Although the standard of care for different cancer entity has a well-established track record, this is mostly a one-size-fits-all approach that may not be the best option for all patients. It is necessary to identify patients who benefit from a specific treatment and enter long term remission and those who do not benefit and relapse early. Personalized medicine aims to stratify patients based on their individual clinical characteristics, considering disease-related as well as disease-independent individual biomarkers. To establish disease-independent and dependent biomarkers we assembled a strong clinical consortium consisting of four teams running nationally and internationally renowned clinical programs for different cancer entities with direct access to clinical specimen, either through clinical trials or other established routines:

Team Winter

Thoraxklinik Heidelberg

The focus of the team at the Thoraxklinik Heidelberg (Winter, Klotz, Muley, Meister, Schneider) within the SMART-CARE project Heidelberg is the analysis of samples from operated patients with non-small cell lung adenocarcinomas in the early tumor stages IB-II. Despite a curative tumor resection, 30-50 % of these operated patients will experience a tumor recurrence. The Lung Biobank located at the Thoraxklinik Heidelberg provides the cooperation partners of the SMART-CARE consortium with human tissue and blood samples. Moreover, detailed clinical data concerning patient characteristics, tumor entity and classification, perioperative data as well as data on recurrence-free and overall survival is collected in a standardized manner. Based on the proteome and metabolome signatures to be established within the framework of SMART-CARE, as well as the resulting mathematical disease models, optimized treatment strategies will to be developed for future patients. Based on these models individualized therapeutic strategies can be planned to improve the course of the disease and the patients’ survival.

Team Grünewald

DKFZ - B410

We are the clinical SMART-CARE team in terms of “Pediatric/young adult sarcomas” and responsible for receiving, processing and forwarding biomaterial from Ewing sarcoma patients from all over Germany. Our DKFZ division “Translational Pediatric Sarcoma Research” corresponds to the KiTZ division with the same name. Our mission is to improve treatment options for children and adolescents affected by sarcomas. We also try to decipher the interactions between acquired mutations and innate natural variants of the genome. SMART-CARE provides us with the chance to establish and develop the personalized medication and treatment in the areas of proteomic and metabolomic analysis. Within the scope of our work we gain access to many different patient samples in terms of pediatric sarcoma. The samples include FFPE-blocks, freshly frozen tumor material as well as serum samples, which are examined, incorporated into data bases and forwarded to the respective institutes.

Team Schirmacher

University Hospital Heidelberg

The Institute of Pathology at Heidelberg University fulfils a wide range of tasks in patient care, research and teaching. The focus of patient care is the diagnostic assessment of tissues (histology) and cell preparations (cytology). Every year, more than about 60,000 specimens from all areas of surgical and conservative medicine are examined carefully, responsibly and using the latest methods. The material is diverse and includes large surgical specimens as well as the smallest biopsies and aspiration and smear cytologies. The examinations are carried out in close cooperation with the sending clinics and are an elementary component of clinical diagnostics and therapy planning.
The Institute's research activities are focused on various aspects of investigative pathology and aim to elucidate the mechanisms underlying disease development and progression. As part of the SMART-CARE project, the Institute of Pathology, in collaboration with the tissue bank of the National Centre for Tumour Diseases, is responsible for standardised collection and quality-assured assessment of the tissue samples used in this project. These examinations form the basis for the reliability of the generated results. In addition, we work closely with the project partners to enable a meaningful clinicopathological interpretation of the results and to contribute to the systems medicine stratification of the risk of cancer recurrence.

Team von Deimling

University Hospital Heidelberg

Neuropathology Heidelberg aims at promoting medical research to clinical practice. Expertise and infrastructure ranging from sample acquisition and preparation, mass spectrometry analysis and downstream bioinformatical evaluation is focussed on several projects: Our central SMART-CARE effort aims at identifying novel prognostic biomarkers for IDH-mutant astrocytoma employing standard operating procedures devised in the consortium.

Team Müller-Tidow & Dietrich

University Hospital Heidelberg

The hematology team (Müller-Tidow/ Dietrich/ Raab) focuses on personalized therapies for patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), lymphoma and myeloma based on an improved biological understanding of the underlying disease. Within SMART-CARE consortium, we focus on identifying proteomic and metabolic biomarkers for the prediction of the recurrence of these tumors. We combine metabolomics and proteomics profiles with a detailed genetic and transcriptomics characterization of these tumor samples to understand if proteomic- and metabolomic profiles explain variance of clinical outcome beyond established biomarkers.

Mareike Knoll, Antonia Angeli-Terzidou, Sascha Dietrich, Felix Czernilofsky (from left to right)