Dr. Christoph A. Klein obtained his medical degree from the Ludwig-Maximilans-University (LMU) of Munich in 1995. He performed his M.D. thesis research within the laboratories of G. Riethmüller (Institute of Immunology, University of Munich) and T.W. Mak (Ontario Cancer Institute) where he commenced his formative studies on single cell technologies for the analysis of single disseminated cancer cells in the mid 1990’s.
Following his postdoctoral training at the Institute of Immunology, LMU Munich, he was awarded with the BioFuture Award from the German Ministry of Science to establish an independent research group in 2001. The BioFuture award, which recognizes early scientific excellence and achievements, was amongst the most prestigious awards presented to junior group leaders in Germany. In 2004, Christoph became member of the Bavarian Genome Research Network and in 2006 was promoted to Professor for Oncogenomics within this same group. Since 2010 he has served as Chair of Experimental Medicine and Therapy Research at the University of Regensburg. Christoph was also appointed as the Head of the Fraunhofer Project Group entitled “Personalized Tumor Therapy”, which is a division of the Fraunhofer Institute of Toxicology and Experimental Medicine (ITEM) in 2010. The Fraunhofer ITEM-Regensburg group is a not-for-profit that is focused on translating basic science into the clinic in partnership with industry collaborators.
Christoph and his group have continued to focus on how solitary cancer cells derived from solid cancers disseminate from the primary tumor, survive at ectopic sites and interact with the tumor microenvironment. This focus provided foundational insights within the metastasis field that include an observation that cancer cells disseminate very early during tumorigenesis, that cancer cells continue to evolve outside the primary tumor via the acquisition of important driver alterations and that cancer cells alter their phenotype dramatically in response to microenvironmental cues and interactions before they eventually form their own “tumor microenvironment.” Collectively, these findings have resulted in several novel concepts of metastatic disease progression, including the “parallel progression model” and the “framework model” (cancer dormancy). Christoph and his group continue to build on these models with a goal of improving systemic therapy prediction, monitoring systemic cancer evolution and developing rational stage-specific therapies.
Dr. Klein continues to be internationally recognized for his innovative work in the metastasis field. Recognitions include the prestigious Dr. Josef Steiner Award in 2011, the German Cancer Award in 2014, the Gerhard-Domagk Award in 2017 and most recently, the I.J. “Josh” Fidler Innovation in Metastasis Research Award from the Metastasis Research Society in 2018.