The rise of next generation sequencing (NGS) has opened up new opportunities for translating high-throughput genomics into clinical practice. In 2011, the DKFZ has established the Heidelberg Center for Personalized Oncology (DKFZ-HIPO), which offers a program for personalized oncology with the aim to translate latest research and technologies from the “omics” fields (genomics, transcriptomics, etc.) and systems biology/medicine into clinical practice.
During the first HIPO funding period from 2011 to 2016, the center developed the infrastructure and workflows that have allowed sample processing, DNA/RNA sequencing, data management and bioinformatics analyses in more than 60 HIPO funded projects from researchers of the DKFZ in collaboration with clinical partners. The covered entities included colorectal cancer, brain tumors, sarcoma, leukemia and lymphomas, pancreatic carcinomas, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, lung cancer, and others. Numerous publications have been published in high-ranking journals.
The second funding period, HIPO2, started end of 2016 and supports 13 larger projects dedicated to the implementation of personalized therapy approaches and the assessment of therapy response and resistance. The clinical consequences of the molecular results are discussed in Molecular Tumor Boards for novel treatment strategies. Currently, HIPO also explores the integration of novel approaches with potentially high relevance in personalized oncology such as liquid biopsies and immunoprofiling.
As of today DKFZ-HIPO is a very successful and unique program that takes a pioneering role in the field of personalized oncology, both nationally and internationally.