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
Therapy resistance and metastatic propensity are hallmarks of melanoma, the most aggressive form of skin cancer. Recent therapeutic breakthroughs with kinase and checkpoint inhibitors have significantly increased survival in patients with metastatic melanoma, but still almost all of these patients die from the disease. This highlights the need for new therapeutic strategies.
Human melanoma is a heterogeneous disease at both the genetic and cellular levels. Genetic alterations 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.
The main topics of our research are the
- Identification of changes in the cellular composition and activity of the tumor microenvironment to identify novel therapeutic vulnerabilities of melanoma;
- Identification of novel disease-relevant genetic alterations to describe and validate new pathways to inhibit melanoma growth and progression.
We address these questions to ultimately stratify the right treatment for the right patient at the right time, which is at the core of precision medicine. Over the past decade, we have achieved this primarily by analyzing genomic data from human melanoma samples using generalized linear bioinformatics models. For further refinement, we have generated additional proteomic data in recent years and have now begun to integrate (phospho)-proteomic with genomic data using systems biology approaches based on data integration and network theory with collaborative partners. In this way, we will generate maps of tumor cell composition and tumor cell signaling networks to provide the basis for novel precision therapy in melanoma patients and their further clinical development in systems biology informed clinical trials.