Research in the field of onco-orthopedics
About 4,000 new cases of the disease are registered in Germany every year, so sarcomas are among the rarest forms of cancer. Sarcoma often affects young people.
About 600 patients with bone and soft tissue sarcomas are treated annually at the certified sarcoma treatment center Helios Hospital Berlin-Buch. Dr. Maya Niethard, Senior Physician of the Department of Onco-Orthopedics, relies on a new treatment.
The certified center for the treatment of sarcoma Helios Hospital Berlin-Buch is one of the largest in the country. Together with closely related biotech companies CELLphenomics and ASC Oncology, it is working on personalized cancer therapy. While CELLphenomics is conducting research on 3D cell cultures, ASC Oncology uses surgical fragments from patients' tumors to test how effective it is for patients before starting therapy.
This ASC Oncology method has already proven itself in the treatment of a number of solid tumors, carcinomas. Three-dimensional models of the tumor in the form of organelles are grown from the samples and examined by a complex molecular biological method. Then all therapeutic methods are tested on organoids: classical chemotherapy, targeted and antibody-based therapy, as well as immunotherapy.
Sarcomas are different from carcinomas
Sarcomas differ significantly from carcinomas in terms of their biology and therapy. There are over 100 different soft tissue sarcomas, the same subgroups of which may respond differently to the same drugs. Therefore, CELLphenomics, in collaboration with Dr. Maya Niethard, has pioneered the testing of sarcomas. Dr. Niethard is the Senior Physician of the Department of Onco-Orthopedics at Helios Hospital Berlin-Buch and an experienced surgeon at the Sarcoma Center. She relies on the new method to determine the best therapeutic option for the future.
The large number of cases in the sarcoma treatment center makes it easier to choose a treatment method. Dr. Niethard, together with pathological anatomy specialist Dr. Rica Sauer and CELLphenomics, have optimized the collection of tumor samples and standardized them in such a way as to obtain sufficient quantities of vital organelle material. In order to determine reliable tests, the therapeutic methods used in the Hospital are currently being tested on organoids. In some cases, namely, when standard treatments no longer work, ASC Oncology may suggest other possible treatments based on tests already done.
Patients who have consented to the study of their tumor contribute to the fact that for the first time the heterogeneity of sarcomas can be mapped in models and studied. Future patients will be able to directly benefit from the joint work of Dr. Niethard and Dr. Regenbrecht.
A special feature of this project is that a certified sarcoma treatment center is engaged in research activities in the field of sarcomas in conjunction with a startup company CELLphenomics. Specializing in 3D cell cultures, the Berlin-Buch biotechnology company wants to tailor the therapy even more to meet the individual patient's needs. This became possible thanks to the study of organelles, which are created from small fragments of a tumor. The research center is located in the immediate vicinity of the Hospital campus. Here, renowned molecular biologist Dr. Christian Regenbrecht founded two biotechnology companies CELLphenomics and ASC Oncology, which are closely related and focus on the development of personalized cancer therapy.