Radiation Oncology and Imaging
The radiation oncology and imaging research of the NCT/UCC is involving basic, translational and clinical groups from different disciplines in this field. Major translational projects currently pursued in this program include evaluation of proton therapy and development of (bio)image-guided proton therapy, development of novel technologies for clinical applications including laser-accelerated particle therapy, biological individualization of radiation oncology, new combined treatment approaches, novel radiotracers and radiopharmaceuticals, national-and international radiation-dose-plan-outcome databanks for large scale analysis.
Stem Cell based Therapy and Research
The Dresden stem cell transplantation program is one of the largest transplant centers in Germany facilitating more than 200 transplant procedures per year. This innovative clinical program has not only lead to important clinical studies evaluating the role of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) transplantation in various malignant and non-malignant diseases but has also been instrumental in establishing novel cell-based therapies including in-vitro generated tumor-reactive T cells and third-party mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC). The clinical stem cell transplant program represents the nucleus of a translational research program evaluating the control of HSC differentiation, self-renewal and migration. Not only stem-cell based therapies for leukemia and lymphomas but also stem cell-based therapies for restoration of normal tissues damaged by oncological therapies (e.g. surgery, radiotherapy) are actively pursued.
Molecular Biomarkers, Cancer Genetics and Functional Genomics
The UCC has integrated cancer genetics and functional genomics with the development of clinically applicable predictive assays based on molecular markers into one program carried by several research groups and clinical departments. Current research projects include novel, next generation sequencing based biomarkers for residual disease in AML or solid cancers, molecular characterization of CRC, urological and neurological tumors. Functional screens are applied for identification of new cancer relevant targets with high potential for translation into clinical treatments. A major research focus is placed on the integration of morphological, molecular and functional data of cancer stem cells to identify novel biomarkers and to develop mathematical models for individualized treatment decisions.
Immunotherapy and Cancer Immunology
The translational immunotherapy program is particularly focusing on the development and evaluation of several bi-specific antibodies using a modular platform. In addition to bi-specific antibodies derivatives, which can directly crosslink tumor cells and effector cells, a modular immunotargeting system consisting of an effector and a targeting module has been established. Adoptive immunotherapy is another approach generating research cross activities, e.g. related to stem cell research, and representing an important scientific part for the realization of future clinical trials.
The research program focuses on the molecular and cellular mechanisms of metastasis and on very early detection of subclinical metastatic spread, which may be amendable to be intensified and potentially curative systemic therapies. The current translational activities cover the following fields: initiation of metastases, circulating and disseminated tumor cells, metastatic cell - normal tissue interactions in bone, and novel systemic therapies. The NCT/UCC metastasis program lays specifically on clinical research into metastasis colorectal and breast cancer, in particular multidisciplinary treatment of liver metastases by resection, interventional radiology and systemic therapies.
Tumor site specific Research
The program tumor-type specific research is promoting particularly promising and innovative projects in translational cancer research. In focusing on interdisciplinarity research groups in the field of cell biology, tumor epidemiology, systems biology, medical informatics & biometry, genetics and pathology form bridges to the tumor-type specific sections, such as gastrointestinal cancer, pancreatic cancer, brain tumors, prostate cancer, and neuroendocrine tumors. The joint use of biological data, tissue banks, tumor models and techniques or joint clinical trials is enhancing the speed and power of investigations.