- Sample Processing Laboratory (SPL)
- CHromatin And RNA Methods Laboratory (CHARM)
- Data Management
- Intelligent Imaging - 3D high content screening
- Project Management
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 national and international.
DKFZ-HIPO integrates high-level expertise in functional genomics, bioinformatics, and translational oncology under a unified organizational structure:
- HIPOgen – Genome Analysis (Peter Lichter),
- HIPOsys – Systems Biology (Roland Eils),
- HIPOmed – Precision Oncology (Christof von Kalle).
The following Technology Platforms partner up in the HIPO workflow to pursue the centers’ ambitious goals:
Within HIPO, the Sample Processing Laboratory (SPL) (K. Pfütze, C. Geörg) has been founded to provide DNA/RNA isolation and quality control services to ensure the high quality standards required for sequencing. In addition, the CHromatin And RNA Methods (CHARM) Laboratory (JP. Mallm) was established by HIPO to provide novel genome-wide chromatin and RNA methods also on a single cell level. For sequencing, HIPO cooperates with the High-Throughput Sequencing Unit and Microarray Unit of the DKFZ Genomics and Proteomics Core Facility (GPCF) (S. Wiemann, S. Wolf, and M. Bewerunge-Hudler). These units are complemented by a Data Management Platform (J. Eils/C.Lawerenz) that provides data processing and storage. The HIPO Bioinformatics Platform (R. Eils/B.Brors/M.Schlesner) is the central analysis group within HIPO that hosts Germany’s largest data facility in life sciences together with a cutting-edge genome data analysis group. For detailed, mechanistic studies of deregulated molecular pathways, in vivo a Next-Generation Microscopic Imaging Platform (C. Conrad) and a Mass Spectrometry Platform are currently being established. In addition, the sample acquisition processes involve the Pathology Department and the NCT Liquid Bank.
Within HIPOmed, the Precision Oncology Program of the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT-POP) directly links the activities inside HIPO to the MASTER program. In this context the NCT MASTER Program has established a protocol that provides prospective whole-exome/genome and transcriptome sequencing within a clinical context, evaluates the molecular data from a clinical perspective and formulates treatment recommendations that can be translated into individualized patient care.