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Prof. Dr. Michael Boettcher


Our lab ( investigates the interplay between immune cells and various diseases, including cancer and inflammation in vivo. Our aim is to understand the mechanisms that control immunity and to identify novel targets for cancer immunotherapy.

We focus on (1) neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) and (2) CAR t-cells:

  1. Neutrophils, the predominant leukocytes in acute inflammatory reactions, are recruited to injured areas immediately after the insult and remain there for roughly two days. They are (1) the most abundant immune cells in the human circulation, (2) the main leukocytes involved in the early phases of wound healing, and (3) have been regarded as the first line of defense of the innate immune system. In response to infection and/or injury, neutrophils form neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs), which consist of high molecular weight double-stranded DNA filaments that build robust scaffolds. These are decorated with histones and cytotoxic proteins, such as myeloperoxidase and neutrophil elastase. NETs confer protection against infections, but also drive inflammation, thrombosis, and immunopathology. Our lab investigates the role of NETs in various surgical diseases like transplantation, wound healing, ischemia reperfusion injury, microperfusion, and thrombosis and is developing several treatment options to specifically target NETs.
  2. Pediatric Tumors are particularly immunogenic. As such, we have developed and implemented cutting-edge CAR t-cell technologies to control or eliminate cancer and to modulate the immune system. In our lab, CAR t-cells are combined with novel options like binders and classical therapeutic strategies such as surgery. This will ultimately benefit children who suffer from cancer or immune diseases. In particular, our group focuses on treatment of solid tumors in children including neuroblastomas, hepatoblastomas, nephroblastomas, and rhabdomyosarcomas. Moreover, our laboratory investigates how immune cells modulate tumor microenvironments and their role in metastasis formation. 


Boettcher M et al. (2022) Development of CAR T cell therapy in children – a comprehensive overview. Front Immun

Boettcher M et al. (2022) Neutrophil extracellular traps orchestrate formation of peritoneal adhesions.

Lenz M et al. (2022) cfDNA and DNases: New Biomarkers of Sepsis in Preterm Neonates. Cells

Heuer A et al. (2021) Neutrophil extracellular traps drive primary and secondary wound healing. Front Immun

Boettcher M et al. (2020) Markers of neutrophil activation and NETs are predictive of appendicitis in mice and humans. Sci Rep