BIOME - Core: Therapeutic Radiation in Cancer

RTG 2762: Heterogeneity, Plasticity and Dynamics of the Response of Cancer Cells, Tumor and Normal Tissues to Therapeutic Radiation in Cancer

Radiotherapy is a central part of the treatment for many cancer types. Locally advanced carcinomas are treated with multimodal combinations with surgery, chemotherapy, and/or molecularly tailored drugs. Recent discoveries have stimulated new clinical trials evaluating the benefits of targeting the DNA damage response, DNA repair, or tumor immune escape with the goal of enhancing the efficacy of radiotherapy. Yet only a fraction of patients responds to such tailored treatments; others initially do not respond, or develop resistance, metastasis, or adverse effects. The inter-patient and inter-tumor heterogeneity in efficacy and toxicity of therapies involving radiotherapy offers largely unexploited avenues for a successful individualization of radiotherapy. So far, radiobiological research aimed at the integration of precision oncology strategies into clinical radiotherapy is still underrepresented. To fill this gap, the RTG is creating a multidisciplinary team of highly qualified basic and clinical scientists to explore how the heterogeneity, plasticity, and dynamics of the radiation responses of cancer cells, stromal, and immune cells in tumor and normal tissues affect therapy outcomes. The scientific goal is to discover biological principles underlying individual differences in radiosensitivity, adaptive resistance, and toxicity by translating results from studies using preclinical models and patient samples into interpretable computational models. Thereby we will discover actionable vulnerabilities and valid stratification markers suited to discriminating responders from non-responders and detecting patients at high risk of failure or adverse effects.

Our collaborative multidisciplinary approach represented by basic researchers, medical scientists and clinician scientists generates unique opportunities for creating synergies by enabling interactions and successful teamwork. With this strategy we expect a strong added value and a high potential for innovation in the emerging field of molecular personalisation in radiation oncology.

In doing so, the programme offers graduate students in the areas of biology, computational biology/bioinformatics and medicine the opportunity of obtaining a qualified multidisciplinary education and training in the basic, translational and clinical research aspects of the radiation sciences, precision medicine, and computational biology, as well as transferable professional and soft skills. The educational goal is to provide future basic and clinical scientists with the capability of addressing research questions related to radiation sciences in oncology in interdisciplinary research teams, to gain an understanding of biostatistics and data-driven or mechanistic computational modelling, and to establish a broad international network. Our comprehensive education will allow these scientists to advance the integration of biological insights from radiation sciences and precision cancer medicine into clinical concepts of radiation oncology in the future.

The RTG programme starts 1st October 2022.

RTG 2762 Web Site

PLEASE NOTE: Admission to the research training groups (RTGs) is closed and any enquiries or applications concerning these courses should be addressed directly to their respective speakers or coordinators and not to the Graduate School of Biomedical Science.


Prof. Dr. Verena Jendrossek Institute of Cell Biology (Tumor Research)
Prof. Dr. Daniel Hoffmann Bioinformatics and Computational Biophysics
Prof. Dr. Martin Stuschke Department of Radiotherapy
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