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Information für die Wissenschaft Nr. 26 | 24. Mai 2017
Priority Programme “µBONE – Colonisation and Interactions of Tumor Cells within the Bone Microenvironment“ (SPP 2084)

The Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has established the Priority Programme “µBONE – Colonisation and Interactions of Tumor Cells within the Bone Microenvironment“ (SPP 2084). The programme is scheduled to run for six years; the DFG invites with this call proposals for the first three-year funding period.

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Despite medical progress in cancer therapies, most patients suffer and die from metastases at distant locations. Forming bone metastases are characteristic features of prostate and breast cancer. Bone metastases frequently lead to fractures, pain, and a poor life quality and are also associated with a high socioeconomic burden. The key molecular steps resulting in bone metastasis, including the initial colonisation of bone by tumor cells and the early interaction with bone and bone marrow cells are poorly understood. Once established, bone metastases represent a point of no return, are not curable, and may be a new source for systemic relapse. Therefore, this Priority Programme aims to generate new insights into (1) the mechanisms of tumor cell colonisation to the bone marrow and (2) the interactions of tumor cells with the bone microenvironment to identify novel therapeutic concepts for the treatment and/or prevention of bone metastases. The focus is on bone metastasis secondary to breast and prostate cancer as well as myeloma bone disease.

This Priority Programme requires complementary, well-networked state-of-the-art know-how in medicine, tumor and bone biology, genetics, systems biology, and functional imaging. The formation of interdisciplinary teams that span this expertise and interact with other groups in this Priority Programme should create a synergetic platform for successful basic and translational research. Inclusion of clinician-scientists and early-career researchers is strongly encouraged.

Proposals submitted to this call should address at least one of the following fundamental aspects:

  • to explore novel mechanisms of breast and prostate cancer cell colonisation into the bone
  • to define interactions of circulating and disseminated tumor cells with the bone microenvironment
  • to develop and validate novel tools for bone metastases research, including animal models, imaging technologies, and advanced in vitro techniques, including human organoid cultures
  • to analyse novel markers for early diagnosis and specific targeting of bone metastases towards precision and personalised medicine

Not eligible for funding are proposals on primary bone tumors (e.g. osteosarcoma), leukemias as well as studies on primary tumor biology without bone interaction or on metabolic bone diseases without a tumor context.

Applications for the first three-year funding period should be written in English and submitted by 27 September 2017 via the electronic elan system, choosing “Schwerpunktprogramm” and selecting “SPP 2084 – µBONE – Colonisation and Interactions of Tumor Cells within the Bone Microenvironment” on the menu. The proposals need to follow the guidelines for Priority Programmes (DFG form 50.05) and should be prepared according to the Proposal Preparation Instructions (DFG form 54.01). Furthermore, please send an electronic version (pdf format) of the application to the coordinator (see below).

If you are using the elan system for the first time, please note that you need to register yourself and your institutional addresses before being able to submit a proposal. Also, if you are planning to move to a different institution (e.g. with a temporary position for principal investigators) you need to register the new institutional address beforehand. Please make sure that all applicants of your project start their registration at the latest two weeks before the submission deadline. The registration requests are handled manually by DFG staff.

Further information

Please submit the proposal via the electronic system elan:

The DFG forms 50.05 and 54.01 can be found at:

Contact person for questions related to the Priority Programme:

Contact person for questions related to the application or review process:

Contact person for administrative matters:


This text is available at Interner Linkwww.dfg.de/foerderung/info_wissenschaft/2017/info_wissenschaft_17_26/. Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item.