Our research aims at developing novel therapeutic strategies for the treatment of patients with adult or pediatric neuro-oncological diseases. The main focus of our group is on studying a malignant brain tumor termed glioblastoma. 

We are trying to better understand the biology of malignant brain tumors and to develop concepts to overcome therapeutic resistance. 

The diversity of different dysregulated tumor-driving pathways within the same tumor - intratumoral heterogeneity - and the plasticity of the microenvironment surrounding and interacting with the tumor represent central characteristics responsible for the fact that brain tumors are so difficult to treat.

Considering these premises, we concentrate our efforts on exploring combinatorial and multi-modal therapeutic approaches which include the following main interests: 

  • Tumor cell metabolism
  • Tumor-Treating Fields
  • Drug repurposing
  • Intelligent implants


With our work, we are striving to contribute to more efficient therapies that may ultimately allow for a better tumor control and eventually even to overcome these diseases. 

Lab Members

  • Prof. Dr. Georg Karpel-Massler
    Principal investigator
  • Annika Hajosch 
    Research technician
  • Christopher Löhmann
    Graduate student (MD program)
  • Antonia Spilz
    Graduate student (MD program)
  • Dott. Davide Tosin
    Neurosurgery resident
  • Qiyu Cao
    Neurosurgery resident
  • Carolin Golla
    Urology resident
  • Karoline Mumme
    Graduate student MD Program


  • Dr. med. Ziad Elshaer
  • Dr. med. Maximilian Pruss
  • Dr. med. dent. Jenson Anthonymuthu

Selected publications

Cao Q, Hajosch A, Kast RE, Loehmann C, Hlavac M, Fischer-Posovszky P, Strobel H, Westhoff MA, Siegelin MD, Wirtz CR, Halatsch ME, Karpel-Massler G. Tumor Treating Fields (TTFields) combined with the drug repurposing approach CUSP9v3 induce metabolic reprogramming and synergistic anti-glioblastoma activity in vitro. Br J Cancer. 2024 Feb 23. doi: 10.1038/s41416-024-02608-8. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 38396172.



Dwucet, A., Pruss, M., Cao, Q., Tanriover, M., Prabhu, V. V., Allen, J. E., Peraud, A., Westhoff, M. A., Siegelin, M. D., Wirtz, C. R., & Karpel-Massler, G. (2021). ONC201/TIC10 Is Empowered by 2-Deoxyglucose and Causes Metabolic Reprogramming in Medulloblastoma Cells in Vitro Independent of C-Myc Expression. Frontiers in cell and developmental biology, 9, 734699.



Golla, C., Bilal, M., Dwucet, A., Bader, N., Anthonymuthu, J., Heiland, T., Pruss, M., Westhoff, M. A., Siegelin, M. D., Capanni, F., Wirtz, C. R., Kast, R. E., Halatsch, M. E., & Karpel-Massler, G. (2021). Photodynamic Therapy Combined with Bcl-2/Bcl-xL Inhibition Increases the Noxa/Mcl-1 Ratio Independent of Usp9X and Synergistically Enhances Apoptosis in Glioblastoma. Cancers, 13(16), 4123.



Pruss, M., Dwucet, A., Tanriover, M., Hlavac, M., Kast, R. E., Debatin, K. M., Wirtz, C. R., Halatsch, M. E., Siegelin, M. D., Westhoff, M. A., & Karpel-Massler, G. (2020). Dual metabolic reprogramming by ONC201/TIC10 and 2-Deoxyglucose induces energy depletion and synergistic anti-cancer activity in glioblastoma. British journal of cancer, 122(8), 1146–1157.



Karpel-Massler, G., Nguyen, T. T. T., Shang, E., & Siegelin, M. D. (2019). Novel IDH1-Targeted Glioma Therapies. CNS drugs, 33(12), 1155–1166. 



Siegelin, M. D., Schneider, E., Westhoff, M. A., Wirtz, C. R., & Karpel-Massler, G. (2021). Current state and future perspective of drug repurposing in malignant glioma. Seminars in cancer biology, 68, 92–104. 



Halatsch, M. E., Kast, R. E., Dwucet, A., Hlavac, M., Heiland, T., Westhoff, M. A., Debatin, K. M., Wirtz, C. R., Siegelin, M. D., & Karpel-Massler, G. (2019). Bcl-2/Bcl-xL inhibition predominantly synergistically enhances the anti-neoplastic activity of a low-dose CUSP9 repurposed drug regime against glioblastoma. British journal of pharmacology, 176(18), 3681–3694.



Hlavac, M., Dwucet, A., Kast, R. E., Engelke, J., Westhoff, M. A., Siegelin, M. D., Debatin, K. M., Wirtz, C. R., Halatsch, M. E., & Karpel-Massler, G. (2019). Combined inhibition of RAC1 and Bcl-2/Bcl-xL synergistically induces glioblastoma cell death through down-regulation of the Usp9X/Mcl-1 axis. Cellular oncology (Dordrecht), 42(3), 287–301. 



Extended list of publications: PubMed




Congratulations to Dr. Jenson Anthonymuthu for successful defense of his thesis.

27.06.2023Christopher Löhmann presented the work of his thesis project at the 74th annual meeting of the German neurosurgical society (DGNC) in Stuttgart
13.01.2023Maximilian Pruss successfully defended his MD thesis with magna cum laude. Congratulations!
14.10.2022We congratulate Ziad Elshaer on defending his MD thesis!
25.05.2022Antonia Spilz, dott. Davide Tosin and Qiyu Cao  presented their work at the 73rd annual meeting of the German neurosurgical society (DGNC) in Cologne