Research Group Toxicology and Chemotherapy

Prof. Dr. Martin Berger

The earlier cancer is diagnosed, the better the chances for successful treatment. Fighting a limited number of transformed cells is more promising than tackling a tumor that was able to proliferate over a prolonged period of time. A key goal of oncology is to develop sensitive diagnostic techniques that are able to detect even very small amounts of tumor cells.
Therefore, one of our working groups focuses on the detection of dispersed tumor cells. This is done on the basis of characteristic mutations of genes such as the K-ras gene or the detection of molecular components that are typical of the tissue from which the tumor originates.
As we are aiming towards enhanced treatment possibilities we need to refine not only the techniques for detecting tumor cells, but also the methods for fighting them. Our work in this area is centered around substances called alkylphosphocholines. These substances trigger programmed cell death in cancer cells and spare the bone marrow. In addition, we are studying the prospects of success of a treatment based on attacking tumor-specific molecules. To this end, we have established special animal models for metastasis in the skeleton and the liver that are close to clinical models. Using these, we are studying various aspects of metastasis and treatment methods designed to counteract the spread of cancer cells.


Prof. Dr. Martin Berger
Toxicology and Chemotherapy (G401)
Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum
Im Neuenheimer Feld 280
69120 Heidelberg
Tel: +49 6221 42 3310

Selected Publications

  • Kovacheva M, Zepp M, Berger SM, Berger MR.: Sustained conditional knockdown reveals intracellular bone sialoprotein as essential for breast cancer skeletal metastasis. Oncotarget.5: 5510-5522 (2014).
  • Horrix C, Raviv Z, Flescher E, Voss C, Berger MR.: Plant ribosome-inactivating proteins type II induce the unfolded protein response in human cancer cells. Cell Mol Life Sci. 68:1269–1281 (2011)
  • 2016-08-30 14:56:26
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