Our laboratory aims to
Part of our group is still located at the University of Freiburg (Germany) Hospital Center.
My mission as Head of Medical GI Oncology at USZ is to implement Precision Oncology in all aspects of the clinical management of gastrointestinal and hepato-pancreatico-biliary (HPB) tumors.
Our laboratory employs in vitro and in vivo models to study the interplay between small RAS GTPases und PI3K isoforms both on the molecular and translational level. RAS and PI3K lie at the heart of oncogenic signalling and therapeutic targeting of these pathways has remained extremely challenging.
A focus of our laboratory is to integrate next generation patient-derived models into signalling research in order to foster bi-directional translation for Precision Oncology.
Comprehensive molecular profiling fails to identify effective personalized treatment strategies in a large proportion of GI tumors highlighting the need for improved pre- and co-clinical modeling.
Patient-derived cancer organoids (PDOs) uniquely preserve genotype and phenotype of individual tumors and can be studied ex vivo in a co-clinical setting. In an interdisciplinary effort, we have established a large collection of tumor organoids derived from patients undergoing resection or surgical biopsy of pancreatic adenocarcinoma. We study several aspect of tumor biology ex vivo including invasiveness and metastatic behavior and explore individual therapeutic vulnerabilities through combinatorial drug screening.
Key future objectives are to
Innovative biomarkers and molecular monitoring hold great potential to personalize multi-modality treatment of GI cancers and better guide systemic therapy. Detection and quantification of tumor-derived cell-free DNA (cfDNA) and the integration of novel protein biomarkers can help better stratify patients and monitor treatment efficacy.
The goal of our laboratory is to establish and integrate innovative liquid biomarkers into the clinical management of GI cancer patients. We employ personalized single- and multi-target digital droplet PCR assays as well as NGS panels and conduct prospective biomarker trials exploring the potential of longitudinal liquid biomarker analysis for personalizing systemic cancer therapy.