Projects using PATH Biobank

Since 2008, PATH has supported more than 20 scientific projects, providing samples (tissue and/or serum) as well as the corresponding pseudonymized data. Some of these projects exclusively use datasets provided by PATH Biobank. Below, we present recent research projects and the scientific partners who implemented them. Former projects are listed as well.

A list of publications, lectures, poster presentations and additional scientific output having been developed using PATH Biobank’s samples, can be downloaded here: research projects - publications.

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Scientific partner: Prof. Bernd Bodenmiller, Johanna Wagner, Sandra Tietscher – Department of Quantitative Biomedicine, University of Zurich

Prof. Bodenmiller's research group at the Department of Quantitative Biomedicine at the University of Zurich has been working with samples from the PATH Biobank since 2013. The working title for the first cooperation was: "Analyzing human breast tumor heterogeneity and macrophage infiltrates and their relevance for patient outcomes by mass cytometry".

For these investigations, the so-called mass cytometry technique is used, which Prof. Bodenmiller co-developed as a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University and has since successfully developed further. This method is similar to flow cytometry. Individual cells are labelled with antibodies and analysed. The special feature is that up to 100 "characteristics" (so-called biomarkers) of a single cell can be investigated simultaneously. This is enabled by the use of metal isotope-coupled antibodies.

The investigations have already resulted in a scientific publication in the journal Cell, which bears the title: „A Single-Cell Atlas of the Tumor and Immune Ecosystem of Human Breast Cancer“.

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Scientific partner: Dr. Michael Oed and Dr. Mark Laible - BioNTech AG

In 2016 the mRNA expression of ESR1/ER, PGR/PR, ERBB2/HER2 and MKI67/Ki67 was investigated using RT-qPCR on so-called "curls" of 322 FFPE samples. Including the detailed follow-up data a Kaplan Meier analysis could be carried out. It was shown that after a median follow-up time of 7.8 years, the women from the group with "Luminal A-like" tumors reported significantly more distant metastasis-free survival compared to the women whose tumors were grouped differently, these were predominantly "Luminal B-like" tumors.
In summary, it could be shown that women whose disease was classified as "Luminal A-like" by RT-qPCR suffered much less distant metastasis in the 10-year period after diagnosis.


Scientific partner: Prof. Edgar Dahl, Dr. Vera Kloten, Jolein Mijnes – Institut für Pathologie, Uniklinik RWTH Aachen

In February 2016, serum samples were provided to the working group in Aachen. Supported by the foundation “Deutsche Krebshilfe” (German Cancer Aid), the project aims to identify special, freely circulating DNA in blood serum samples. This DNA is associated with breast cancer and can be used for early diagnosis. The original title of the project is „Identification of new biomarkers for early detection in breast cancer analysing freely circulating DNA in blood serum”. (Identifizierung von neuen Biomarkern zur Früherkennung von Brustkrebs anhand der Analyse frei zirkulierender DNA im Blutserum).

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Scientific partner: PD Dr. Annika Waldmann – Institut für Sozialmedizin und Epidemiologie, Universitätsklinikum Schleswig-Holstein Campus Lübeck

After a joint questionnaire had been developed, more than 300 PATH sample donors were surveyed in May and June 2016. Data regarding their quality of life and fear of progression were collected. Further questions addressed the breast cancer patients’ point of view on new drugs and clinical endpoints routinely used in study protocols. The results obtained from statistical analysis and discussion will be published in a scientific journal in cooperation with partners of the PATH breast cancer centres.

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Biosample Hub is an online platform that allows biotech companies to bring their biospecimen requests directly to academic biobanks. It allows biotechs and biobanks to connect and communicate directly with complete independence. The objective of this not-for-profit initiative is to promote ethical biospecimen access and collaboration.


Former Projects

  • UKSH Campus Lübeck, Institut für Sozialmedizin und Epidemiologie, PD Dr. Annika Waldmann (pseudonymous data), 2013
  • DKFZ Heidelberg, Abteilung Molekulare Genetik, Prof. Peter Lichter, Dr. Verena Thewes (tissue samples), 2012 – 2016
  • UK RWTH Aachen, Institut für Pathologie, Prof. Edgar Dahl, Dr. Stefan Garczyk (serum samples), 2012
  • UKSH Campus Lübeck, Institut für Sozialmedizin und Epidemiologie, PD Dr. Annika Waldmann, Dr. Eva-Maria Fick (pseudonymous data), 2012
  • Bayer Pharma AG, Berlin, Dr. Marion Rudolph, (tissue and serum samples), 2012 – 2016