The projected cluster includes the LBIs for Applied Cancer Research, Clinical Oncology and Photodynamic Therapy, Gynecology and Gynecologic Oncology, Stem Cell Transplantation and Surgical Oncology. The aim of the projected cluster „Translational Oncology“ is the cooperative investigation of genetic and molecular biological characteristics of the tumor cells involved in minimal residual disease (MRD) in vitro and translation of the experimental and diagnostic results into the clinical practice involving therapeutic modalities with the newest generation of antitumoral drugs. Minimal residual disease is the designation for the occurrence of a low number of tumor cells remaining clinically undetected following curative therapy that give rise to tumor relapses.
Currently, for solid malignancies there is no routinely established molecular-based method to detect minimal disease (MD), which describes a malignant disease in its early stages before clinical manifestation. There is strong need for molecular-oriented research to detect minimal disease since no other methodology is likely to provide the necessary sensitivity.
Currently, for solid malignancies there is no routinely established method to detect minimal residual disease, the first indicator of therapy failure and precursor of recurrence, which inevitably leaves specific traces through out the body. There is strong need for molecular-oriented research to detect minimal disease in order to disburden patients from inefficient and toxic therapies.
Several clinical research projects will be performed by the participating institutions.
The cluster aims at the early and reliable detection of circulating tumor cells/MRD in peripheral blood and bone marrow samples of patients bearing selected solid tumors. In addition to confirmation of residual disease, specific markers (gene expression and methylated gene detection) linked to the metastatic potential of the respective tumor cells should be investigated for their prognostic value.