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Strong together in cancer research

UCCH Research Programs

The University Cancer Center Hamburg (UCCH) has established a number of integrated research networks and corresponding research programs that focus on specific key areas in cancer research. The research programs bring together individuals from multiple UCCH departments and laboratories, thus leveraging heterogeneous sets of backgrounds and knowledge from numerous experts, including medical-care-oriented professionals and experimental-science-oriented researchers. UCCH research programs are generally headed by a leadership team of program coordinators that consist of one preferentially medical-care-oriented and one laboratory-science-oriented member of the program.

  • Prostate Cancer Program

    Program Coordinators

    Prof. Dr. Guido Sauter
    Institute for Pathology
    Phone: +49 (0) 7410 - 55500
    E-mail: g.sauter@uke.de

    Prof. Dr. Derya Tilki
    Martini-Klinik
    Phone: +49 (0) 40 7410 - 51300
    E-mail: d.tilki@uke.de

    Overview

    This program takes a leading role in the ICGC (International Cancer Genome Consortium) and TCGA (The Cancer Genome Atlas Program) consortia and serves as exceptional reference database of >20,000 biosamples linked to clinical data. Scientific focus areas include the molecular evolution of early-onset prostate cancer and continuous refinement of prognostic information by investigating novel prognostic classifiers, minimal lymphatic spread, functional and mutational signatures associated with radiosensitization as well as mechanisms for prostate cancer dormancy.

    Program Members

    • Thorsten Frenzel, PD Dr. Dr.
      Outpatient Center, Radiotherapy
    • Markus Graefen, Prof. Dr.
      Martini-Klinik
    • Hans Heinzer, Prof. Dr.
      Martini-Klinik
    • Hartwig Huland, Prof. Dr.
      Martini-Klinik
    • Tobias Lange, Prof. Dr.
      Institute for Anatomy and Experimental Morphology
    • Wael Yasin Mansour, PD Dr.
      Laboratory for Radiobiology and Experimental Radio-oncology
    • Tobias Maurer, PD Dr.
      Martini-Klinik
    • Klaus Pantel, Prof. Dr.
      Institute for Tumor Biology
    • Klaus Püschel, Prof. Dr.
      Institute for Legal Medicine
    • Kai Rothkamm, Prof. Dr.
      Laboratory for Radiobiology and Experimental Radio-oncology
    • Hartmut Schlüter, Prof. Dr.
      Institute for Clinical Chemistry
    • Udo Schumacher, Prof. Dr.
      Institute for Anatomy and Experimental Morphology
    • Ronald Simon, PD Dr.
      Institute for Pathology
    • Gunhild von Amsberg, Prof. Dr.
      Dept. of Hematology and Oncology
      Martini-Klinik

  • Dissemination & Metastasis Program

    Program Coordinators

    Prof. Dr. Klaus Pantel
    Institute for Tumor Biology
    Phone: +49 (0) 40 7410 - 57893
    E-mail: pantel@uke.de

    Prof. Dr. Udo Schumacher
    Institute for Anatomy and Experimental Morphology
    Phone: +49 (0) 40 7410 - 53586
    E-mail: u.schumacher@uke.de

    Prof. Dr. Dr. Sonja Loges
    Dept. of Oncology and Hematology
    Institute for Tumor Biology
    Phone: +49 (0) 40 7410 - 51538
    E-mail: s.loges@uke.de

    Overview

    This program combines three main pillars of expertise:

    • Liquid biopsy: The UCCH has a unique international reputation in liquid biopsy technique development and clinical application with high-level third-party funding. Complementary mechanistic research is unraveling interactions between tumor and bone cells as well as immune cells in the bone (marrow) and liver microenvironment. These achievements led to the UCCH-initiated inauguration of the European Liquid Biopsy Society (ELBS) in 2019, forming an international hub for liquid biopsy (>20 founding institutions from 13 countries).

    • Oligometastatic disease: The long-term UCCH expertise in interdisciplinary care of patients with oligometastatic disease in particular with multimodal therapy concepts is strengthened with research projects on brain metastases, stereotactic radiotherapy and PSMA-guided surgery for prostate cancer.

    • Systemic treatment: The systemic treatment of metastasized solid tumors or incurable hematolymphoid malignancies plays a crucial role in the research activities of the entity-specific research programs and especially focuses on personalized medicine utilizing novel treatment concepts such as cellular treatment, immunotherapy and tyrosine kinase inhibitors in clinical trials. Of special strategic importance to further strengthen the program is the foundation of the DKH (Deutsche Krebshilfe)-funded MSNZ (Mildred Scheel Nachwuchszentrum), a multidisciplinary dissemination and metastasis research center supporting scientific career paths and translational research by promoting partnerships between medical and clinician scientists. Furthermore the program activities resulted in a lead participation in the DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) priority program μBONE (6 UCCH projects) in collaboration with Lübeck, Dresden and Würzburg which aims to explore the interaction of disseminated tumor cells with the bone marrow stromal niche.

    Program Members

    • Michael Amling, Prof. Dr.
      Institute for Osteology and Biomechanics
    • Volker Aßmann, Dr.
      Institute for Tumor Biology
    • Carsten Bokemeyer, Prof. Dr.
      UCCH
      Dept. of Oncology and Hematology
    • Chia-Jung Busch, PD Dr.
      Dept. of Otorhinolaryngology
    • Björn Busse, Prof. Dr.
      Institute for Osteology and Biomechanics
    • Boris Fehse, Prof. Dr.
      Dept. of Stem Cell Transplantation
    • Walter Fiedler, Prof. Dr.
      Dept. of Oncology and Hematology
    • Thorsten Frenzel, PD Dr. Dr.
      Outpatient Center, Radiotherapy
    • Nicola Gagliani, Prof. Dr.
      Dept. of General, Visceral and Thoracic Surgery
    • Christoffer Gebhardt, Prof. Dr.
      Dept. of Dermatology and Venereology
    • Katharina Harms-Effenberger, PD Dr.
      Institute for Tumor Biology
    • Samuel Huber, Prof. Dr.
      Dept. of Gastroenterology
    • Nicolaus Kröger, Prof. Dr.
      Dept. of Stem Cell Transplantation
    • Katrin Lamszus, Prof. Dr.
      Dept. of Neurosurgery
    • Tobias Lange, Prof. Dr.
      Institute for Anatomy and Experimental Morphology
    • Tobias Maurer, PD Dr.
      Martini-Klinik
    • Volkmar Müller, Prof. Dr.
      Dept. of Gynecology
    • Leticia Oliveira-Ferrer, PD Dr.
      Dept. of Gynecology
    • Cordula Petersen, Prof. Dr.
      Dept. of Radiotherapy
    • Sabine Riethdorf, PD Dr.
      Institute for Tumor Biology
    • Stefan Rutkowski, Prof. Dr.
      Dept. of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology
    • Thorsten Schinke, Prof. Dr.
      Institute for Osteology and Biomechanics
    • Barbara Schmalfeldt, Prof. Dr.
      Dept. of Gynecology
    • Stefan Schneider, Prof. Dr.
      Dept. of Dermatology and Venereology
    • Heidi Schwarzenbach, PD Dr.
      Institute for Tumor Biology
    • Hanna Taipaleenmäki, PD Dr.
      Dept. of Trauma, Hand and Reconstructive Surgery
    • Katja Weisel, Prof. Dr.
      Dept. of Oncology and Hematology
    • Manfred Westphal, Prof. Dr.
      Dept. of Neurosurgery
    • Harriet Wikman, Prof. Dr.
      Institute for Tumor Biology

  • Leukemia & Lymphoma Program

    Program Coordinators

    Prof. Dr. Boris Fehse
    Dept. of Stem Cell Transplantation
    Fehse Lab, Research Dept. Cell and Gene Therapy
    Phone: +49 (0) 40 7410 - 55518
    E-mail: fehse@uke.de

    Prof. Dr. Walter Fiedler
    Dept. of Oncology and Hematology
    Phone: +49 (0) 40 7410 - 23051
    E-Mail: fiedler@uke.de

    PD Dr. Jasmin Wellbrock
    Dept. of Oncology and Hematology
    Phone: +49 (0) 40 7410 - 55606 / 55931
    E-Mail: j.wellbrock@uke.de

    Overview

    This program translated two own basic research findings with the Axl inhibitor Bemcentinib and Mebendazol, a strong inhibitor of the SHH-GLI signaling pathway, directly into phase I trials for treatment of acute myeloid leukemia. In the cellular therapy program a HIV gene construct for gene therapy of HIV-associated diffuse large cell B-cell lymphoma was developed and translated in an IIT trial. The newly implemented myeloma program is complemented by IIT correlative studies on immunoprofiling and basic research on the myeloma microenvironment and on development of innovative bi- and trispecific nanobodies.

    Program Members

    • Peter Bannas, PD Dr.
      Dept. of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology
    • Judith Dierlamm, Prof. Dr. Dr.
      Dept. of Oncology and Hematology
    • Friedrich Haag, Prof. Dr.
      Institute for Immunology
    • Martin Horstmann, Prof. Dr.
      Dept. of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology
      Forschungsinstitut Kinderkrebszentrum
    • Manfred Jücker, Prof. Dr.
      Institute for Biochemistry and Signal Transduction
    • Nicolaus Kröger, Prof. Dr.
      Dept. of Stem Cell Transplantation
    • Sonja Loges, Prof. Dr. Dr.
      Institute for Tumor Biology
      Dept. of Oncology and Hematology
    • Ingo Müller, Prof. Dr.
      Dept. of Stem Cell Transplantation
      Dept. of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology
      Forschungsinstitut Kinderkrebszentrum
    • Peter Nollau, Dr.
      Forschungsinstitut Kinderkrebszentrum
    • Friedrich Nolte, Prof. Dr.
      Institute for Immunology
    • Gunhild von Amsberg, Prof. Dr.
      Dept. of Oncology and Hematology
      Martini-Klinik
    • Katja Weisel, Prof. Dr.
      Dept. of Oncology and Hematology

  • Neuro-oncology Program

    Program Coordinators

    Prof. Dr. Katrin Lamszus
    Dept. of Neurosurgery
    Lamszus Lab, Hans-Dietrich Hermann Laboratory for Brain Tumor Biology
    Phone: +49 (0) 40 7410 - 55577
    E-mail: lamszus@uke.de

    Prof. Dr. Manfred Westphal
    Dept. of Neurosurgery
    Phone: +49 (0) 40 7410 - 52750
    E-mail: westphal@uke.de

    Overview

    This program is focused on malignant pediatric brain tumors and adult glioma and directed by the Depts. of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Neuropathology and Neurosurgery. It encompasses basic research with innovative preclinical model design helping to identify spatiotemporal tumor origins and novel therapeutic targets, tumor microenvironment research activities aimed at understanding and exploiting tumor metabolism and immune modulation, novel diagnostic approaches including DNA methylation-based tumor classification and liquid biopsy as well as large practice-changing UCCH-led clinical trials especially of the pediatric HIT study group.

    Program Members

    • Markus Glatzel, Prof. Dr.
      Institute for Neuropathology
    • Cecile Maire, Dr.
      Dept. of Neurosurgery
    • Malte Mohme, Dr.
      Dept. of Neurosurgery
    • Julia Neumann, Dr.
      Institute for Neuropathology
    • Franz Ricklefs, Dr.
      Dept. of Neurosurgery
    • Stefan Rutkowski, Prof. Dr.
      Dept. of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology
    • Guido Sauter, Prof. Dr.
      Institute for Pathology
    • Ulrich Schüller, Prof. Dr.
      Dept. of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology
      Forschungsinstitut Kinderkrebszentrum
    • Udo Schumacher, Prof. Dr.
      Institute for Anatomy and Experimental Morphology

  • Psycho-oncology Program

    Program Coordinators

    Prof. Dr. Corinna Bergelt
    Dept. of Medical Psychology
    Phone: +49 (0) 40 7410 - 54939
    E-mail: bergelt@uke.de

    Prof. Dr. Holger Schulz
    Dept. of Medical Psychology
    Phone: +49 (0) 40 7410 - 56806
    E-mail: schulz@uke.de

    Overview

    The UCCH has a long-standing international reputation in psycho-oncology and palliative care.
    During the last five years major psychosocial outcomes research projects were completed (e.g. Electronic Screening for Psychosocial Distress (EPAS). Based on these studies the UCCH conducted a nationwide analysis of psycho-oncological care needs and provision on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Health (PsoViD) and a prospective evaluation of the HKG (Hamburger Krebsgesellschaft) cancer counseling centers (HKG-EVA).
    Projects using modern information systems and social media have been recently completed, e.g. an e-health study evaluating how outpatients with prostate cancer accept internet-based psychosocial aftercare.
    The UCCH has also started research on the impact of patient support groups and their health care experience funded by the BMBF (Federal Ministry of Education and Research) and the DKH (Deutsche Krebshilfe).
    Another recently completed trial has focused on the use and utility of specific rehabilitation efforts in cancer survivors.
    Overall, the UCCH has established a strong research focus on patient-reported outcomes (PROs) in clinical routine.
    Since early 2018 PREPARED, a DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft)-funded, complex program to foster shared decision making (SDM) as a key element of patient-centered care was implemented in several UCCH clinics. One imminent goal is to expand this SDM implementation program to all clinics of the UCCH, and to complement it with complementary learning strategies. We will develop, implement and validate i) patient decision aids for cancer care, ii) a patient-reported experience measure (PREM) to assess patient-centeredness in routine cancer care and iii) “patient letters”, i. e. automated translation of discharge letters into lay language using machine learning.

    Program Members

    • Martin Härter, Prof. Dr. Dr.
      Dept. of Medical Psychology
    • Christopher Kofahl, Dr.
      Insitute for Medical Sociology
    • Karin Oechsle, Prof. Dr.
      Dept. of Oncology and Hematology
    • Isabelle Scholl, Dr.
      Dept. of Medical Psychology
    • Frank Schulz-Kindermann, Dr.
      Dept. of Medical Psychology
    • Alexander Stein, PD Dr.
      UCCH
    • Sigrun Vehling, Dr.
      Dept. of Medical Psychology
    • Olaf von dem Knesebeck, Prof. Dr.
      Institute for Medical Sociology

  • Head & Neck Cancer Program

    Program Coordinators

    Prof. Dr. Christian Betz
    Dept. of Otorhinolaryngology
    Phone: +49 (0) 40 7410 - 52360
    E-Mail: c.betz@uke.de

    Overview

    This program focuses on the identification and potential targeting of deregulated kinase signaling pathways, e. g. the identification of an EGFR polymorphism inducing resistance, development of ex vivo tumor slice culture assays for treatment response prediction, in-depth analysis of HPV HNSCC (head and neck squamous cell carcinoma) tumor-/radiobiology, multiphoton endomicroscopy and tissue engineering.

    Program Members

    • Kerstin Borgmann, Prof. Dr.
      Laboratory for Radiobiology and Experimental Radio-oncology
    • Chia-Jung Busch, PD Dr.
      Dept. of Otorhinolaryngology
    • Lara Bußmann, Dr.
      Dept. of Otorhinolaryngology
    • Martin Gosau, Prof. Dr. Dr.
      Dept. of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
    • Malte Kriegs, PD Dr.
      Laboratory for Radiobiology and Experimental Radio-oncology
    • Nikolaus Möckelmann, Dr.
      Dept. of Otorhinolaryngology
    • Klaus Pantel, Prof. Dr.
      Institute for Tumor Biology
    • Thorsten Rieckmann, Dr.
      Laboratory for Radiobiology and Experimental Radio-oncology
      Dept. of Otorhinolaryngology
    • Kai Rothkamm, Prof. Dr.
      Laboratory for Radiobiology and Experimental Radio-oncology
    • Guido Sauter, Prof. Dr.
      Institute for Pathology
    • Hartmut Schlüter, Prof. Dr.
      Institute for Clinical Chemistry
    • Udo Schumacher, Prof. Dr.
      Institute for Anatomy and Experimental Morphology

  • Gastrointestinal Cancer Program

    Program Coordinators

    PD Dr. Jörg Schrader
    Dept. of Gastroenterology
    Phone: +49 (0) 40 7410 - 56558
    E-mail: jschrade@uke.de

    PD Dr. Marianne Sinn
    Dept. of Oncology and Hematology
    Phone: +49 (0) 40 7410 - 70434
    E-mail: ma.sinn@uke.de

    Overview

    One major research focus of this program lies on the interaction between tumor and the surrounding stroma as novel mediator of resistance. Another important research topic is regulation of anti-tumor immune responses in gut and liver. UCCH IITs investigating novel (immune)therapeutic concepts are linked to translational programs including liquid biopsy (AVETUX-CRC, INTEGA, TARC).

    Program Members

    • Gerhard Adam, Prof. Dr.
      Dept. of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology
    • Andreas Block, PD Dr.
      UCCH
      Dept. of Hematology and Oncology
    • Carsten Bokemeyer, Prof. Dr.
      UCCH
      Dept. of Oncology and Hematology
    • Nicola Gagliani, Prof. Dr.
      Dept. of General, Visceral and Thoracic Surgery
      Dept. of Gastroenterology
    • Katharina Harms-Effenberger, PD Dr.
      Dept. of General, Visceral and Thoracic Surgery
      Institute for Tumor Biology
    • Samuel Huber, Prof. Dr.
      Dept. of Gastroenterology
    • Jakob Izbicki, Prof. Dr.
      Dept. of General, Visceral & Thoracic Surgery
    • Sonja Loges, Prof. Dr. Dr.
      Dept. of Oncology and Hematology
      Institute for Tumor Biology
    • Klaus Pantel, Prof. Dr.
      Institute for Tumor Biology
    • Thomas Rösch, Prof. Dr.
      Dept. of Interdisciplinary Endoscopy
    • Guido Sauter, Prof. Dr.
      Institute for Pathology
    • Udo Schumacher, Prof. Dr.
      Institute for Anatomy and Experimental Morphology
    • Gisa Tiegs, Prof. Dr.
      Institute for Experimental Hepatology and Immunology
    • Henning Wege, PD Dr.
      Dept. of Gastroenterology

  • Cancer Epidemiology Program

    Program Coordinators

    Prof. Dr. Heiko Becher
    Institute for Medical Biometry and Epidemiology
    Phone: +49 (0) 40 7410 -59551
    E-mail: h.becher@uke.de

    Prof. Dr. Jenny Chang-Claude
    UCCH Cancer Epidemiology
    E-mail: j.chang-claude@uke.de

    Overview

    The UCCH pursues this successful program with a focus on breast cancer risk factors and psychosocial outcomes research.
    Initiated by the UCCH’s Division of Cancer Epidemiology, the UKE is one of the study centers of the German National Cohort ( Nationale Kohorte, NaKo), the biggest longitudinal population-based epidemiological study in Germany, investigating the causes for development of chronic diseases, i.e. cancer.
    Investigations on the use of cancer screening programs and other health care services in Germany with emphasis on specific population groups and migrants have also been performed at UCCH.
    Together with more than UKE departments, the UCCH participates in the recently launched Hamburg City Health Study (HCHS) (Website in German), aiming to recruit and follow a random sample of 45,000 adults from the City of Hamburg aged 45-74 years. This project includes extensive acquisition of biomaterial, clinical data, patterns of behavior, health care use, patient-reported outcomes and the individual knowledge on health-related issues including cancer education.
    A low-dose high resolution CT screening program in a high-risk population defined by former asbestos exposure and smoking history was launched as a joint effort with the UCCH Dept. of Occupational Medicine.
    In cooperation with the Dept. for Outcomes Research in Dermatology and Nursing the UCCH conducts a continuous evaluation of the German Skin Cancer Screening Program. The department is the scientific project leader in action fields 1 (prevention) and 2 (improvement of care) of the National Health Care Conference on Skin Cancer in Germany. This project is ongoing in cooperation with the University of Lübeck.
    The co-prevalence of oropharyngeal and cervical HPV infections in women with CIN2+ was investigated in an UCCH-initiated trial. In addition, the UCCH is the best recruiting site in Germany and the 5th largest worldwide in the “Prostate Cancer Research International Active Surveillance” (PRIAS) project.
    The population-based case-control study MARIE (Mamma Carcinoma Risk Factor Investigation), jointly initiated by the UKE and the DKFZ (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum), has been successfully transformed into a cohort of postmenopausal breast cancer survivors and a cohort of age-matched controls. Findings from 10 years of follow-up (MARIEplus2 project) showed for the first time the importance of recreational physical activity and maintenance of body weight after breast cancer diagnosis for improved survival. A further follow-up of MARIE participants recently funded by the BMBF (Federal Ministry for Education and Research) will be conducted in order to identify patient subgroups which would benefit most from prevention programs.

    Program Members

    • Matthias Augustin, Prof. Dr.
      Institute for Health Services Research in Dermatology and Nursing
    • Volker Harth, Prof. Dr.
      Institute for Occupational Medicine
    • Nadia Obi, Dr.
      Institute for Medical Biometry and Epidemiology
    • Ester Orban, Dr.
      UCCH Cancer Epidemiology
    • Catarina Schlüter, Dr.
      UCCH Cancer Registry
    • Hamburger Krebsregister
    • Hamburger Krebsregister Data Base