Prof. Dr. Schäfer Beat W.

Main Field(s) of Research, Abstract
The main field of our research activity is the elucidation of the molecular mechanisms underlying development of pediatric sarcomas with special emphasis on the role of oncogenic fusion proteins generated by chromosomal translocations. Novel insights into these mechanisms are used in translational approaches to advance diagnosis and treatment in pediatric patients, carried out in close collaboration with clinical studies.

We use mainly two tumor models in our laboratory namely the pediatric soft tissue sarcoma rhabdomyosarcoma as well as a pediatric bone tumor, Ewing's sarcoma, which are both characterized by specific chromosomal translocations. The following specific projects are being persued at the moment:

  • Identification of mechanisms regulating the activity of the oncogenic transcription factor PAX3/FKHR and EWS/FLI1.
  • Development of novel treatment strategies based on specific inhibition of these transcription factors.
  • Identification of potential tumor stem cells in pediatric sarcomas.
  • Development of low-throughput screening technologies and strategies to identify novel treatment approaches.
  • Generation of a conditional mouse model for alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma.
  • Generation of novel xenograft tumor models for pre-clinical studies.

Main Fields of Research, Keywords
Rhabdomyosarcoma, Ewing's sarcoma, PAX3/FKHR, EWS/FLI1, siRNA, small molecules, transgenic animals

Special Techniques and Equipment
Microarray technologies incl. arrayCGH, Proteomics, transgenic animals, FACS analysis, cytogenetics, FISH

Education and Training
We have training opportunities for PhD-, Master- and MD- students and MDs interested in the research topics mentioned above. For MD Thesis: minimal duration of MD Thesis in the Laboratory is 6 -12 months.