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Innovative active ingredient research in the field of oncology

19.4 Million Euros for New CANTAR Research Network

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Diagram of an active ingredient molecule in a complex with a cancer-related target protein. © Prof. Daniel Rauh
Diagram of an active ingredient molecule in a complex with a cancer-related target protein.

TU Dortmund University is a partner in the new CANTAR research network, which the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia is funding with a total of 19.4 million euros over four years. The acronym stands for “CANcer TARgeting”: Together, the researchers involved want to close the gap between frontier research and clinical cancer research and develop new chemical substances to identify and study specific cancer pathways.

“CANTAR pursues a holistic approach, in which researchers from chemistry, biology and medicine are working together in a way that is unique in Europe,” says Professor Daniel Rauh, professor for medicinal chemistry and chemical biology and coordinator of the Drug Discovery Hub at TU Dortmund University. He is in charge of one of the four research groups in the new network.

Rauh is convinced: “TU Dortmund University is contributing its expertise in chemical biology and active ingredient research to the network. In partnership with clinical and tumor biology research in the region, we can play a pioneering role at both national and international level in anchoring oncological drug research in existing structures.”

Together, the researchers involved want to discover and develop substances that specifically target cancer cells without harming normal tissue. Other approaches for cancer treatment are substances that intervene in cancer-specific metabolic processes or help the body’s immune system to spot cancer cells. “We assume that important therapeutic progress in the treatment of cancer will be possible over the next decade,” says Rauh.

Portrait of a man in a suit © Felix Schmale​/​TU Dortmund
Professor Daniel Rauh is professor for medicinal chemistry and chemical biology at TU Dortmund University.

Together with oncologists at hospitals in Cologne and Essen, the researchers in Dortmund have already worked successfully in the past on medical questions with the help of chemical and structural biology approaches. “That is why we’re particularly pleased about this new funding from the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, which allows us to implement further innovative projects in active ingredient research,” says Rauh.

13 Dortmund researchers involved in new network

Apart from Professor Daniel Rauh, professors Daniel Summerer, Guido Clever, Max Hansmann, Müge Kasanmascheff, Andrea Musacchio and Stefan Raunser from the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at TU Dortmund University and the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology in Dortmund as well as junior research group leaders Dr. Malte Gersch, Dr. Sonja Sievers, Dr. Andreas Brunschweiger, Dr. Leonhard Urner, Dr. Sidney Becker and Dr. Elisabeth Kreidt are also involved in the new network. Together with their teams, they will support CANTAR with high-throughput screening, structural biology experiments on oncogenes as well as the design and synthesis of active ingredients and molecular probes.

In total, eight universities and research institutions in Cologne, Essen, Bonn, Aachen, Düsseldorf and Dortmund have joined forces in the new network. Speaker university is the University of Cologne. With the new funding program, the State of North Rhine-Westphalia aims to strengthen existing thematic networks of universities and non-university institutions across different locations over the longer term as well as enhance their visibility and international competitiveness. CANTAR is one of the five networks selected that won in the competition between 10 draft proposals and seven full proposals.

All network partners: The University of Cologne (speaker university), TU Dortmund University, the University of Duisburg-Essen, the universities of Bonn and Düsseldorf, RWTH Aachen University, DZNE (German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases) in Bonn and the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology in Dortmund.

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Location & approach

The campus of TU Dort­mund University is located close to interstate junction Dort­mund West, where the Sauerlandlinie A 45 (Frankfurt-Dort­mund) crosses the Ruhrschnellweg B 1 / A 40. The best interstate exit to take from A 45 is “Dort­mund-Eichlinghofen” (closer to South Campus), and from B 1 / A 40 “Dort­mund-Dorstfeld” (closer to North Campus). Signs for the uni­ver­si­ty are located at both exits. Also, there is a new exit before you pass over the B 1-bridge leading into Dort­mund.

To get from North Campus to South Campus by car, there is the connection via Vogelpothsweg/Baroper Straße. We recommend you leave your car on one of the parking lots at North Campus and use the H-Bahn (suspended monorail system), which conveniently connects the two campuses.

TU Dort­mund University has its own train station (“Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät”). From there, suburban trains (S-Bahn) leave for Dort­mund main station (“Dort­mund Hauptbahnhof”) and Düsseldorf main station via the “Düsseldorf Airport Train Station” (take S-Bahn number 1, which leaves every 15 or 30 minutes). The uni­ver­si­ty is easily reached from Bochum, Essen, Mülheim an der Ruhr and Duisburg.

You can also take the bus or subway train from Dort­mund city to the uni­ver­si­ty: From Dort­mund main station, you can take any train bound for the Station “Stadtgarten”, usually lines U41, U45, U 47 and U49. At “Stadtgarten” you switch trains and get on line U42 towards “Hombruch”. Look out for the Station “An der Palmweide”. From the bus stop just across the road, busses bound for TU Dort­mund University leave every ten minutes (445, 447 and 462). Another option is to take the subway routes U41, U45, U47 and U49 from Dort­mund main station to the stop “Dort­mund Kampstraße”. From there, take U43 or U44 to the stop “Dort­mund Wittener Straße”. Switch to bus line 447 and get off at “Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät S”.

The AirportExpress is a fast and convenient means of transport from Dortmund Airport (DTM) to Dortmund Central Station, taking you there in little more than 20 minutes. From Dortmund Central Station, you can continue to the university campus by interurban railway (S-Bahn). A larger range of international flight connections is offered at Düsseldorf Airport (DUS), which is about 60 kilometres away and can be directly reached by S-Bahn from the university station.

The H-Bahn is one of the hallmarks of TU Dort­mund University. There are two stations on North Campus. One (“Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät S”) is directly located at the suburban train stop, which connects the uni­ver­si­ty directly with the city of Dort­mund and the rest of the Ruhr Area. Also from this station, there are connections to the “Technologiepark” and (via South Campus) Eichlinghofen. The other station is located at the dining hall at North Campus and offers a direct connection to South Campus every five minutes.

The facilities of TU Dortmund University are spread over two campuses, the larger Campus North and the smaller Campus South. Additionally, some areas of the university are located in the adjacent “Technologiepark”.

Site Map of TU Dortmund University (Second Page in English).