Personalized radiation therapy

Research Project "Modulation of cellular response to radiation"

Our vision is to gain insight into tumor cell response to ionizing radiation on the molecular, cellular and physiological level allowing us to use this knowledge for designing new strategies for the treatment of cancer.
Our research focuses on signal transduction pathways that regulate proliferation in normal and malignant cells after treatment with ionizing radiation. We use both biochemistry and molecular and cellular biology to study EGFR/HER-receptor family signaling in a breast cancer model. With the use of miRNA-screening platforms in combination with genomic and proteomic approaches we are interested in identifying miRNAs that are involved in cellular response to ionizing radiation. Here, our overall goal is to characterize the role of specific miRNAs in cancerogenesis, with the ultimate aim to identify and validate novel targets of therapeutic intervention for the treatment of human cancer.

Our laboratory has significant expertise in miRNA expression arrays and primary human endothelial and tumour cell cultures. Furthermore we have a long standing interest and expertise in the design of lentiviral vectors and their usage for shRNA and miRNA analysis. In cooperation with our commercial partner SIRION we are on the way to develop new lentivirus vectors for functional gene analysis (financed by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology in 2010-2011).
In the future, our cellular models will be used for screening small molecule libraries. In this plans emphasis is placed on understanding main mechanisms of cell death vs. protection for a variety of treatment modalities including ionizing radiation. Modulation of cellular response to radiation could be achieved via combining radiation-sensitive cellular components with shRNA and miRNA expression or by using small molecules as therapeutical modifiers.