The research at the department of medicine III (Med. Klinik und Poliklinik III- MKIII) focusses on three areas: (i) understanding the biology and improving the diagnosis and treatment of tumors causing endocrine hypertension; (ii) investigating the interface between mutations affecting energy pathway components and disruptions to metabolism as contributors to tumorigenesis and targets for therapy; and (iii) elucidating the molecular mechanisms and involved signaling pathways in bone metastases, a frequent complication in patients with advanced breast or prostate cancer.
In detail, (i) efforts directed towards endocrine hypertension focus on primary aldosteronism, Cushing’s syndrome, and pheochromocytomas. Here, research involves steroid profiling for diagnosis of the tumors and subtype classification to guide therapy. In addition, our research covers improvements to diagnostics, genetics, pathways of tumorigenesis, and use of model systems for new therapeutic interventions. Investigations exploring the interface between genetics and altered energy pathway metabolism (ii) are specifically based on work involving tumors due to mutations of Krebs cycle components. The national research consortium 1586 (SKELMET) aims to investigate the molecular mechanisms of skeletal homing of breast and prostate cancer cells and the anti-tumor potential of specific metabolic and signaling pathways (iii). The mechanisms why these cancers metastasize to bone are still incompletely understood and therapeutic intervention is limited. We investigate mesenchymal and osteogenic pathways in bone metastases using cancer cell lines, animal models, and molecular imaging. Furthermore, we aim to identify and validate novel targets that have the potential to translate into an improved patient care, by targeting the mevalonate pathway and the Wnt signaling.