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Nelson Lab - Chemokines, Stromal cells, Cancer

Research Focus and Projects

List of Publications


A list of recent publications from the Nelson Lab:

Tutter M, Schug C, Schmohl KA, Urnauer S, Schwent N, Petrini M, Lokerse WL, Zach C, Ziegler S, Bartenstein P, Weber W, Lindner LH, Nelson PJ, Spitzweg C. Heat-inducible mesenchymal stem cell-mediated sodium iodide symporter (NIS) theranostic gene therapy. 2020. Theranostics. 10: 4490-4506.

Brech D, Straub T, Kokolakis E, Irmler M, Beckers J, Buettner F, Schaeffeler E, Winter S, Schwab M, Nelson PJ, Noessner E. A novel renal myeloid subtype linked to immune escape correlates with poor patient survival in clear cell renal cell carcinoma. 2020. bioRxiv (preprint)

Zheng Y, Wu C, Yang J, Zhao Y, Jia H, Xue M, Xu D, Hu B, Zhang Z, Li T, Wang X, Yang F, Fu D, Nelson PJ, Bruns C, Qin LX, Dong Q. IGF-1 induced ENO2 deacetylation by HDAC3 promotes liver metastasis of pancreatic cancer. 2020. Signal Transduction and Targeted Therapy. 13;5(1):53. doi: 10.1038/s41392-020-0146-6.

Brett E, Sauter M, Timmins É, Azimzedah O, Rosemann M, Merl-Pham J, Nelson PJ, Becker KF, Schunn I, Lowery A, Kerin M, Machens HG, Duscher D. 2020. Oncogenic striated collagen VI of invasive breast cancer is induced by CCL5. 2020. Journal of Clinical Medicine. 2;9(4):991. doi: 10.3390/jcm9040991.

Wang Z, Qin J, Zhao J, Li J, Li D, Popp M, Popp F, Alakus H, Kong B, Dong Q, Nelson PJ, Zhao Y, Bruns C. Inflammatory IFIT3 renders chemotherapy resistance by regulating post-translational modification of VDAC2 in pancreatic cancer. 2020. Theranostics. 10: 7178-7192

Schmohl KA, Han Y, Tutter M, Schwenk N, Sarker RSJ, Steiger K, Ziegler SI, Bartenstein P, Nelson PJ and Spitzweg C. Integrin αvβ3-dependent thyroid hormone effects on tumour proliferation and vascularization. 2020. Endocrine-Related Cancer. 12 :685-697.

Zhao Y, Li J, Li D, Wang Z, Zhao J, Wu X, Sun Q, Lin PP, Plum P, Damanakis A, Gebauer F, Zhou M, Zhang Z, Jauch KW, Schlösser H, Nelson PJ, Bruns CJ. Tumor Biology and Multidisciplinary Strategies of Oligometastasis in Gastrointestinal Cancers. 2020. Seminars in Cancer Biology. 60: 334-343.

Fu Y, Zou T, Shen X, Nelson PJ, Li J, Wu C, Yang J, Zheng Y, Bruns C, Zhao Y, Qin L, Dong Q. Lipid metabolism in cancer progression and therapeutic strategies. 2021. MedComm. 2: 27-59. 

Spitzweg C, Nelson PJ, Wagner E, Bartenstein P, Weber W, Schwaiger M and Morris JC. The sodium iodide symporter (NIS): novel applications for radionuclide imaging and treatment. 2021. Endocrine-Related Cancer. 3; 28(10):T193-T213.

Tutter M, Schug C, Schmohl KA, Urnauer A, Kitzberger C, Schwenk N, Petrini M, Zach C, Ziegler S, Bartenstein P, Weber W, Wagner E, Lindner LH, Nelson PJ and Spitzweg C. Regional hyperthermia enhances mesenchymal stem cell recruitment to tumor stroma: Implications for mesenchymal stem cell-based tumor therapy. 2021. Molecular Therapy. 29 :788-803.

Sun J, Zhou C, Zhao Y, Zhang X, Chen W, Zhou Q, Hu B, Gao D, Raatz L, Wang Z, Nelson PJ, Jiang Y, Ren N, Bruns CJ, and Zhou H. QSOX1 Promotes Sorafenib-Induced Ferroptosis by Driving EGFR Endosomal Trafficking and Inhibiting NRF2 Activation in Hepatocellular Carcinoma. 2021. Redox Biology. May;41:101942. doi: 10.1016.

Spellerberg R, Benli-Hoppe T, Kitzberger C, Berger S, Schmohl KA, Schwenk N, Yen HY, Zach C, Schilling F, Weber WA, Kälin RE, Glass R, Nelson PJ, Wagner E and Spitzweg C. Selective sodium iodide symporter (NIS) gene therapy of glioblastoma mediated by 2 EGFR-targeted lipopolyplexes. 2021. Molecular Therapy Oncolytics. 30;23:432-446.

Bozoglu T, Lee SZiegler TJurisch VMaas SBaehr AHinkel RHoenig AHariharan AKim CIDecker SSami HKoppara T, Oellinger RMüller OJFrank DMegens RNelson PJWeber CSchnieke ASperandio MSantamaria GRad RMoretti ALaugwitz KL, Soehnlein OOgris MKupatt C. Endothelial Retargeting of AAV9 In Vivo. 2022. Advanced Science.

Dong Q, Nelson PJ, Zhao Y. Editorial: Cancer Cell Metabolism and Immunomodulation in the Context of Tumor. 2022. Metastasis   Frontiers in Oncology. Feb 10;11:803213. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2021.803213. 

Kitzberger C, Spellerberg R, Morath V, Schwenk N, Schmohl KA, Schug C, Urnauer S, Tutter M, Weber WA, Ziegler S, Bartenstein P, Wagner E, Nelson PJ, Spitzweg C. The sodium iodide symporter (NIS) as theranostic gene: its emerging role in new imaging modalities and non-viral gene therapy. 2022. European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (EJNMMI) Research. May 3;12(1):25. doi: 10.1186/s13550-022-00888-w.

Stefansson VTN, Nair V, Melsom T, Looker HC, Mariani LH, Fermin D, Eichinge F, Menon R, Subramanian L, Nelson PJ, Harder JL, Hodgin J, Eriksen BO, Nelson RG, Kretzler M. Intracellular target activation through cellular crosstalk in hyperfiltrating kidneys linked to glomerular lesions in early diabetic kidney disease. 2022. MedRXiiv and Kidney International (in press).

Kitzberger C, Spellerberg R, Han Y, Schmohl KA, Schug C, Zach C, Kälin RE, Schilling F, Glass R, Weber WA, Wagner E, Nelson PJ, Spitzweg C. Mesenchymal Stem Cell-Mediated Sodium Iodide Symporter (NIS) Gene Therapy in Glioblastoma. 2022. Cinical Cancer Research (in press). 

A list of all publications from the Nelson Lab can be found on pubmed:

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The Team

The Current Team


Khuram Shehzad, PhD Student

I studied biochemistry and molecular biology in Pakistan and I joined the Nelson Lab in August 2019 to pursue my doctoral thesis project at the Medical Faculty of the LMU Munich.

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Li Li, PhD Student

I am a trained nephrologist from China and I joined the Nelson Lab in 2018 to conduct my doctoral thesis at the Medical Faculty of the LMU Munich. 




We gratefully acknowledge support for our work from the following funding sources

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Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft


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Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

SFB-TRR 156 "The Skin as Sensor and Effector Organ Orchestrating Local and Systemic Immune Responses"

Bibliography of Prof. Dr. Peter J. Nelson

I obtained my PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Immunology from the University of Minnesota in 1989 and in the laboratory of Prof. Fritz H. Bach. My thesis focused on molecular characterization of the development of T-cell effector function and T-cell anergy. I then took a postdoctoral position in the laboratory of Prof. Dolores Schendel at the Institute of Immunology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich where I studied major histocompatibility (MHC) biology as it applied to the characterization of antigenic mimicry. This was followed by a postdoctoral scholar position at Stanford University School of Medicine in the laboratory of Prof. Alan M. Krensky. At Stanford, I obtained a series of fellowships from the American Heart Association and the National Institutes of Health in the US that funded my position during my stay at Stanford. This work centered on the biology of chemotactic cytokines (chemokines) and their role in driving acute and chronic inflammatory disease. My work also included protein structure-function studies as well as the identification of molecular mechanisms underlying signal and tissue-specific transcriptional regulation. After four years at Stanford, I was recruited back to Munich and the LMU by Prof. Detlef Schlöndorff where I established myself as a group leader, completing my Habilitation in Immunology in 2001 and progressing to a Professorship in 2010.

Our Research Focus


My research broadly addresses issues related to the pathophysiologic mechanisms underlying the induction and propagation of chronic fibrosis and tissue damage. In collaboration with Prof. Christine Spitzweg we are developing protocols for the use of engineered adult stem cells as a therapeutic modality for the treatment of solid tumors. Over the past 20 years my group has additionally worked on questions relating to gene promoter engineering, bioinformatics, chemokine, and protease biology using in vitro approaches as well as mouse models of tumorigenesis. 

Our Projects

The following aspects are of particular interest to our lab:

Wnt-associated Dkk3 in inflammatory and fibrosing skin disease

Radiation dermatitis can initiate a chronic inflammatory/fibrosing process. We found that Dickkopf-3 (Dkk3), a Wnt-related protein linked to immune regulation, promotes chronic fibrosing inflammation in mouse models of radiation damage. Dkk3 knockouts do not develop epidermal hyperplasia, or chronic dermal fibroblast/inflammatory activation. Within the DFG TRR 156 Project C06 we seek to (i) identify the relevant cellular source of Dkk3 in radiation damaged skin using reporter mice and targeted Dkk3 knockouts, (ii) characterize Dkk3 effects on local macrophages and T cells, (iii) dissect the impact of Dkk-related signalling pathways using human skin models, and (iv) connect radiation-induced epigenetic modifications to expression of Dkk3 and chronic inflammatory fibrosis.

The use of engineered adult stem cells in tumor therapy 

In collaboration with Prof. Christine Spitzweg we are developing protocols for the use of engineered adult mesenchymal stem cells as a therapeutic modality for the treatment of solid tumors.

List of Publication

Education and Academic Appointments

since 2010 Professor, Immunology and Molecular Medicine, LMU Munich, Medical Faculty, LMU Munich

2001 - 2010 Akademischer Oberrat, Clinical Biochemistry Group, Department of Internal Medicine IV, LMU Hospital

2001 German Habilitation (Privatdozent, PD) in Immunology (Molecular Medicine), LMU Munich 

1995 - 2001 Group Leader, Clinical Biochemistry Group, Department of Internal Medicine IV, LMU Hospital

1991 - 1995 Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford University Medical School, Division of Immunology and Transplantation Biology 

1989 - 1990 Guest Scientist SFB 217, Institut für Immunologie, LMU Munich 

1989 PhD (Biochemistry and Molecular Immunology), University of Minnesota 

1984 Bachelor of Science (Biochemistry), University of Minnesota, St. Paul, USA

Additional Qualifications, Awards and Activities 

Certificate Fachimmunologe DGfI (Consultant Immunologist DGfI) (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Immunologie)

1999-2003 Scientific Consultant, Genomatix Software GmbH, Munich, Germany (Bioinformatics and Computer Modeling;


Kidney Immunology Laboratory
University Hospital
Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich

Clinical Unit:

Nephrologisches Zentrum

Ziemssenstr. 5, 80336 Munich

Research Unit:

Kidney Immunology Laboratory, Med. IV

Goetherstr. 31, 80336 Munich


BMC - Biomedical Research Center Munich

Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik IV LMU Munich

University of Florence

University of Cracow

TRR 332 - Collaborative Research Center 332

​TRR 156 - Collaborative Research Center 156

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