Innovative approaches to metastasis research

Fraunhofer researcher Prof. Christoph Klein received the “Fidler Innovation Award”

September 10, 2018

Researcher Prof. Christoph Klein, Fraunhofer ITEM Division Director of Personalized Tumor Therapy and Senior Professor of Experimental Medicine and Therapy Research at the University of Regensburg (Germany) has been given the international “I.J. ‘Josh‘ Fidler Innovation in Metastasis Research Award”. Prof. Klein received this award for his innovative contributions to metastasis research. The award ceremony took place in Princeton, USA, on August 3, 2018, during the 17th Congress of the Metastasis Research Society.

Tumor cells often settle in other organs, even before diagnosis and surgical resection of the primary tumor. After months or years, they can develop into lethal metastases. The period between surgical removal of the primary tumor and detection of clinically manifest metastases is often referred to as “minimal residual disease”. The aim of Prof. Klein’s working group is to elucidate in detail the critical phase of minimal residual disease and thus to contribute to  the development of rational therapies that may allow the formation of metastases to be prevented in the future. A major obstacle is the extreme rareness of the cells that are assumed to be metastatic progenitor cells. Originating from bone marrow or lymph nodes, they can be specifically detected, but only at a frequency of one tumor cell per one million  normal bone marrow cells. No more than a single tumor cell is usually detected, hardly ever more than ten. This places high technical demands on the analysis. Methodologically, the working group at the Chair of Experimental Medicine and Therapy Research is focused on the development of new technologies for molecular genetic analysis of single cells.

Prof. Christoph Klein obtained habilitation as a full professor at the Institute of Immunology of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) in Munich (Germany). He subsequently became head of a BioFuture junior research group funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and  head of a junior group of the Bayerisches Genomforschungsnetzwerk (Bavarian genome research network). Since 2010, he has been holding the Chair of Experimental Medicine and Therapy Research at the University of Regensburg. In addition, he has been Division Director of Personalized Tumor at the Fraunhofer Institute for Toxicology and Experimental Medicine in Regensburg since 2011. 

Fidler Innovation Award

The “I.J. ‘Josh‘ Fidler Innovation in Metastasis Research Award” acknowledges the special contributions of this researcher in the field of metastasis research. Fidler developed new models that have contributed to our fundamental understanding of tumor progression and heterogeneity and continue to be instrumental in translating laboratory findings into the clinical management of metastatic disease. Since 2012, the award has been given each year to an investigator who has made innovative contributions to metastasis research, thereby influencing the direction – either technically or conceptually – of this area of research.