WG Gastrointestinal Oncology and Response Prediction

Head: PD Dr. Andreas Block, MBA

The working group "Gastrointestinal Oncology and Response Prediction" investigates innovative procedures for the prediction of response in the treatment of gastrointestinal cancer.

EU consortium - funded (EU-FP7 Chemoguide) we examine the predictive value of an innovative ex - vivo test procedure according to the German medical device law (Medizinprodukte – Gesetz, MPG) in a clinical trial. According to one of 2CureX patented procedures, spheroids of 70µm diameter will be prepared from human colon cancer tissue and consecutively incubated on a semi-liquid carrier layer in the presence of different cytostatic drugs for 10 days utilizing a microarray technology. These spheroids that represent the best possible approximation to human tumor tissue in vivo, are quantified by automated volumetry and ex vivo response is correlated with clinical response data.

Our working group is currently investigating this technology with colorectal cancer tissue. Approved drugs and combinations thereof are analyzed as well as investigational drugs and cytostatic medication not approved for the treatment of colorectal cancer yet in order to develop a truly personalized therapy.

In addition, this methodology is further investigated for additional tumor entities of the gastro-intestinal tract and, in cooperation with the ENT Clinic, for malignancies of the ear, nose and throat.

In cooperation with PamGene we are further developing a method for response prediction of tyrosine kinase inhibitors. These "small" molecules inhibit enzymes of selective phosphorylation thus substantially interfering with the intracellular signal cascade. A PamGene - proprietary technology is utilized for array-based analysis of phosphorylation of different peptides and in-vitro inhibition by the presence of different TKI in order to predict response in a variety of different tumor entities in vivo.

Clinical background:

Prognosis of patients with metastatic colorectal carcinoma has substantially improved over the past 20 years thru the development of new drugs and establishment of new surgery and radiotherapy treatment modalities. Nevertheless, this frequent cancer remains a major challenge.

In drug therapy of malignant diseases only an average of 25% of patients respond to a given treatment. So far there is no test procedure available to reliably predict response. We believe that such predictive diagnostics will have a major impact on selecting the best individual treatment. This will help avoiding side-effects of chemotherapy that does not work in a particular patient. Moreover, with emerging, highly-priced innovative drugs such a predictive testing can help to conserve resources and thus warrant the availability of new therapeutic approaches with a clinical benefit in the individual patient.

Cooperation partners:

  • Prof. Ole Thastrup, 2CureX, Copenhagen, Denmark • Dr. Grit Hagel, 2CureX, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Dr. Timm Jessen, 2CureX GmbH, Hamburg • Prof. John Groten, Pamgene, 's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands
  • Dr. Rob Ruijtenbeek, Pamgene, 's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands
  • Dr. Riet Hilhorst, Pamgene, 's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands
  • Prof. Dr. Udo Schumacher, Institute of Anatomy and experimental morphology, UKE
  • Prof. Dr. Manfred Juecker, Institute for Biochemistry and signal transduction, UKE
  • Prof. Dr. Jacob Izbicki, Clinic and Policlinic for General, Visceral and thoracic surgery, UKE
  • PD Dr. Asad Kutup, Clinic and Policlinic for General, Visceral and thoracic surgery, UKE
  • Prof. Dr. Björn Nashan, Clinic and Policlinic for liver and biliary surgery, UKE
  • Dr. Florian Ewald, Clinic and Policlinic for liver and biliary surgery, UKE
  • Dr. Vinzent Spetzler, Clinic and Policlinic for liver and biliary surgery, UKE
  • Prof. Dr. Guido Sauter, Institute for Pathology, UKE
  • Prof. Dr. Rainald Knecht, ENT Clinic, UKE


PD Dr. Andreas Block, MBA (Work Group Leader)
Sandra Koellmann, B.Sc (MTA) Inke rod (TA)
Christine Fehrs (Study Nurse)
Dr. Winfried Alsdorf (Physician)
Dr. Fabian Frielitz, LL.M, M.A., MBA


II. Medical Clinic and Policlinic Oncology, Hematology, Bone marrow Transplantation with the Department of Pneumology
Campus research (N27), 4. Floor, Room 084/092
University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf
Martinistrasse 52
20246 Hamburg Germany

Phone: +49 (0)40 7410 -51993 (office), -52924 (laboratory)
Fax: +49 (0)40 7410 -40291
Mobile phone (tumor tissue reception): +49 (0)152 0792 6437