Section Head

Prof. Dr. Christian Beltinger
Professor of Pediatrics / Pediatric Research

Ulm University Medical Center
Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
Eythstr. 24 (Research Lab, House 16)
89075 Ulm, Germany

phone: +49-731-500 57032
fax: +49-731-500 57042


Research Profile

We concentrate on two research areas. In our focus “Molecular pathogenesis and diagnosis of neuroblastoma” we investigate the interaction of oncogenes with tumor suppressors in the genesis of neuroblastoma and we explore the feasibility of liquid biopsy in neuroblastoma patients. In our second focus “Experimental therapy of neuroblastoma and acute lymphoblastic leukemia” we develop novel preclinical strategies utilizing small molecules or oncolytic viruses against neuroblastoma and acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Neuroblastoma is the most common extracranial solid tumor in childhood. The aggressiveness of neuroblastoma is determined by tumor-promoting and tumor-suppres¬sive mechanisms that are inactivated or activated, respectively. We therefore investigate the interaction of oncogenes such as MYCN, BIRC5 and LDHA/B with dysfunctional tumor suppressors in the genesis, progression and aerobic glycolysis (Warburg effect) of neuroblastoma. To this end, we use cellular and molecular biology methods, transgenic and xenotransplant mouse models, and bioinformatic tools. We are translating the results of this preclinical work into establishing prognostic markers and liquid biopsy for neuroblastoma patients.

Specificity and efficacy are major challenges in targeted tumor therapy. We develop novel approaches to address these challenges in neuroblastoma and acute lymphoblastic leukemia. To this end, we investigate small molecules that intervene specifically in signaling pathways crucial for neuroblastoma. In addition, we explore oncolytic measles virus against ALL. Our aim is to translate these novel preclinical therapies to the patient with neuroblastoma or ALL.

  1. Riehl L, Mulaw M, Kneer K, Beer M, Beer A, Barth TF, Benes V, Schulte J, Fischer M, Debatin KM, Beltinger C. Targeted parallel DNA sequencing detects circulating tumor-associated variants of the mitochondrial and nuclear genomes in patients with neuroblastoma. Cancer Rep, 28 July 22 [epub ahead of print]
  2. Laut AK, Dorneburg C, Fürstberger A, Barth TFE, Kestler HA, Debatin KM, Beltinger C. CHD5 inhibits metastasis of neuroblastoma. Oncogene, 41(5):622-633, 2022
  3. Galiger C, Dahlhaus M, Vitek MP, Debatin, KM, Beltinger C. PPP2CA Is a Novel Therapeutic Target in Neuroblastoma Cells That Can Be Activated by the SET Inhibitor OP449. Front Oncol, 12:744984, 2022
  4. Dorneburg C, Fischer M, Barth TFE, Mueller-Klieser W, Hero B, Gecht J, Carter DR, De Preter K, Mayer B, Christner L, Speleman F, Marshall GM, Debatin KM, Beltinger C. LDHA in neuroblastoma is associated with poor outcome and its depletion decreases neuroblastoma growth independent of aerobic glycolysis. Clin Cancer Res, 24:5772-5783, 2018
  5. Dahlhaus M, Burkovski A, Hertwig F, Mussel C, Volland R, Fischer M, Debatin KM, Kestler HA, Beltinger C. Boolean modeling identifies greatwall/MASTL as an important regulator in the AURKA network of neuroblastoma. Cancer Lett, 371:79-89, 2016
  6. Riehl LM, Schulte JH, Mulaw MA, Dahlhaus M, Fischer M, Schramm A, Eggert A, Debatin KM, Beltinger C. The mitochondrial genetic landscape in neuroblastoma from tumor initiation to relapse. Oncotarget, 7:6620-5, 2016
  7. Dorneburg C, Goß AV, Fischer M, Roels F, Barth TF, Berthold F, Kappler R, Oswald F, Siveke JT, Molenaar JJ, Debatin KM, Beltinger C. γ-secretase inhibitor I inhibits neuroblastoma cells, with NOTCH and the proteasome among its targets. Oncotarget, 7:62799-62813, 2016
  8. Lühl N, Zirngibl F, Dorneburg C, Wei J, Dahlhaus M, Barth TF, Meyer LH, Queuedeville M, Eckhoff SM, Debatin KM, Beltinger C. Attenuated measles virus controls pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia in NOD/SCID mice. Haematologica, 99:1050-61, 2014
  9. Hipp NI, Christner L, Wirth T, Mueller-Klieser W, Walenta S, Schröck E, Debatin KM, Beltinger C. MYCN and survivin cooperatively contribute to malignant transformation of fibroblasts. Carcinogenesis, 35:479-88, 2014
  10. Saxena S, Wahl J, Huber-Lang MS, Stadel D, Braubach P, Debatin KM, Beltinger C. Generation of murine sympathoadrenergic progenitor-like cells from embryonic stem cells and postnatal adrenal glands. PLoS ONE, 8:e64454, 2013
  11. Wahl J, Bogytjureva L, Boukamp P, Rojewski M, van Valen F, Fiedler J, Hipp N, Debatin KM, Beltinger C. Ewing's sarcoma cells with CD57-associated increase of tumorigenicity and with neural crest-like differentiation capacity. Int J Cancer, 127:1295-1307, 2010
  12. Ushmorov A, Hogarty MD, Liu X, Knauß H, Debatin KM, Beltinger C. N-myc-augments death and attenuates protective effects of Bcl-2 in trophically stressed neuroblastoma cells. Oncogene, 27:3424-3434, 2008
  13. Wei J, Blum S, Unger S, Lamparter M, Jarmy G, Geishauser A, Chan G, Fischer KD, Rattat D, Debatin KM, Beltinger C. Embryonic endothelial progenitor cells armed with a suicide gene target hypoxic lung metastases after intravenous delivery. Cancer Cell, 5:477-488, 2004