Dr. Corinna Bang receives CONNECT funding

Corinna Bang

The Cancer Centers of the University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein (UKSH) and the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) bring together young clinical and scientific researchers: Within the “Cooperative NORD-Networking for Early Career Teams” program, CONNECT for short, four tandem teams from the University Cancer Center Schleswig-Holstein (UCCSH) in Kiel and Lübeck and the University Cancer Center Hamburg (UCCH) will receive funding of 50,000 euros to conduct research together for one year. Within this program, Dr. Corinna Bang, Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology, UKSH, Campus Kiel, and Kiel University (CAU), and Dr. Joseph Tintelnot, ll. Medical Department of the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, are investigating whether the response of esophageal cancer to chemotherapy and immunotherapy can be predicted using the microbiome.

Esophagogastric adenocarcinoma (EGA) presents a global health challenge with rising cases. The PHERFLOT study is an exploratory phase II trial with an open-label, single-arm, multicenter design, aimed at evaluating the effectiveness, safety, and tolerability of perioperative pembrolizumab, FLOT, and trastuzumab in individuals with previously untreated localized HER2-positive EGA. While such chemoimmunotherapeutic approaches hold the promise of significantly enhancing patient survival, the intensified treatments may escalate side effects, particularly impacting non-responsive patients. The interplay of the microbiome can influence both the response to and the side effects of chemoimmunotherapies. Within the framework of the PHERFLOT study, Dr. Corinna Bang and Dr. Joseph Tintelnot will gather and analyse saliva and stool samples at various time points – prior to treatment initiation, before surgery, post-surgery, and following adjuvant therapy. Employing shotgun metagenomic sequencing, they will delve into the composition of the intestinal microbiome with the overarching objective of unveiling distinct microbial signatures linked to therapy response.

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