... in Oncology

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Personalized Oncology

In cancer diagnostics and therapy, the concept of Personalized Medicine is already being implemented in patient care. Molecular information helps to identify suitable drugs and therapy strategies or to predict possible resistance to a therapy. Additionally, we use processes in which individual active substances are customized for the patient.

The individualized assessment of possible treatment options for each patient is carried out by specialists from various disciplines in interdisciplinary case conferences, the so-called Molecular Tumor Boards.


Approaches in personalized oncology

  • Modern advanced molecular diagnostic
  • Evaluation of advanced therapeutic options based on molecular information
  • Inclusion in molecularly stratified studies
  • Use of drugs outside of the actual approval (off label) when the molecular profil is suitable
  • Identification of possible resistance factors to molecular therapy
  • Individualized therapeutic approaches such as cell based therapies and immotherapies

Molecular Tumor Boards

The participants of the interdisciplinary case conferences, the so-called Molecular Tumor Boards, discuss the clinical data and molecular findings of cancer patients. The board's role is to identify additional targeted therapy options for tumor patients after guideline-based treatment has been exhausted.

Particularly for patients

  • without further guideline-based therapy options
  • with no prospect of success of the remaining guideline-based therapy options
  • with rare tumor diseases or unusual disease progression and thus a lack of guideline-based therapy options 

molecular characteristics found by advanced diagnostics can be relevant for individual therapy recommendations. The therapy recommendations may be participation in a molecularly stratified study or therapy with drugs that are not approved for the disease (off label). Determining that there are no molecular treatment options available may also be the finding of a Molecular Tumor Board, thus protecting the patient from unnecessary therapies and adverse effects. The decision regarding possible further therapy is always made by the patient together with the attending physician. 

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How is a Molecular Tumorboard composed?

The discussion of the usually very complex findings requires a much broader interdisciplinary composition than classical tumor boards of oncology centers. Typically, participants of a molecular tumor board are the following:

  • Attending physicians,
  • Molecular pathologists,
  • Natural scientists,
  • Bioinformaticians 
  • Human geneticists
  • Radiologists and specialists in nuclear medicine

Attending physicians of external patients (outside of the University Clinics) may participate in the Molecular Tumor Board via telephone or video conference.

What is the molecular basis of the therapy recommendations?

Molecular diagnostics serve as the basis for each individual therapy recommendation and are continually being further developed. In particular, the ZPM use genetic analyses of tumor tissue using Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) and immunohistochemical staining methods for functional analyses. Analyses of tumor metabolism or tumor proteins are possible as well. Between the ZPMs there is continuous harmonization and further development of the analytical methods, which ensures a high level of quality and standardized treatment at the ZPMs.

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