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Cell Biology and Tumor Biology

Research Program

Cell and Tumor Biology

Research Program

Cell and Tumor Biology

Coordinator Prof. Dr. Andreas Trumpp

The groups of Research Program A "Cell and Tumor Biology" (FSP-A) pursue the vision: "To understand the fundamental processes of life and cancer at the molecular, cellular, and organismal levels" and the mission: "To unravel the mechanisms of cancer to provide a rational basis for novel diagnoses and innovative treatments that will then be evaluated in early clinical trials." The scientists of the Research Program are involved in three major research areas:

  1. Stem cell research: Research on normal and malignant stem cells has been steadily expanded over the past decade. FSP-A teams are investigating the molecular basis of normal and malignant stem cells by studying healthy tissues (hematopoiesis, brain, colon and pancreas), as well as cancer and metastases (leukemia, colon, pancreatic and brain cancer) to mechanistically understand their underlying biology and their role in therapy response and resistance. (Contributing PIs: Essers, Frye, Jackstadt, Liu, Loges, Mall, Martin-Villalba, Milsom, Monyer, Niehrs, Trumpp, Utikal).
  2. Tumor specific mechanisms and metabolic dysregulation in cancer: FSP-A researchers uncover tumor specific mechanisms and for example have pioneered the field of epitranscriptomis, which studies the role of RNA modifications in healthy and tumor cells. Deregulated metabolism is a hallmark of cancer. Specific metabolic programs are also closely connected to other cancer hallmarks, such as increased cell growth, resistance to cell death, inflammation and metastasis, as well as response to therapy. Another focus is on a specific programmed cell death pathway called ferroptosis, dependent on iron and characterized by the accumulation of lipid peroxides in the cell membranes and critical for healthy and cancer cells (contributing PIs: Angel, Augustin, Dick, Frye, Gunkel/Miller, Milsom, Jackstadt, Liu, Loges, Lyko, Monyer, Niehrs, Palm, Patrizi, Sandhoff, Schulze, Trumpp).
  3. Tumor microenvironment and metastasis: FSP-A researchers study the mechanisms of tumor progression and metastasis with the goal of identifying and validating novel therapeutic vulnerabilities. A specific focus of FSP-A is driven by the concept that tumor progression and particularly metastasis formation are critically dependent on the complex bi-directional interactions of tumor cells with the cells of their local tumor microenvironment (TME). The host-derived TME includes surrounding blood vessels, immune cells, fibroblasts, neurons, signaling molecules and the extracellular matrix (ECM)(contributing PIs: Angel, Augustin, Frye, Jackstadt, Krämer, Liu, Loges, Patrizi, Schölch, Trumpp).
Translational activities: FSP-A groups actively translate their findings from bench to bedside, which includes investigator-initiated early clinical trials (IITs) and also industry-sponsored late trials (contributing PIs: Jackstadt, Krämer, Kulozik, Liu, Loges, Schölch, Trumpp, Utikal).

Technologies: FSP-A researchers are establishing, adapting and applying cutting-edge technologies including single cell multi-omics technologies, metabolomics and flux-analysis, CRISPR-editing/screens as well as organoid and pre-clinical mouse models to perform functional in vivo analysis.

The Cell and Tumor Biology Research Program is part of the DKFZ-ZMBH Alliance, a strategic partnership between the FSP-A and the Center for Molecular Biology of Heidelberg University (ZMBH), the Stem Cell Institute HI-STEM ( and the DKFZ-Hector Cancer Center in Mannheim. Details about research projects of the individual FSP-A research groups can be found on the following pages.


Topic Locator

Find research groups by research areas or browse through all research groups and PI names.


The DKFZ-ZMBH-Alliance is a strategic alliance between the Research Program Cell and Tumor Biology and the Center for Molecular Biology of Heidelberg University.

Research Results

Here you can find our latest press releases.

Junior Research Groups

At German Cancer Research Center the following Junior Research Groups have been established.

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