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Martin Ruthardt

Dr Martin Ruthardt

Senior Lecturer in Haematology, Division of Cancer and Genetics

School of Medicine

Main Hospital Building, Room Room 183, 7th floor B-C link, University Hospital of Wales, Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4XN





























My collaborators and Ihave an interdisciplinary approach on mechanisms of leukemogenesis with a focus on high risk acute leukemia. Our aim is to understand resistance mechanisms and how to hit the weak points of these leukemias for an improvement of already existing therapy concepts. This is always accompanied by the development of novel hypothesis driven molecular therapy approaches. The final goal of all this is to substitute therapy schemes e.g. in acute myeloid leukemia that are in place nearly unchanged for the last thirty years and only profited from improved care and the advances of heterologeous stem cell transplantation.

Interdisciplinary for us is not only a buzz word but something that we believe to be indispensable to achieve our aims Therefore we are able to integrate leukemia stem cell biology with drug development, all types of proteomic approaches, high profile bioinformatics, and clinical risk stratification based on big next generation sequencing data sets.

My collaborators and I contributed successfully to

  • understanding all trans retinoic acid (ATRA) response/resistance in acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL/AML-M3).

  • understanding of leukemic stem cells as targets of Arsen Trioxyde (ATO) in APL and thereby of the mechanisms on that the novel "chemotherapy free" approach to treat APL by ATRA/ATO is based on.

  • determining the importance of leukemic stem cells for the initiation and maintenance of AML and the role of key factors of the WNT-signaling pathway in leukemic stem cells.

  • disclosing the contribution of reciprocal translocation products such as ABL-BCR in the t(9;22) to the induction and maintenance of acute and chronic leukemia.

  • establishing novel compounds (e.g. PF114) for the treatment of resistant acute and chronic leukemia.

  • determining the target cell of t(6;9)DEK-NUP214 mediated transformation and thus the cells to be hit in order to eradicate this high risk acute leukemia.

My collaborators and I are developing our research further by integrating genomics and proteomics (e.g. phospho-proteomics, interactomics) and the bioinformatics needed for a correct elaboration of these big data sets in the solution of our scientific questions.

In addition, we elaborate NSG data sets from big AML and MDS patient cohorts (targeted sequencing, whole exome sequencing and whole genome sequencing) by different algorithms to answer questions about risk stratification, therapy response, and pathogenetic mechanisms. Final aim is to expand the application of these algorithms to other subtypes of cancer.



1975 - 1984

Baccalaureate (humanistic/scientific), Humboldt-Gymnasium, Ulm, Germany

1985 - 1993

Graduation in Medicine, Università degli Studi, Perugia, Italy

Research and Professional Experiences


Stage in the Institute of Biochemistry, Medical School of the University Strasbourg, France: "Characterization of the DNA-binding domain of ETS (P. Chambon, B. Wasylyk).

1991 – 1993

MD thesis: "Acute promyelocytic leukaemia: evaluation of the response to therapy by RT-PCR" in the Laboratory of Molecular Biology (P.G. Pelicci), Università di Perugia, Italy

1993 – 1996

Postdoctoral in the Laboratory of Molecular Biology (P.G. Pelicci) at the Institute of Oncological Sciences, Università di Perugia, Italy

1996 - 2001

Group Leader "The molecular biology of leukemogenesis", Department of Hematology, Medical School of the Goethe University, Frankfurt, GermanyV-MR


Head of the Laboratory of Tumor Stem Cell Biology, Department of Hematology, University Medical School, Frankfurt, Germany

since 2015

Senior Lecturer in Haematology, Department of Haematology, Division of Cancer and Genetics, School of Medicine, Cardiff University, UK

Honours and awards

Fellowships and Awards


Student Fellowship "Erasmus"by the EU – Strasbourg, France

1994 - 1996

Dr. Mildred Scheel International Fellowship (German Cancer Aid)


Alfred und Angelika Gutermuth-Award for Leukaemia Research


Heinrich und Erna Schauffler Award for Translational Tumor Research

Academic positions


February 1993

Graduation in Medicine (grade 108/110), Università Perugia, Italy

February 1993

Doctoral degree (M.D.), Università Perugia, Italy

April 1993

Approbation as Physician by the Italian Ministry of Public Health, Rome, Italy, and the Landesprüfungsamt Baden Württemberg, Germany

May 2003

Habilitation for Experimental Medicine at Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany

Committees and reviewing

I led an International DFG funded Collaboration Research Group (German Israel Palestine) and was involved in setting up both National (German) Collaborative Research Groups (funding bodies: DFG; German Cancer Aid, Federal German and Regional Hesse Governments) as well International Collaboration (EU funded European Leukemia Network).

Journal Editing: Member of the Editorial Board of BMC Cancer (2010-2015).

Routinely Reviewing Manuscripts: Blood, Leukemia, Cancer Research, Clinical Cancer Research, Oncogene and several others.

Routinely Reviewing Grants: National (CR-UK, KKLF, Bloodwise) and International funding bodies (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft – DFG, German Cancer Aid, José Carreras Leukemia Foundation, Wilhelm-Sander Foundation (all German), Associazione Ricerca e Lotta contro il Cancro (AIRC, Italy); INSERM (France), Austrian Academy of Science (Austria).