The Research Group consists of researchers of the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) Dresden and the OncoRay Center. The focus lies on the motile behavior of tumor cells in the context of radiation therapy. The mechanisms of migration and invasion of tumor cells within tissues as well as tumor cell metastasis are investigated.

Understanding cell motility and metastasis in radiation oncology

(A) Simplified scheme of tumor cell invasion and metastasis and inhibition of these processes by radiation therapy and novel therapeutics (B) Invasion of Glioblastoma cells from a multicellular spheroid (center) into a 3-dimensional collagen type-I matrix. (C) Immunofluorescent staining of invading Glioblastoma cells (blue: nucleus, green: actin cytoskeleton). (c) Anne Vehlow

Current studies suggest a connection of radiation therapy and the motile capacity of tumor cells. Unclear are the mechanistic links and the underlying cellular and molecular processes. Unraveling these fundamental mechanisms in the context of radiation therapy is the primary aim of the research group and key to the development of novel therapeutic approaches.

Another major focus lies in the identification of specific tumor cell characteristics – so called biomarkers – as predictors of tumor cell escape from the primary site and the formation of distant metastasis. Further steps will aim at visualization and molecular targeting of invading and metastasizing tumor cells on top of sensitization to radiation therapy.

Methodology

The research group performs a variety of methods with a particular focus on cell culture techniques, molecular and biochemical assays and microscopy.

  • Culture of cell lines and primary cells
  • Cell motility and invasion assays
  • Colony and sphere formation assays
  • Assessment of cell proliferation and viability
  • Apoptosis assay
  • DNA damage analysis
  • siRNA and gene transfection
  • Molecular biology and cloning
  • SDS-PAGE and Western blotting
  • Signal transduction analysis
  • Protein interaction analysis
  • Microscopy
  • Histology
  • Mass spectrometry (in cooperation)
  • Omics (in cooperation)
  • Orthotopic tumor xenografts