The Technical University of Munich (TUM) has taken on the role of coordinator in two new German Research Foundation Collaborative Research Centers (short SFB for german ’Sonderforschungsbereich’), both of which are dedicated to the subject of cancer. One SFB analyzes the immunosignals that contribute to the occurrence of cancer, while the other conducts research into the biological properties of aggressive pancreatic cancer. In addition, TUM is also involved in a new cross-regional SFB and three extended SFBs.
Prof. Jürgen Ruland , Professor for Clinical Chemistry and Pathobiochemistry at TUM, is coordinator of the new SFB Aberrant Immunosignals in Cancer ("Aberrante Immunsignale bei Krebserkrankungen"). This joint project’s objective is to analyze misrouted signals in the immune system which favor the occurrence of cancer or suppress tumor defenses. The research is to focus on basic and higher-level mechanisms of the widest possible range of tumor types. The scientific team intends to achieve new findings on the molecular understanding of pathogenic immunosignals in tumors and to explore new strategies for their targeted manipulation in cancer therapies.
In addition to TUM, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU), the German Research Center for Environmental Health (Helmholtz Zentrum München or HMGU), the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry and the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) are also involved in the project.
Focus on pancreatic cancer
The new SFB Modeling and Targeting Pancreatic Carcinoma ("Modellierung und Targeting des Pankreaskarzinoms") is dedicated to a very aggressive form of cancer which is hard to treat. In the project team led by SFB Coordinator Prof. Roland M. Schmid , Director of the Clinic and Polyclinic for Internal Medicine II at the university hospital TUM Klinikum rechts der Isar, investigates the biological properties of pancreatic cancer. The researchers assume that only a comprehensive mechanistic understanding of pancreatic tumors with their extreme and unique properties will lead to a permanent improvement in the prognosis of affected patients. The SFB’s clinical orientation is intended to improve the possible therapies for this type of cancer in the future.
Other partners in the new SFB are Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU) and das German Research Center for Environmental Health (Helmholtz Zentrum München).
What are the origins of life?
TUM is also represented in another new SFB with eight working groups. The objective of the research of the cross-regional Collaborative Research Center The Origins of Life: Investigating Mechanisms with Interdisciplinary Experiments ("Lebensentstehung: Erkundung von Mechanismen mit interdisziplinären Experimenten") is to perform laboratory tests on various hypotheses about the origins of life. This is made possible by close collaboration among scientists in Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Geosciences and Physics.
The coordinator is Prof. Dieter Braun (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München); other collaboration partners are the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried and the German Research Center for Environmental Health (Helmholtz Zentrum München), the University of Stuttgart and Heidelberg University.
Other SFBs with TUM involvement extended
In addition, the German Research Foundation (DFG) has decided to extend several SFBs which are already in progress. TUM is represented in of the 21 extended projects, i.e. the cross-regional SFBs Invasive Computing ("Invasives Rechnen", TRR 89, Information Science ) and Control of Bodily Homeostasis by TRP Channel Models ("Steuerung der Körperhomöostase durch TRP-Kanal-Module", TRR 152, Medicine), as well as the SFB Atherosclerosis: Mechanisms and Networks of new Therapeutic Target Structures ("Atherosklerose: Mechanismen und Netzwerke neuer therapeutischer Zielstrukturen", SFB 1123, Medicine).
The German Research Foundation’s Collaborative Research Centers are among the most important research support programs in Germany. They facilitate demanding, interdisciplinary and long-term research projects. The German Research Foundation approves the SFBs for an initial period of four years, with a maximum total support duration of twelve years.