Tumor cells are changing at tremendous speed. On the one hand, this property promotes their rampant growth and the development of resistance to therapy, on the other hand, it results in no tumor being the same as the other, making reliable prognoses for individual patients often difficult.
The goal of Research Area 1 is to find individual parameters that can improve the diagnosis of tumors or better predict the response to therapy. For example, the composition of all proteins in a cell can be qualitatively and quantitatively analyzed by means of mass spectrometry. The measured profile (“proteome”) contains unique information – similar to a fingerprint – and by comparing tumor cells with healthy cells of the same patient, new prognostic and diagnostic criteria can be identified.
At the FCI, such new parameters are subjected to a comprehensive characterization, they are functionally, preclinically and clinically evaluated and validated. In particular, the question arises as to whether the altered protein signatures can be routinely measured as part of the individual profiling of cancer patients. However, this requires a better understanding of how altered protein profiles can be interpreted, their prognostic and predictive relevance, and how informative they are for the diagnosis of disease mechanisms.
At the same time, this technology, which has made significant progress in recent years, can uncover previously unknown oncogenic mechanisms in model organisms. This will lay the basis for the development of molecularly targeted therapies.