For Research. For Berlin.

Close-Up - Hans Schreiber

Project description

“Cancer is caused by genetic mutations which are used by malignant cells to bypass the healthy body's monitoring systems.

In collaboration with researchers in Berlin, we have discovered that the infusion of cancer-specific T cells can cure very advanced malignant tumours in mice. Direct observation of the eradication process using so-called 'in vivo optical imaging' reveals the mechanism by which the T cells destroy the tumour vasculature. These T cells recognise the cancer-specific mutations which cause cancer. We are currently in the process of applying our findings to the treatment of cancer in humans.“ 


Please close your eyes for a moment and think about your research project. What do you see at first?
Our international consortium making important advances in the field of cancer therapy. 

What kind of interview question would you like to be asked?
What makes our research approach so promising when it comes to identifying an effective form of treatment for specific types of cancer once and for all?

Please name three things that you spontaneously connect to Albert Einstein!
Apart from his incredible originality:

  • Einstein's letter, in which he wrote that he could not discern any trace of guilt or regret on the part of the Germans.
  • That Einstein refused to sign an appeal to President Roosevelt to revise the Morgenthau plan, which the President had already signed.
  • That Einstein commented when Max Born returned to Germany that he was “migrating back to the land of the mass-murderers of our kinsmen“. 

What do you do first thing in the morning when you arrive at your workplace?
Whatever task I set myself the day before; otherwise it's easy to get distracted. 

What would your research project look like if it was a piece of art?

Detecting the murderer called cancer in our bodies and removing every trace of him.

Please imagine you had one free wish to guarantee the success of your research project. What would it be?
To identify criteria which would enable us to predict which T cell receptor (TCR) specific to each cancer mutation is able to cure cancer, and which is not.

Is there a place in Berlin that links to the work on your research project?
The Max Delbrück Center (MDC) for Molecular Medicine and the Charité campus at Buch, together with the incredibly high calibre of research potential which is to be found there.

Please give your research project a suitable fantasy name!
'Tracking down the murderer within.'

What is the most favourite word you ever heard in Berlin? And what does it mean?
'Kaffe' (with the emphasis on the first syllable)

Who or what inspires you at work?
Logic: cancer is created by mutations, and we can utilise these mutations as highly-selective targets for killer T cells.

Which district in Berlin do you like the most, and why?
Berlin-Buch: so close to nature, and with the most beautiful nightingales I have ever heard in my life singing at night there on the campus. It's good that Buch welcomes refugees. I was once one myself.

What characteristics distinguish researchers from other people?
A certain obsession when it comes to solving puzzles and problems.

What do you think: Is there a true prejudice about researchers?
Sadly, they often fail to treat humanity and ethics as being of at least equal ranking.

With whom would you like to exchange your workplace for one day, and what would you do then?

With no-one!

(March 2015)

Credits: Pablo Castagnola