The DKFZ Junior Research Group “Developmental Origins of Pediatric Cancer” headed by Lena M. Kutscher, PhD, is part of the DKFZ research program "Functional and Structural Genome Research".
Our group is focused on understanding how aberrations in normal neurodevelopment can lead to pediatric brain cancer. We are particularly interested in understanding how driver mutations in the cell-of-origin cause pediatric medulloblastoma. We also focus on hereditary predisposition to childhood cancer.
Because no single model completely recapitulates normal human brain development, our group uses a combination of mouse models, human induced pluripotent stem cells, and patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models to investigate the interplay between neurodevelopment and tumorigenesis.
An iPSC is a so-called "pluripotent" stem cell that can differentiate into virtually any cell in the body, including cells of the brain. iPSCs can be derived from skin or blood cells and then "induced" in the laboratory to become pluripotent...