Group Leader: Stephan N. Wagner
Medical University of Vienna
Division of Immunology, Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Department of Dermatology,
General Hospital Vienna
Waehringer Gürtel 18-20
Phone: +43 (0)1 40400 - 77140
Therapeutic resistance and metastatic proclivity are hallmarks of melanoma, the most aggressive type of skin cancer. The recent therapeutic breakthroughs with kinase and checkpoint inhibitors have significantly prolonged the survival of patients with metastatic melanoma, but still almost all of these patients die from the disease. This exemplifies the need for novel therapy strategies.
Human melanoma is a heterogeneous disease at both the genetic and the cellular level and genetic switches as well as changes in the cellular composition and activity of the different cell types within the tumor (the tumor microenvironment) are mechanisms underlying drug resistance.
Main topics of our research are the
- identification of changes in the cellular composition and activity of the tumor microenvironment to detect novel therapeutic vulnerabilities of melanoma;
- identification of novel disease-relevant genetic alterations to describe and validate novel paths to inhibition of melanoma growth and progression.
We are addressing these questions to ultimately stratify the right treatment for the right patient at the right time, which is the essence of precision medicine. We did this in the last decade primarily by exploiting genomic data from human melanoma samples using generalized linear bioinformatic models. For further refinement we have additionally generated proteomic data in the last years and have now started to integrate (phospho)-proteomic with genomic data by systems biology approaches relying on data integration and network theory. That way we will build maps of tumor cell composition and tumor cell signaling networks to lay the foundation for a novel type of precision therapy in melanoma patients and its further clinical development in systems biology level-informed clinical trials.