Uniklinik Düsseldorf

Neurochirurgische Klinik - Laboratory of Experimental Neurooncology

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common malignant primary brain tumor in adults. Despite recent advances in the diagnostic assessment and therapeutic management, including surgical resection of the contrast-enhancing lesion followed by concomitant and adjuvant radiochemotherapy, most patients die within 1 to 2 years of diagnosis due to tumor progression. A major factor contributing to the poor prognosis and limited overall therapeutic success in GBM patients is the highly invasive pattern of the tumor growth. Moreover, tumor initiation and resistance to current therapeutic modalities have been linked to a subpopulation of tumor cells, called brain tumor stem-like cells (BTSC), which share many properties with neural stem cells, such as unlimited self-renewal and divergent differentiation potential. BTSC have been isolated and purified from several human CNS malignancies, including GBMs, using fluorescent activated cell sorting based on the expression of the membrane-bound protein prominin-1, also known as CD133. BTSC-enriched populations of tumor-derived CD133-positive cells can be propagated under serum-free cell culture conditions, thus providing the opportunity to study molecular mechanisms leading to their aberrant phenotypic features,
BTSCs are controlled by both intrinsic regulatory mechanisms and environmental cues. It has been reported that several pathways involved in neural stem cell function and brain development are also important in BTSCs. These include the Notch, Hippo, Shh and WNT/β-catenin signaling pathways.Aberrant activation of these pathways is a hallmark of neoplastic transformation in the brain and various other tissues. Thus, their targeted inhibition may diminish the BTSC population in GBM and thereby decrease cell proliferation.
Our translational research projects focus on the elucidation of the biology of BTSC, especially the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transistion process leading to the mesenchymal transformation of the tumors and induction of the BTSC population, in order to develop new diagnostic tolls and define novel molecular therapeutic targets enabling eradication of the brain tumor initiating cell population.

Research Team
PD Dr. med.  Jarek Maciaczyk (Leader)
Dr. Ulf Kahlert (currently Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA)
Katharina Koch– PhD Student
vacant –PhD Student
Abigail Suwala – MD Student
Donata Maciaczyk - research associate


Uniklinik Düsseldorf
Neurochirurgische Klinik - Laboratory of Experimental Neurooncology
Moorenstr. 5
40225 Düssedlorf
Forschung & Lehre