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Young Investigator Award for DKFZ researcher

No. 37a | 11/07/2017 | by Koh

For his work towards developing a vaccine against brain tumors, Lukas Bunse from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) has received the Young Investigator Award of the 2017 Württemberg Cancer Award. The award comes with a budget of €15,000.

Lukas Bunse

Tumor cells often exhibit gene mutations that lead to altered proteins. Lukas Bunse investigates how a tumor vaccination that specifically targets the cancer mutation can support the immune system in fighting rare types of brain cancer without harming healthy cells.

In some types of brain cancer, the tumor cells produce a uniquely altered version of a protein molecule called IDH1. In collaboration with colleagues from the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) in Heidelberg, Bunse has developed a vaccine that uses this mutated protein as a "wanted photo", thus training the immune system to fight tumor cells that exhibit the specific mutation. The vaccine is currently being tested in a clinical trial. Bunse will use the money that comes with the award to study how the vaccination therapy against mutated brain cancer cells can be further enhanced.

Lukas Bunse was born on June 17, 1988 in Villingen-Schwenningen, Germany. He studied medicine at Heidelberg University and University College London and pursued his doctoral studies in Michael Platten's lab at the DKFZ and at the Neurology Department of Heidelberg University Hospital, where he earned his MD in 2016. In 2013/2014, he was a visiting researcher at Harvard Medical School in Boston, USA. Since 2016, he has been a staff scientist at the Clinical Cooperation Unit "Neuroimmunology and Brain Tumor Immunology" at the DKFZ in Heidelberg.

Bunse receives the Young Investigator Award of the 2017 Württemberg Cancer Award from the Dres. Carl. Maximilian und Carl Manfred Bayer Foundation in recognition of his work on the topic "The role of tumoral and stromal MHC class II expression in the context of neoepitope-specific brain tumor vaccinations".

Every year since 2009, the foundation has awarded the Württemberg Cancer Award as 'Project Prize' and/or 'Young Investigator Award' to recognize the work of young, talented medical doctors who are specifically focused on cancer research. Scientists younger than 40 years who carry out their research or were born in Württemberg are eligible for the awards. The prizes for 2017 have a total budget of €55,000.

An image for this press release is available at:

Source: private

Note on use of images related to press releases
Use is free of charge. The German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) permits one-time use in the context of reporting about the topic covered in the press release. Images have to be cited as follows: "Source: DKFZ".
Distribution of images to third parties is not permitted unless prior consent has been obtained from DKFZ's Press Office (phone: ++49-(0)6221 42 2854, E-mail: Any commercial use is prohibited.

With more than 3,000 employees, the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) is Germany’s largest biomedical research institute. DKFZ scientists identify cancer risk factors, investigate how cancer progresses and develop new cancer prevention strategies. They are also developing new methods to diagnose tumors more precisely and treat cancer patients more successfully. The DKFZ's Cancer Information Service (KID) provides patients, interested citizens and experts with individual answers to questions relating to cancer.

To transfer promising approaches from cancer research to the clinic and thus improve the prognosis of cancer patients, the DKFZ cooperates with excellent research institutions and university hospitals throughout Germany:

  • National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT, 6 sites)
  • German Cancer Consortium (DKTK, 8 sites)
  • Hopp Children's Cancer Center (KiTZ) Heidelberg
  • Helmholtz Institute for Translational Oncology (HI-TRON Mainz) - A Helmholtz Institute of the DKFZ
  • DKFZ-Hector Cancer Institute at the University Medical Center Mannheim
  • National Cancer Prevention Center (jointly with German Cancer Aid)
The DKFZ is 90 percent financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and 10 percent by the state of Baden-Württemberg. The DKFZ is a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers.


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