Skip to main content English

Dietmar Abraham/Karin Zins

Dieser Inhalt ist nur auf Englisch verfügbar.

Research Focus
During the course of tumor progression, cancer cells acquire a number of characteristic growth-promoting alterations, which support cancer neovascularization, invasion and metastasis. Importantly, tumors are complex structures composed of cancer cells, which form the heart of the tumor, as well as a variety of non-cancer cell types, including macrophages, endothelial cells and fibroblasts, and extracellular matrix components that comprise the tumor stroma, often termed its microenvironment.

Moreover, while normal counterparts of some stromal cells are thought to limit tumor growth, tumor-associated stromal cells have been convincingly shown to actively promote tumor progression via complex heterotypic interactions with the nearby tumor cells.

Consequently, tumors also strongly depend on external signals delivered by the tumor microenvironment for tumor maintenance and progression. Further, the tumor microenvironment is often altered as the disease progresses. To fully understand tumor development and progression, a deeper knowledge of the cross-talk between tumor cells and their microenvironment is needed, which allows investigating treatments that target both the cancer and its surroundings.

Main Objectives
Our group's research focuses on the elucidation of signaling pathways in cancer cells and macrophages to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms that underlie the communication between stromal cells and tumor cells.

The long-term aim is the identification of potential new therapeutic strategies that target tumor cells and the supporting cells of the microenvironment that contribute to tumor growth and metastasis.

Research Content
Our group studies signal transduction networks with a variety of experimental systems including cell (co-)cultures, transfection and viral transduction strategies, and a variety of biological assays such as cell proliferation, migration, invasion, apoptosis, and angiogenesis assays. We utilize small molecule inhibitors, RNA interference, antibodies, and cellular therapy strategies for analyzing signaling factors in vitro and in vivo.