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Hellmut Augustin, DVM, PhD

The field of angiogenesis research has been one of the most rapidly growing biomedical disciplines. As an outcome, anti-angiogenic therapies have received clinical approval in the field of oncology and ophthalmology. Anti-angiogenic tumor therapy marked an important change of paradigm as the first clinically effective anti-stroma tumor therapy. Today, anti-angiogenic drugs account for some of the heaviest selling anti-cancer drugs. Yet, their clinical efficacy is limited. As such, ongoing research is aimed at shedding further mechanistic insight into the complexity of the angiogenic cascade in order to improve established anti-angiogenic tumor therapies. Moreover, vascular-targeted strategies may in the future be exploited as stromal reprogramming therapies aimed at facilitating novel personalized combination therapies, including the combination with established and emerging immunotherapies.

The Department of Vascular Biology and Tumor Angiogenesis is towards this end

  • studying the molecular mechanisms of angiogenesis, vessel maturation, maintenance and regression focusing on the Angiopoietin/Tie system
  • unraveling the functional interplay of tumor cells with endothelial cells, pericytes, tumor-associated fibroblasts and immune cells during tumor progression and metastasis
  • elucidating the mechanisms of ageing in the vascular system and the involvement of vascular ageing in disease
  • developing preclinical models of tumor progression and metastasis better mimicking the pathogenesis and the course of human tumors as well as their response to therapy
  • pursuing preclinical combination therapies and uncovering the MOA of such therapies for the mechanism-guided development of novel anti-tumor therapies. 
Due to its versatility and opportunity for high resolution analysis, the postnatal retinal angiogenesis model has developed as the most popular model to study angiogenesis in vivo.

Selection of project-related publications

  1. Viski C, König C, Kijewska M, Mogler C, Isacke C*, Augustin HG*: Endosialin-expressing pericytes promote metastatic dissemination. Cancer Res, 76: 5313-25, 2016 (*gleichberechtigte Seniorautoren).
  2. Roth L, Prahst C, Ruckdeschel T, Savant S, Weström S, Fantin A, Riedel M, Héroult M, Ruhrberg C, Augustin HG: Neuropilin-1 mediates vascular permeability independently of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 activation. Science Signal, 9(425):ra42, 2016.
  3. Scholz B, Korn C, Wojtarowicz J, Mogler C, Augustin I, Boutros M, Niehrs C, Augustin HG: Endothelial RSPO3 controls vascular stability and pruning through non-canonical WNT/Ca(2+)/NFAT signaling. Dev Cell, 36: 79-93, 2016.
  4. Savant S, La Porta S, Budnik A, Busch K, Hu J, Tisch N, Korn C, Valls AF, Benest AV, Terhardt D, Qu X, Adams RH, Baldwin HS, Ruiz de Almodóvar C, Rodewald HR, Augustin HG: The orphan receptor Tie1 controls angiogenesis and vascular remodeling by differentially regulating Tie2 in tip and stalk cells. Cell Rep. 12: 1761-73, 2015.
  5. Mogler C, Wieland M, König C, Hu J, Runge A, Korn C, Besemfelder E, Breitkopf-Heinlein K, Komljenovic D, Dooley S, Schirmacher P, Longerich T, Augustin HG: Hepatic stellate cell-expressed Endosialin balances fibrogenesis and hepatocyte proliferation during liver damage. EMBO Mol Med pii: e201404246, 2015.
  6. Srivastava K, Ju J, Korn C, Savant S, Teichert M, Kapel SS, Jugold M, Besemfelder E, Thomas M, Pasparakis M, Augustin HG: Postsurgical adjuvant tumor therapy by combining anti-Angiopoietin-2 and metronomic chemotherapy limits metastatic growth. Cancer Cell,26: 880-895, 2014. 
  7. Runge A, Hu J, Wieland M, Bergeest JP, Mogler C, Neumann A, Géraud C, Arnold B, Rohr K, Komljenovic D, Schirmacher P, Goerdt S, Augustin HG: An inducible hepatocellular carcinoma model for preclinical evaluation of antiangiogenic therapy in adult mice. Cancer Res, 74: 4157-69, 2014.
  8. Korn C, Scholz B, Srivastava K, Wojtarowicz J, Arnsperger T, Adams RH, Boutros M*, Augustin HG*, Augustin I*: Endothelial cell-derived non-canonical Wnt ligands control vascular pruning in angiogenesis. Development, 141: 1757-66, 2014 (*gleichberechtigte Seniorautoren).
  9. Hu J, Srivastava K, Wieland M, Runge A, Mogler C, Besemfelder E, Terhardt D, Vogel MJ, Cao L, Korn C, Bartels S, Thomas M, Augustin HG: Endothelial cell-derived Angiopoietin-2 controls liver regeneration as a spatiotemporal rheostat. Science, 343: 416-9, 2014 (54 citations).

A complete list of Hellmut Augustin's publications can be found here.

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