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Central Project Z: Z-Biobanking – Z-Imaging – Z-MedChem


Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Dr. PH Petra Ina Pfefferle
Comprehensive Biomaterial Bank Marburg CBBMR
Faculty of Medicine
Philipps-Universität Marburg
Website: Corefacilities/Biobank


Dr. rer. nat. Katrin Roth
In Vivo Imaging
Center for Tumor- and Immune Biology (ZTI)
Philipps-Universität Marburg
Website: Zelluläre Bildgebung

Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Wibke Diederich
Pharmaceutical chemistry
Center for Tumor- and Immune Biology (ZTI)
Website: Medizinische Chemie

Project aims:

The central project platform (Z) will deliver standardization of clinical specimens, in vivo and in-vitro PDAC models and chemical compounds as well as front-end research technology to all CRU-participants. In order to ensure a direct clinical translation, we propose to include biobanking of clinical specimens (Z-Biobanking) suited for the analysis of tumor-microenvironment interactions; to detect previously established molecular PDAC subtypes and to identify novel prognostic and predictive signatures targeting tumor-microenvironment interactions to be verified in first clinical pilot trials. For this purpose, prospectively collected resected PDAC tumors will be subjected to a comprehensive molecular and immunological characterization including RNA-Sequencing, NGS of a panel of frequently mutated genes in PDAC, immune phenotyping and expert histological assessment. This basic data will allow studying the dependency of data obtained in the individual CRU projects from the molecular and immunological profile of the resected PDACs. In addition, the Z-Biobanking will perform ex vivo isolations of primary patient cells following standardized protocols for in vitro analyses planned by this consortium.

The central project will also provide advanced in-vivo imaging techniques (Z-Imaging) such as mouse intravital imaging by means of small animal ultrasound or two-photon microscopy as well as support studies of live/fixed tissue samples by spinning-disc microscopy or confocal imaging. Again, standardization efforts are implemented to ensure constant high-quality ultrasound measurements and animal handling during in vivo imaging.

Finally, a medicinal chemistry platform (Z-MedChem) is included in the central project for the synthesis of compounds targeting tumor-microenvironment interactions. This will enable researchers to develop novel inhibitors for proof-of-principle studies, improve the pharmacological properties of existing ones or to obtain larger drug amounts for in vivo experiments.