Ties Between Science and Clinical Practices

Prof. Dr. Georg Lenz works on treatment approaches to lymph gland cancer

Photos

CiM Professor Georg Lenz and his research group investigate new treatments for lymph gland cancer. More than half of his working hours is provided for research, in addition he works as a treating physician at the University Hospital Münster.
© CiM - Peter Grewer
  • Doctoral student Beiying Dai prepares tumour cell cultures. The working group aims to identify and deactivate molecules and signaling pathways that are responsible for the formation of lymph gland cancer.
    © CiM - Peter Grewer
  • The tumour cells are genetically modified and grown under controlled conditions in a nutrient solution.
    © CiM - Peter Grewer
  • Using a flow cytometer doctoral student Tabea Erdmann analyses how tumour cells change over time and whether they die due to a genetic modification.
    © CiM - Peter Grewer

Prof. Dr. Georg Lenz is an oncologist and haematologist, he mainly treats patients at the University Hospital Münster who suffer from aggressive cancer of the lymphatic glands. But you will not only meet him in the hospital. Prof. Lenz spends a good share of his working time in his laboratory. He is doing research work on new medical treatment approaches on a molecular level in order to improve the recovery chances of patients with lymph gland cancer. Lenz’ position was created for the purpose of combining just these two fields of activity. He is CiM Professor of Translational Oncology. The concept behind it is: the medical doctor and scientist should, wherever possible, directly apply his scientific findings to clinical therapy and take up and intern apply impulses from the clinic to his research.

Three Questions for CiM Professor Georg Lenz

You have worked in the Medical Clinic A (Oncology) at the University Hospital Münster since October 2014. What did you do before?
After spending several years as a physician at the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, I have spent more than four years in the USA performing my postdoctoral research. In 2009 I was appointed as an Assistant Professor at the Charité in Berlin. Besides leading a laboratory I was always involved in direct patient care.

Was moving from Berlin to Münster difficult for you?
No. My wife, my two children and I were looking forward to living in Münster. We liked Berlin a lot but also find Münster a very attractive city.

Which scientific question are you working on?
My research team and I are working on the molecular characterisisation of malignant lymphomas. It is our goal to identify molecules and signaling pathways that are involved in the pathogenesis of these entities. In our studies, we try to knock down these proteins and signaling cascades. Unfortunately, it is not as easy as it sounds. But we have already detected several pathways that are essential for lymphoma survival. Our findings will soon be tested within a clinical trial at the University Hospital Münster and in doing so, we will try to make improvements towards a more targeted and therefore more individualised therapy for lymphoma patients.

Background: CiM Professorship of Clinical Translation

Prof. Dr. Georg Lenz is a member of the Cells-in-Motion Cluster of Excellence and heads one of more than 80 research groups in the field of life sciences and natural sciences which investigate cellular behaviour in its full molecular complexity by developing and applying different imaging strategies. Scientific exchange and cooperation between different faculties are essential for the research subjects. Together, the CiM researchers not only improve biomedical basic research but also the implementation of the results into clinical practice. “Georg Lenz’ CiM professorship optimaly represents the translational aspect of the Cluster of Excellence,” says CiM spokesperson Prof. Dr. Lydia Sorokin.

Only few physicians can do research parallel to their everyday clinical work. This way, physicians as well as patients benefit from the proximity between research and clinical practice. “Here, no expert knowledge is lost between basic research and clinical application,” says Prof. Dr. Michael Schäfers, CiM Co-Coordinator and head of Department of Nuclear Medicine at the University Hospital Münster.

The Cluster of Excellence is funding Georg Lenz’ position as professor for three years. Another translational CiM professorship with the focus on “Regenerative Medicine” is presently under appointment procedure.