Medical Oncology: Prof. Nikolas von Bubnoff

He is head of the Clinic for Haemotology and Oncology at Campus Lübeck – Dramatic progress in the understanding of the molecular and genetic causes of cancer.

With his inaugural lecture “Radiation, Radiation, Chemo: What else?” on precision medicine in cancer therapy, Prof. Dr. Nikolas von Bubnoff introduced himself as Professor of Medical Oncology at the University of Lübeck on 25 June. Prof. von Bubnoff has been at the university since the start of the year and is in charge of the newly founded Clinic for Haemotology and Oncology at the University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein (UKSH) at Campus Lübeck.

As he explained in the lecture, the dramatic progress in the understanding of the molecular and genetic causes of cancer, together with the increasing availability of targeted molecular medication, are leading to a paradigm shift in treatments for tumour diseases. The challenge of the next few years will be to transfer personalised, biomarker-driven treatment methods to standard therapeutic practice.

The individualisation of treatment will require the creation of new treatment offers, he says. In his lecture he analysed the value of predictive biomarkers when selecting an individual, “molecularly stratified” treatment for cancer patients, and the task of a molecular tumour board in the creation of personalised therapy recommendations, including after completion of cancer treatment in accordance with the guidelines.

Before moving to Lübeck, Prof. von Bubnoff worked from 20212 as a senior doctor and Deputy Medical Director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center Freiburg (CCCF) at the University Medical Center Freiburg/Breisgau. He completed his medical training at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, where he was awarded a doctorate with the magna cum laude distinction in 1999. From 1997 to 2012, Prof. von Bubnoff worked at the Rechts der Isar Hospital at Munich’s Technical University, initially as a senior doctor. He was professionally certified as a specialist doctor in 2005 and received his venia legendi in internal medicine in 2006.

Expansion of oncological facilities to include Comprehensive Cancer Centre

Prof. von Bubnoff’s main research focuses on oncogenic signalling pathways in treatment resistance, circulating tumour DNA as a biomarker, experimental GVHD therapy, and homing in cerebral lymphoma. In his new role as Director of the Clinic for Haemotology and Oncology, Prof. von Bubnoff wishes to optimise the interdisciplinary structures at the Oncological Centre, Campus Lübeck, and advance the cross-campus development of oncological care at the UKSH with the creation of a Comprehensive Cancer Centre (CCC). He also wishes to improve the formation of networks with regional doctors’ practices and hospitals and cooperation with patients. To advance individualised treatment strategies, Prof. von Bubnoff would like to implement an interdisciplinary focal point for molecular oncology in Lübeck.

“As a doctor and scientist I would like to play my part to ensure that cancer patients receive the best possible treatment,” says Prof. von Bubnoff. He sees two primary tasks for the oncology faculty at the university: firstly, the creation of specialised treatment structures that guarantee first-class care for cancer patients in the region; secondly, the development of personalised cancer treatment strategies. “The application of knowledge gained from research and the clinical use of new diagnostic and treatment procedures will play a major role,” says von Bubnoff. One example is the creation of a Molecular Tumour Board at the UKSH in Lübeck in order to make individualised treatment strategies based on genetic and molecular biomarkers available to individual patients.

Unique combination of disciplines and cross-sectional offers

He sees the excellent clinical expertise in the interdisciplinary treatment of cancer together with a certified oncological centre as particularly interesting aspects of the location. The unique combination of health-related disciplines, medicine, informatics, the natural sciences, and cross-sectional offers such as nutritional medicine and psycho-oncology enable the creation of a comprehensive treatment structure for cancer patients. In addition, the location’s strategic research areas contain internationally renowned core competencies, which are very appealing for the development of clinical and translational research relevant to tumours, including infection and inflammation, biomedical technology, and medical genetics. Prof. von Bubnoff is convinced that this puts the location in an ideal position to develop a focus on personalised oncology. Furthermore, the UKSH’s two strong, university-based locations for cancer treatment in Lübeck and Kiel make it possible to collectively advance excellent multiprofessional and transsectoral structures for cancer patients.

Prof. von Bubnoff is a family man and is particularly pleased that his wife and young son will join him in Lübeck. Prof. Dagmar von Bubnoff is a senior doctor at the Lübeck Dermatology Clinic. The couple are excited about “the new environment including Lübeck’s wonderful Old Town, the sea, and the beautiful landscape”.

Prof. Dr. Nikolas von Bubnoff following his inaugural lecture with the President of the University of Lübeck, Prof. Dr. Gabriele Gillessen-Kaesbach (Photo: René Kube / University of Lübeck)