Prof. Dr. Thomas Dittmar
The Stem Cell Research Group is investigating the role of cell fusion in a human cancer context. It is known that tumor cells can fuse with normal cells, such as macrophages, fibroblasts and stem cells, which could give rise hybrid cells that could exhibit novel properties such as an increased metastatic capacity or an increased drug resistance. In addition to the characterization of hybrid cells resulting from the spontaneous fusion between human mammary epithelial cells, exhibiting stem cell properties, and human breast cancer cells or human mesenchymal stem cells and breast, colon, pancreatic and melanoma cells, the process of cell fusion is also being intensively researched. Although cell fusion is involved in many physiological and pathophysiological processes, this process is still not understood. The elucidation of this process may be helpful in the development of novel cancer therapies.