Our vision and goals – what we want to achieve
In recent years, research findings have shown that the development of diseases such as cancer can´t be attributed to a single trigger. Rather, it is an interplay of different factors that influence each other and in their entirety lead to a disease. Based on this understanding, our goal is to identify the various triggers as well as their interplay that lead to cancer development, control the course of cancer, and influence the response to tumor therapies (surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, etc.). Step by step, this will enable us to diagnose and treat cancer in the best possible, individualized and tailored way in the sense of a personalized high-precision medicine in oncology.
How we plan to achieve this
Possible factors that favor the development of cancer and positively or negatively influence its course as well as the reaction to external influences such as tumor therapies must be captured. On the one hand, these can be external influencing factors, i.e. factors a person is exposed through environmental influences (exposure), and on the other hand, internal predispositions (disposition). Both are always present; depending on the individual, external or internal factors predominate or balance each other out.
The challenge is that these factors should not be considered as static variables, nor should they be considered isolated from each other. This means:
- Some factors by themselves are not harmful and only the interaction of different factors promote the development of a disease.
- The accumulation of one or more factors over a long period of time is disease-promoting or disease-preventing.
- Factors are usually interrelated and can also be mutually dependent
What does that mean specifically
Through longitudinal monitoring (studies of individual cancer patients or healthy people over a long period of time), exposure and disposition variables (i.e. factors that influence the development and progression of cancer diseases) are recorded as part of the research areas “Environmental Health Sciences" and "Medical Information Sciences" of the Medical Faculty of the University of Augsburg. New biomarkers are being identified to detect and characterize metastases and formation of metastases. This will improve our understanding of the pathophysiology (origin and development of disease), but also open up new possibilities in the early detection of cancer and cancer therapy management. As a result, individually tailored therapies can be identified and implemented, enabling personalized high-precision medicine in oncology.