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DKTK School of Oncology in Munich: Funding for translational research

In July 2022, the DKTK partner site Munich issued an internal call for proposals with the aim of funding translational oncological research projects proposed by early-career scientists. The local Fellows of the DKTK School of Oncology were given the opportunity to apply for up to 25,000 euros for materials and small-scale equipment to carry out their own research project.

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© DKTK Munich

An internal selection committee decided to fund the following research projects:

  • Najib Ben Khaled (EOM, MTT): A comprehensive organoid biobank to advance precision oncology in cholangiocarcinoma​​​​​
  • Michael Günther (MDEB): Characterization of the clinical relevance of the tumor microbiome in metastatic pancreatic cancer
  • Maren Lauterbach (CI): Immunomodulatory properties of platelet-derived vesicles​​​​​​​
  • Emma Morrish (EOM, MDEB): Dissecting the tumour microenvironment in VAV1-MYO1F T cell lymphoma​​​​​​​
  • Sophia Stock (CI): Pharmacological activation to optimized CAR T cell therapy​​​​​​​
  • Bernd Uhl (CI): Role of the glycocalyx in the tumor microvasculature for trafficking of myeloid leukocytes in breast cancer as well its progression and metastasis

A call for protected research time was issued in December 2021. Here, four Fellows of the DKTK School of Oncology successfully applied for three-month time off from their clinical duties, to concentrate on their translational research project in 2022:

  • Anna Reischer (CI): Characterizatian of a bispecific antibody in primary material for the treatment of ovarian cancer ​​​​​​​
  • Erik Thiele Orberg (MTT): MyeloBAC - Microbiome and its metabolites in onset, progression and relapse of multiple myeloma​​​​​​​
  • Frank Ziemann (EOM, MTT): Deciphering the impact of the bone marrow niche on the evolution from clonal hematopoiesis to AML​​​​​​​
  • Mathilda Knoblauch (EOM): Role of the sympathetic nervous system in colorectal cancer cell invasion and migration

An additional part of the DKTK School of Oncology in Munich is the Munich OncoTrack, an initiative with the Comprehensive Cancer Center Munich (CCC Munich). Here, the Fellows spend time at institutes of interest for their further career: either within their own or the neighboring hospital or university (LMU Klinikum/LMU and University Hospital rechts der Isar/TUM). In order to offer the Fellows insights into institute-specific methodology, the participating institutes have created translational modules, enabling the Fellows to continue their training in specific areas, while widening their network on site, finding new ideas and exploring collaboration options for project applications.

Supplementing the training and further training programs at its partner sites, the DKTK School of Oncology offers activities covering all aspects of translational cancer research for medical scientists and clinician scientists. These involve integrating scientists and physicians in local programs, where they work on a translational research project at the relevant partner site. The DKTK School of Oncology trains researchers and physicians in interdisciplinary communication and collaboration to speed up the transfer of results from basic research into clinical practice, and the transfer of clinically relevant questions back into research. 
The focus of the DKTK School of Oncology is on training clinical scientists (physicians who have not yet completed their residency/specialist training) and medical scientists (scientists with a medical background or postdocs who are no more than six years on from completing their doctorate). There are currently around 160 Fellows in the DKTK School of Oncology, of whom 36 are based at the partner site Munich.