DKFZ-HIPO Services

  • Sample Processing Laboratory (SPL)
  • CHromatin And RNA Methods Laboratory (CHARM)
  • Next-Generation-Sequencing (GPCF)
  • Omics IT and Data Management Core Facility (ODCF)
  • Bioinformatics
  • Project Management


Heidelberg Center for Personalized Oncology (DKFZ-HIPO)

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.

The center integrates the following three areas of expertise:

  • HIPOgen Genome Analysis (Peter Lichter),

  • HIPOsysComputational Biology (Benedikt Brors and Roland Eils),

  • HIPOmedPrecision Oncology (Stefan Fröhling and Christof von Kalle).


Figure 1 Haus 

 The structure of DKFZ-HIPO



During the last years the center developed the infrastructure and workflows that allow for sample processing, DNA/RNA sequencing, data management and bioinformatics analyses in DKFZ-HIPO funded projects from researchers of the DKFZ in collaboration with clinical partners. The following DKFZ technology platforms partner up in the DKFZ-HIPO workflow: Sample Processing Laboratory (SPL), CHromatin And RNA Methods (CHARM) Laboratory, Single Cell Open Lab (scOpen Lab), the High-Throughput Sequencing and Microarray Units of the DKFZ Genomics and Proteomics Core Facility (DKFZ-GPCF), the Omics IT and Data Management Core Facility (DKFZ-ODCF) as well as bioinformatics teams. In addition, the sample acquisition processes involve the Pathology Department and the NCT Liquid Bank.


Figure 2 WorkflowMany HIPO projects run according to the clinical workflow. Projects using the research workflow aim at the implementation of novel personalized oncology approaches.


HIPO2, the second funding period of DKFZ-HIPO, started end of 2016 and sup­ports 13 clinical projects dedicated to the implementation of personalized therapy approaches, the assessment of therapy response and resistance, and immunoprofiling. Many of these projects run according to the clinical workflow as the clinical consequences of the molecular results are discussed in Molecular Tumor Boards for novel treatment strategies.

Since the end of 2017, DKFZ-HIPO supports additional 13 projects implementing novel technologies with potentially high relevance in personalized oncology – liquid biopsies and single cell sequencing (see figure 2). The analysis of circulating tumor cells or cfDNA from blood or serum of patients is highly useful for treatment monitor­ing and may be a powerful tool to improve prediction of therapy response and relapse. Single cell DNA and RNA sequencing support the understanding of clonal diversity in complex biological processes related to the development of therapy resistant clones and metastatic spread. Both approaches might become promising avenues in the field of personalized oncology, guiding targeted therapy towards the most malignant clones.

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.


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