NCT Immunotherapy Program

Tumor immunology is one of the most innovative areas of oncology. Many active research groups of DKFZ and of Heidelberg Medical Faculty are collaborating within the Heidelberg Immunology Network. Almost every aspect of tumor immunology is represented in this network: starting from immunodiagnostics and analysis of immune evasion mechanisms, treatment strategies such as tumor vaccination and breaking immune tolerance to development of anti-tumor antibodies to initiate  a T cell response and, in particular, reversing treatment resistance by modulating apoptotic signaling.


The Immunotherapy Program (coordinator: Prof. Dr. Peter Krammer) is closely linked with Molecular Diagnostics and Novel Therapeutics and provides information and tools for other research fields of translational therapeutic oncology.


Recent Discoveries
(1) a novel p16INK4a staining technique for HPV-related lesions (Reuschenbach Int J Cancer 2012; Ikenberg J Natl Cancer Inst. 2013). This CINtec plus test in global use was developed by mtm laboratories AG, acquired by Roche in 2011 ( (2) familial risk of cancer (Kharazmi BMJ 2012), (3) TERT promoter mutations in  sporadic melanoma (Horn Science 2013), (4) translocations may have a genetic basis (Weinhold Nature Genet 2013), (5) new genetic susceptibility loci for multiple myeloma (Chubb Nature Genet 2013), and (6) personalized prevention strategies based on inherited genetic characteristics (Coghill Gut 2011; Seufert Carcinogenesis 2013; Coghill Clin Canc Res 2011; Kraus Pharmacogen Genom 2013; Haug Genes Chrom Cancer 2012).