UNDERSTANDING AND TARGETING RESISTANCE in Glioblastoma (UNITE Glioblastoma) is a unique research initiative funded within the frame of the program for Collaborative Research Centers (Sonderforschungsbereiche) of the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeischaft). The initiative is coordinated by the University of Heidelberg and brings together physician-scientists and scientists from the Heidelberg University Hospital (UKHD), the University Hospital Mannheim (UMM), the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and the Mannheim University of Applied Sciences (Hochschule Mannheim (HSMA)).
UNITE Glioblastoma is triggered by the strong vision that glioblastoma is treatable. To tackle this challenge, the research strategy is driven by innovation, strong collaboration and a focus on clinical implementation.
The UNITE research program focuses on unraveling mechanisms of intrinsic resistance (Focus A) and mechanisms of resistance conferred by the microenvironment (Focus B). Utilizing state-of the art technological innovation, novel high-throughput technologies, preclinical models, and analytical tools will be developed, applied, and shared as a resource within the initiative (Focus C). Integrated cores for tissue material, including a core set of jointly used patient-derived models, and integrative data analysis (Focus D) support work package leaders to efficiently use personal multi-dimensional-omic data for therapy guidance and precision medicine. For 100 selected tissue samples – the UNITE Core Collection – a uniform, integrated data matrix, consisting of multi-omics, imaging and clinical data, will be generated to understand initiation, progression and therapy resistance of glioblastomas at a molecular basis of patient-derived tissues. By drawing a multidimensional map of therapy resistance, UNITE aims to develop concepts to predict and monitor treatment response and failure, and ultimately, to invent novel (combination) therapies for glioblastoma patients.
The initiative is founded on the following overarching aims:
- All projects focus on the definition of overarching molecular programs (master switches) to subgroup the disease glioblastoma into categories of differential resistance profiles. The IDH mutation serves as a role model in the initial funding period and will most likely be replaced by focus on other molecular pathways in the future.
- The basis for clinically-derived hypotheses, but also initial validation, is the jointly developed UNITE Core Collection.
- The UNITE research program is driving and making use of technological advances at all levels. Principle investigators and projects are carefully selected according to their focus on innovation.
- All research groups believe that high-level data integration is necessary to foster collaboration, but also allows the development of diagnostic, prognostic, predictive and therapeutic tools for clinical application.
- Most projects are embedded into or paralleled by one or more clinical trials. This integration allows translation and reverse translation. The use of existing trials over the intended 12-year period will gradually be replaced by independently funded UNITE clinical trials in the fields of novel diagnostics, precision neuro-(and radiation) oncology, and immunooncology.
Strong partners working together.
Strategic management and decision making.