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Research Group Cancer Drug Development

Dr. Aubry Miller / Dr. Nikolas Gunkel


The translation of new cancer research findings into novel therapeutics is of fundamental importance in the path toward A Life Without Cancer. The Cancer Drug Development Group takes the first step along this path: the discovery and development of small molecules with specific inhibitory profiles and phenotypic effects. These small molecule inhibitors can be used as research tools to help elucidate the role(s) that target proteins play in cancer, and can be starting points for more advanced drug development projects. Research projects in our group tackle topics such as target identification and validation, assay development for high throughput screening, chemical synthesis for inhibitor optimization and the development of chemical biology probes, and the establishment of cellular assays to profile our inhibitors. By collaborating with colleagues who are experts in basic, as well as, clinical research, we have established a unique academic drug discovery environment embedded in the scientific excellence of the DKFZ and NCT.


We aim to work on innovative targets with clear clinical significance, and on new targets/pathways whose roles in cancer have yet to be fully unraveled.

We are part of the Helmholtz Drug Research Initiative.


Dr. Aubry Miller / Dr. Nikolas Gunkel
Cancer Drug Development (A390)
Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum
Im Neuenheimer Feld 580
69120 Heidelberg

Dr. Aubry Miller
Tel: +49 6221 42 3307
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Dr. Nikolas Gunkel
Tel: +49 6221 42 3419
Contact Form

Selected Publications

  • J. Samarin et al. “Low level of antioxidant capacity biomarkers but not target overexpression predicts vulnerability to ROS-inducing drugs” Redox Biol. 2023, 62, 102639.
  • R.R. Steimbach et al. "Aza-SAHA Derivatives are Selective Histone Deacetylase 10 Chemical Probes That Inhibit Polyamine Deacetylation and Phenocopy HDAC10 Knockout" J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2022, 144, 18861-18875.
  • S. Jänner et al. "Bioinspired Asymmetric Total Synthesis of Emeriones A–C" Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2022, 61, e202205878.
  • M. Morgen et al. "Inclusion Complexes of Gold(I)-Dithiocarbamates with ß-Cyclodextrin: A Journey from Drug Repurposing towards Drug Discovery" Chem. Eur. J. 2021, 27, 12156–12165.
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