ZMB Member Jürgen Becker
Translational Skin Cancer Research (TSCR)
"It is the responsibility of those of us involved in today’s biomedical research enterprise to translate the remarkable scientific innovations we are witnessing into health gains for the nation." Elias A. Zerhouni, N Engl J Med 353; 15: 1621
Recent advances in cancer biology, molecular biology and immunology should allow for a significant impact on the treatment and management of cancer. Still, our knowledge of many fundamental aspects of biology in health and disease is insufficiently translated into the clinical situation to reliably improve cancer prevention and treatment; moreover, substantial parts of this knowledge were acquired by use of model systems, which are not always reflecting the clinical situation. Translational cancer research bridges the gap between laboratory-based science and patient care in the clinic and vice versa.
To this end, research in skin cancer permits to scrutinize tumor biology and cancer immunology with more ease than this is possible in other cancer entities: In skin, most tumors are diagnosed at early stages, are characterized by a progression in stages (i.e. loco-regional metastases preceding distant metastases), and the metastases are frequently localized in the skin. Thus, sequential tumor manifestations can be analyzed over the course of disease progression as well as during therapeutic interventions. These characteristics are extremely favorable for translational research strategies.