Research Group Isabelle Schmitt-Opitz


Malignant pleural mesothelioma, intracavitarytreatment, tumor biomarkers, novel target

Summary & Mission statement

We employ experimental, preclinical, translational and clinical studies to test new treatment options and to explore tumor biomarkers formalignant pleural mesothelioma. We aim to identify new treatment strategies, biomarkers for early diagnosis and biomarkers predicting disease aggressiveness and treatment responsethat can be integrated into clinical practice.


Our main research goalis to improvethe outcomes and treatment options for patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), an incurable thoracic malignancy related to asbestos exposure. Towards this end, we currently apply intracavitarily cisplatin/fibrin after macroscopic complete resection in a phase II trial to prevent localtumor recurrence (NCT01644994). In parallel, we are evaluating the combination of intracavitary cisplatin/fibrin with post-operative radiotherapy in a preclinical animal model.

In addition, we are studying MPM biology andexploring novel targets for MPMtreatment using in vitrocell models (cell lines, primary cells and spheroids) and pre-clinical animal models. Furthermore, various tumor biomarkers-that can be useful for the prediction of disease aggressiveness and response to treatment-are assessed in translational studies (protein expression, mutation profiles microRNAs). Apart from investigating these biomarker candidates in tumor tissue, currentprojects focus onthe detection and identification of blood markers as a very attractive tool for non-invasive diagnosis, outcome prediction, or disease monitoring.