A study conducted by researchers of the “Hopp-Children’s Cancer Center at the NCT Heidelberg (KiTZ)” together with colleagues from the Institute Curie (Orsay, France) and the University Hospital Düsseldorf discovered a novel signal transducer promoting medulloblastoma growth. Here, the teams combined two state-of-the-art molecular analysis methods in a project supported by the German Cancer Consortium (DKTK). Their combination approach revealed novel therapeutic targets for a difficult-to-treat brain tumor in children.
The “Hopp Children’s Cancer Center at the NCT Heidelberg” (KiTZ) is a joint initiative of Heidelberg University Hospital and the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ).
Medulloblastoma forms a difficult to treat malignancy, due to its aggressive and fast growth. Using molecular biological analyses, four different subtypes are defined for this disease to date. Especially tumors of the so-called „Group 4″, the most common of these subtypes, are lacking unique druggable markers promoting tumor growth. Combining commonly used genomic analyses with novel proteomic methods – an approach analysing the tumor proteins – the researchers were able to identify a new marker for this medulloblastoma subtype.
The team surrounding Stefan Pfister, KiTZ director, head of the “Pediatric Neurooncology” unit of the DKFZ and senior physician at the Heidelberg University Hospital, together with Olivier Ayrault and his team from the Institute Curie (Orsay, France) and Marc Remke and colleagues of the University Hospital Düsseldorf, were able to describe these new markers. The scientists show the activation of a particular tumor promoting signaling pathway that could not be found with regular genomic analyses approaches. „We were able to show the connection of a known tumor promoting pathway, the SRC signaling pathway, with the Group 4 medulloblastoma”, says Daisuke Kawauchi, a group leader at the DKFZ department of „pediatric neurooncology”. „This key signaling pathway has not been known so far not know to play a role in these tumors.”
Forget et al. „Aberrant ERBB4-SRC Signaling as a Hallmark of Group 4 Medulloblastoma Revealed by Integrative Phosphoproteomic Profiling”. Cancer Cell 2018. DOI: 10.1016/j.ccell.2018.08.002
The „Hopp Children’s Cancer Center at the NCT Heidelberg” (KiTZ) is a joint institution of the Heidelberg University Hospital and the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ). As a therapy and research center for oncologic and hematologic diseases in children and adolescents, the KiTZ is committed to scientifically exploring the biology of childhood cancer and to closely linking promising research approaches with patient care– from diagnosis to treatment and aftercare. Children suffering from cancer, especially those with no established therapy options, are given an individual therapy plan in the KiTZ, which is created by interdisciplinary expert groups in so-called tumor boards. Many young patients can participate in clinical trials which ensures access to new therapy options. Thus, the KiTZ is a pioneering institution for transferring research knowledge from the laboratory to the clinic.The German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ)
The German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) with its more than 3,000 employees is the largest biomedical research institute in Germany. At DKFZ, more than 1,000 scientists investigate how cancer develops, identify cancer risk factors and endeavor to find new strategies to prevent people from getting cancer. They develop novel approaches to make tumor diagnosis more precise and treatment of cancer patients more successful. The staff of the Cancer Information Service (KID) offers information about the widespread disease of cancer for patients, their families, and the general public. Jointly with Heidelberg University Hospital, DKFZ has established the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) Heidelberg, where promising approaches from cancer research are translated into the clinic. In the German Consortium for Translational Cancer Research (DKTK), one of six German Centers for Health Research, DKFZ maintains translational centers at seven university partnering sites. Combining excellent university hospitals with high-profile research at a Helmholtz Center is an important contribution to improving the chances of cancer patients. DKFZ is a member of the Helmholtz Association of National Research Centers, with ninety percent of its funding coming from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the remaining ten percent from the State of Baden-Württemberg.Heidelberg University Hospital and Medical Faculty: Internationally recognized patient care, research, and teaching
Heidelberg University Hospital is one of the largest and most prestigious medical centers in Germany. The Medical Faculty of Heidelberg University belongs to the internationally most renowned biomedical research institutions in Europe. Both institutions have the common goal of developing new therapies and implementing them rapidly for patients. With about 13,000 employees, training and qualification is an important issue. Every year, around 65,000 patients are treated on an inpatient basis, 56,000 cases on a day patient basis and more than 1,000,000 cases on an outpatient basis in more than 50 clinics and departments with almost 2,000 beds. Jointly with the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and German Cancer Aid, Heidelberg University Hospital has established the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) Heidelberg, where promising approaches from cancer research are translated into the clinic. Currently, about 3,700 future physicians are studying in Heidelberg; the reform Heidelberg Curriculum Medicinale (HeiCuMed) is one of the top medical training programs in Germany. www.klinikum.uni-heidelberg.de