Verena-Wilbeth Sailer, Universitätsklinikum Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Lübeck
In the midst of the pandemic, Alireza Saraji joined our group as Post-Doc for the mbone project. With his experience in high profile research at the DZL (Deutsches Zentrum für Lungenforschung) in Gießen we are very happy that he decided to relocate his family to Lübeck and that he is eager to work on prostate cancer bone metastases. Despite having to adapt to the new situation with lab work being carried out under stricter hygiene regulations than ever before, he and our technician Janine Stegmann-Frehse were able to perform gene expression analysis from a large number of prostate cancer bone metastases. We were able to show that despite the inferior quality of mRNA that has been subjected to decalcification, formalin fixation and paraffin embedding we managed to perform robust gene expression analysis. This opens up new ways for research employing archival material from bone samples. This part of the project was initiated and conducted with Sven Perner’s group (TP 20), thus upholding the spirit of collaboration that makes the µbone project such a strong research environment. In the same spirit we received a lot of support from Klaus Pantel and Stefan Werner (TP19) who helped us establishing liquid biopsy techniques in our lab. Since we are passionate about translational research we are confident that we will be able to perfom gene expression analysis in circulating tumor cells thus validating our findings from the prostate cancer metastases. Despite having to overcome major hurdles this year due to the pandemic situation we hope that with the major advances we see in other areas of research, i.e. COVID vaccine development, we will be able to resume our normal lab schedule soon.