The primary goal of the lbi:ad is the identification and validation of novel “dual (modality) biomarkers” that combine molecular biology and imaging technologies allowing for minimal-invasive tumor diagnostics.
We envision a novel concept of in vivo pathology, which enables a detailed and functional assessment of the tumor subtype on the basis of gene expression, mutation status, epigenetic characteristics, vascularisation, metabolomics, and expression of surface receptors and/or further molecular characteristics. These features will be assessed through a combined use of liquid biopsy biomarkers and multi-kit imaging tracers, which together will allow for a functional, real-time, sequential and minimal-invasive diagnostic approach. With this, we expect to identify subtypes of tumors to underpin a personalised selection of therapeutic regimens, but also to permit for the detailed monitoring of early therapy response to allow adaptations of the therapeutic plans.
We expect that our vision of in vivo pathology will meaningfully support the implementation of precision medicine and that it could significantly improve patient outcomes with available therapies. This institute, as a locally concentrated research infrastructure, will for the first time combine novel methods ranging from molecular imaging, molecular pathology and development of dual modality biomarkers up to clinical trials. The lbi:ad aims at developing and translating a more cost effective concept of in vivo pathology into clinical routine with a vision to provide improved outcomes for cancer patients on the basis of precise stratification of patients for available therapy.
The specific objectives are:
Development of “dual (modality) biomarkers” for non-invasive tumor diagnostics using
- Molecular imaging with radiolabeled tracers for in-patient diagnostics and
- Liquid biopsy diagnostics for molecular tumor characterisation
Development of pre-clinical models including organoid-like 3D tissue culture and patient-derived xenografts (PDX) of primary tumor cells for
- Preclinical validation of dual biomarkers
- Identification of predictive markers using drug screens
- Evaluation of tumor biology
Translation of new diagnostic methods into the clinics
- Retrospective validation of liquid biopsy biomarkers
- Prospective clinical trials combining PET imaging and liquid biopsy diagnostics of already established methods
- First-in-Man studies to prove the capabilities of developed markers and to correlate “dual markers” with tumor physiology and pathology