Pathologisches Institut



AG Peter Jung

Kontakt: Peter Jung

DKTK Nachwuchsgruppe „Oncogenic signaling pathways of colorectal/pancreatic cancer“



Peter Jung, Dr. rer. nat.

Principle Investigator





Sophie Luise Boos

PhD thesis student





Leon Loevenich

PhD thesis student




Our mission

1. We focus on the molecular events and signal transduction pathways critical at the earliest stages of colorectal cancer disease. By using and further developing state-of-the-art 3-D human organoid culture systems, we aim for a deeper understanding of cross-signaling between human pre-cancerous colonic stem cells with an inflammatory microenvironment. Since these cellular interactions can trigger genomic instability, immune-evasion, and loss of tissue homeostasis, it makes them attractive targets for innovative cancer-prevention strategies.

2. Chemo-resistance, tumor cell dissemination, and immune-evasion play a major role in cancer progression and metastasis. Innovative 3-D human tumor models will help us to better understand how the corruption of homeostatic signaling pathways in primary human cancer stem cells and their associated microenvironment drive the malignant features of tumors at the primary and metastatic site at late disease stages.

3. We like to highlight that individuals affected by intestinal diseases such as colorectal cancer and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are at the center of our research efforts. Translating our research to clinical success is therefore of highest priority. We are convinced that a better classification of patients and individually designed strategies for therapy will pave the way for personalized medicine and will ultimately lead to significant patient benefit. 









Research Background

Colorectal Cancer - A Challenge for Society
Cancer disease is the second most common cause of death affecting around 1.3 Mio people in the European Union every year. Colorectal cancer (CRC) represents the second most common cause of cancer death and the incurring costs to society in healthcare expenditures are enormous.
The risk to develop CRC is governed by environmental factors and gene defects and can be further increased by certain lifestyle and dietary habits. CRC disease is a multi-step process which may take decades to progress from benign adenoma to full-blown metastatic adenocarcinoma. Since patients diagnosed at later disease stages are facing a high risk of tumor-recurrence after curative surgery and chemo-resistance, markers for early disease detection and cancer-prevention strategies are needed to relieve society from the lethal threat imposed by CRC.
Intriguingly, many CRCs are asymptomatic in their early stages, exactly when cancer shows a good response to treatment. For that reason, more than 50% of patients present to the hospital with advanced disease stages meaning that lymph nodes and distant organs might be affected by metastasis. In order to improve the curative outcome and life-quality of these colorectal cancer patients, the development of disease background-optimized, personalized therapies which aim to tackle metastatic spread and metastasis outgrowth represents another big challenge for biomedical research.