Imaging and Radiooncology

Research Program

Imaging and Radiooncology

Research Program

Imaging and Radiooncology

Coordinator Prof. Dr. med. Dipl.-Phys. Heinz-Peter Schlemmer

The Research Program E (FSP-E) combines applied and translational cancer research groups focusing in the areas of cancer imaging, radiation therapy and data science. The FSP-E is a unique research program at the DKFZ that performs research from basic science at the biophysical and molecular levels to preclinical research and research in cancer patients involving the imaging and treatment of cancer within own prospective controlled clinical trials.
There are four main research areas within the FSP-E program that focus on cancer research with the ultimate aim of improving the diagnosis and treatment of cancer

  • Radiological Imaging:
    Focuses on the development of imaging technologies such as ultrasound (US), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) and positron emission tomography (PET) to allow better anatomical and functional imaging of the cancer within the patient. Multiparametric imaging is applied in cancer patients to early detect and accurately localize cancer, to assess local and distant spreading and to provide information about the individual biologic behavior. In collaboration with clinical partners and focusing on various tumor entities, the information is used for personalized therapy planning, guidance, monitoring and follow-up in clinical studies and multidisciplinary therapy approaches.
  • Radiation Oncology:
    Focuses on the development of novel therapeutic methods and technologies using photon and ion beams including protons, carbon ions and others. The research covers a broad spectrum from basic research in radiobiology to medical physics with the aim to integrate spatial, temporal and biological information into radiotherapy planning. Since tumor motion, anatomical and functional changes all impact radiotherapy outcome, extensive research is performed on personalized and adaptive radiotherapy to mitigate motion effects during therapy and account for metabolic changes. MR-guided radiotherapy and in-vivo monitoring systems based on secondary radiation emission or direct imaging with ion beams are major research areas.
  • Computational Biomedicine:
    Focuses on machine learning and information processing, with the particular aim of improving cancer patient care by systematic data analytics. Building on advances in surgical, radiological and clinical data sciences, such as image interpretation, holistic data processing and semantic modeling, IT platform technology is being developed to integrate the heterogeneous patient data including molecular characteristics and process data.
  • Nuclear Medicine:
    Focuses on the design, development and pre-clinical evaluation of novel targets and theranostic radiopharmaceuticals for imaging (PET & SPECT), disease stratification and targeted radionuclide therapy (TRNT) of disseminated cancer as well as on the clinical translation of most promising candidates. TRNT is an attractive treatment option, where radionuclides are directed to particular cancer-associated targets (receptors, antigens, enzymes or other molecular structures) by specific binders. While external beam radiation is highly effective in treating local tumors, TRNT has emerged as an effective therapeutic strategy for disseminated (metastasized) cancer disease.
In addition to the research effort within FSP-E, there is a strong cooperation between the research scientists at the DKFZ and the clinicians at the University Hospital of Heidelberg and National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT). Further cooperations exist within the network of the German Cancer Consortium (DKTK). The clinical translational groups within FSP-E allow for novel research discoveries to be rapidly adopted within the clinical hospital environment at the Universities of Heidelberg and Mannheim.


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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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