Research Training Group 2154 - Materials for Brain

P8: Neuroimplants for glioblastoma therapy (J. Held-Feindt)

Gliomas represent the majority of primary brain tumors in adults, and the most malignant form, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), accounts for more than 15% of all intracranial tumors. This tumor entity is characterized by a pronounced heterogeneity within and between tumors, yielding at least four clinically relevant subtypes represented by specific genetic abnormalities. Current standard treatment of GBM is surgical resection of the tumor, followed by adjuvant radio- and chemotherapy. However, specialized cell subpopulations in the heterogeneous tumor mass persist therapy, thereby mainly promoting recurrences. Thus, median survival time for GBM patients is still poor, approximating 12-15 months despite multimodal therapy. Since there are no effective treatments for this disease the imperative to develop and evaluate new therapeutic strategies including both alternative chemotherapeutic agents and - for efficient long-term treatments with only small side-effects - local placement of these agents directly in the tumor cavity is mandatory. Given this, in our project we want to identify new treatment strategies and to develop neurological implants for individualized glioblastoma therapy combining the expertise of medical and materials science.

At this, in the first doctoral thesis (2017-2020) we will evaluate in parallel the efficiency and usability of both alternative chemotherapeutic agents and micro-structured, functional materials based on thin film technology in cultured human subtype-specific GBM cells in vitro. In a second step the most promising agents and materials will be connected to agent-material-combinations and their properties will be further evaluated in vitro. For all investigations state-of-the-art methods of cell biology, molecular biology and protein biochemistry will be used. In the second doctoral thesis (starting 2020) agent-material-combinations will be investigated under individualized patient-specific topics and results will be transferred to a rodent model for in vivo evaluation of efficiency and usability of agent-material-combinations.