Detection of Her2 amplification in single esophageal cancer cells: Multiple copies (amplification) of the Her2 gene in esophageal cancer are indicative of poor survival, if and only if found in disseminated cancer cells. Patients harboring this genetic aberration may, however, benefit from its early detection, since targeted Her2-specific therapies can then be readily applied. We developed a statistical evaluation method for the reliable detection of Her2 amplifications in single cells.
Genetic alterations driving lymph node colonization in melanoma: Together with researchers from the Chair of Experimental Medicine and Therapy Research of the University of Regensburg we identified specific genomic alterations that accompany lymph node colonization by disseminated cancer cells in melanoma. This finding impacts early assessment of disease progression and selection of targeted therapies to prevent metastasis in each individual patient.
Sphere formation based on disseminated cancer cells: A promising experimental approach pursued by the Fraunhofer ITEM team is the production of cell spheres from single disseminated cancer cells. This multiplication of the original single cell facilitates molecular characterization and testing of individual therapy response. In a collaborative project, we are analyzing gene expression data to enhance the cultivation process and ensure highly identical expression characteristics before and after cell expansion.
Interleukin-6 (IL6) signaling in the mammary gland: IL6 is a pro-inflammatory cytokine that is known to be a major factor in breast cancer development. It can act through direct (classical) and more indirect (trans) signaling. We are currently evaluating gene expression for different experimental conditions and cell types to further elucidate breast cancer development.
Characteristics of gene expression during early development: Early embryonic development is one of the most exciting and most controversially discussed topics, both scientifically and in the societal discourse. It is believed that early development and cancer share many common pathways and that developmental biology can considerably contribute to the understanding of tumor development. In a collaborative project together with the group of Dr. Tony Perry (University of Bath, UK), we are analyzing gene expression data during early development to unravel both normal embryo evolution and its anomalous branching leading to uncontrolled growth.