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Thomas Luft

Project Leader

Thomas Luft is the head of the Taskforce MDS and as a Senior Physician provides expertise and clinical care for MDS patients in the Dept. of Haematology. He will recruit MDS patients and provide bone marrow cells and plasma for the ensuing “–omics” analyses. Furthermore, Thomas Luft is the group leader of a cell biology laboratory that has experience in investigating the functional regulation of ex vivo human cell populations such as stem cells, dendritic cells and B-CLL cells. Thomas Luft is responsible for treatment decisions of MDS patients at Heidelberg University and runs a regular outpatients' clinic for this disease group. TL has longstanding experience in the study of ex vivo purified human cells (dendritic cells, B-CLL cells, T-cells) and the signaling processes involved in cellular differentiation. Focus of his current research is a contribution to the pathophysiology of diseases such as steroid-refractory GVHD, fludarabine resistance in B-CLL and the microenvironment of MDS. The study has been finalized demonstrating that a left shift of non-proliferating hHSC overexpressing CDKN1C/p57/KIP2 forms the basis of the bone marrow failure associated with high risk MDS. This marker is an early response gene of TGF beta signaling.

Role in SyStemAge:

Thomas Luft's group will contribute MDS and CLL patients’ bone marrow cells and plasma samples including isolation and purification of hHSC as well as subsets of other cell types (monocytes, lymphocytes, granulocytic precursors, red cell precursors, CD45- MSC). An MDS registry is currently constructed. Thomas Luft contributes to the biological and clinical interpretation of the “–omics” results and the design of the hypothesis-driven project of MDS and the pathology of senescence. Cooperation already exist with Peter Krammer and Karsten Guelow concerning the analysis of ROS expression levels and AF-1 expression in MDS and in cytokine driven cell cultures. Thomas Luft's group will contribute to the development of cell cultures required in WP5 (both CLL and MDS) and perform in vitro cultures of hHSC, monocytes, dendritic cells, T-cells and precursor cells and cell lines in order to functionally validate the information provided by WP4.

Reagents: serum, bone marrow biopsies, protein lysates, and RNA samples. Technology: cell culture methods, siRNA technology in human cells, Westerns, ELISAs, FACS.