying possible mono- and combination therapies on the basis of already clinically approved active substances (off-label use) and identifying targets for novel therapies (e.g. immunotherapies) beyond tumor mutations. The parallel testing of identified active substances and their combinations in patient-derived, ex vivo model systems allows a quantification of the clinical efficiency as well as the testing of toxicities in the clinically relevant time frame.
In cooperation with customers and partners from industry as well as academic and clinical research, the Tumor Biology working group develops novel, patient-derived cellular model systems for preclinical efficiency testing and validation of pharmacological agents as well as for the analysis of biomarkers for diagnostics and monitoring of therapeutic success.

Techniques, methods, equipment

Test Systems Cancer Diseases

  • Ex vivo microtumor models (established for different tumor types)
  • Primary immune cells (T lymphocytes, TILs, PBMCs)
  • Microtumor immune cell co-cultures
  • Variable culture formats (e.g. 96-well)

Molecular genetic methods

  • Knockdown of gene expression by RNA interference (shRNA, siRNA)
  • Expression of recombinant proteins
  • Fluorescent-labelled proteins (e.g. for live cell analyses)

Methods for efficient gene transfer

  • Viral systems (lentivirus, adenovirus, retrovirus)
  • Non-viral systems (lipid-mediated transfection, electroporation)

Cellular analysis methods

  • Immunohistochemistry for tumor tissue and ex vivo microtumors (H&E, DAB-based target protein/marker staining)
  • Wide-field and confocal microscopy, fluorescence microscopy
  • Live Cell Imaging and Image Analysis
  • Functional assays: e.g. cytotoxicity, proliferation, immune cell killing, apoptosis 
  • FACS analysis: e.g. phenotyping of immune cells
  • FACS sorting: e.g. fluorescence labelled cells
  • Gene expression analysis by qRT-PCR (96-well and array-based)

Networks

Universities & Research institutes:
Tübingen, Heidelberg, Stuttgart, Freiburg, Furtwangen, Albstadt-Sigmaringen, Villingen-Schwenningen, Marburg, Berlin, Copenhagen, Uppsala, Furtwangen

Tübingen, Berlin, Darmstadt
Tübingen, Berlin, Darmstadt, Martinsried, Maastricht, Utrecht, Leiden, Basel, Innsbruck, Germany