ERC Advanced Grants for Hellmut Augustin and Christof Niehrs

The European Research Council ERC's Advanced Grants promote visionary projects of fundamental research. This year, Hellmut Augustin (University of Heidelberg and DKFZ) and Christof Niehrs (University of Mainz and DKFZ) received the prestigious funding.

Cancer therapy

An interaction map of genes shows the best targets

Most genes are team players. Only when interacting with other genes can they perform properly. Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) have now found a possibility to exploit this for the development of new cancer therapies. They generate maps of genetic interactions in cancer cells. These maps can then be used to determine the sites where it would be most effective to interfere with the interplay of cancer genes.

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Alcohol: redefined upper limit for low-risk consumption

Consuming regularly more than 100 grams of alcohol per week shortens life, according to the results of an international research consortium published in the latest issue of the journal "Lancet". Those who consistently consume more than two liters of beer or a bottle of wine per week risk more strokes, deadly aneurysms and heart failure, and a higher overall mortality.

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Breast cancer therapy

All clear for the heart

Many breast cancer therapies cause damage to the heart. However, in the largest study of its kind so far, scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg have now shown that the risk of death from heart disease in breast cancer patients following radiotherapy or chemotherapy is no higher than it is among the average population. Good risk management in the hospitals as well as control screenings at short intervals seem to make up for elevated risks.

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Blood test indicates risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease

A newly developed blood test may indicate Alzheimer's disease on average eight years before the clinical diagnosis. This was demonstrated by scientists from the Ruhr University Bochum (RUB), the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and the Saarland Cancer Registry with a large population-based cohort study from the Saarland.


Double success for Heidelberg stem cell researchers

Two awards at once, both carrying high monetary prizes, go to young researchers from the Heidelberg Institute for Stem Cell Research and Experimental Medicine (HI-STEM) at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ): Simon Raffel will receive the 2018 Walter Schulz Prize for his discovery how misregulated breakdown of amino acids in leukemia stem cells promotes blood cancer. Simon Haas will share the 2018 Otto Schmeil Prize with his colleague Lars Velten from EMBL. The two stem cell researchers have jointly demonstrated that the development of blood cells in the bone marrow follows very different paths from what scientists have assumed up to now.


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LifeTime – a visionary proposal for an EU Flagship

Reliably predicting the onset and trajectory of a disease might seem like a distant dream. But a European consortium is aiming to achieve exactly this using a set of emerging technologies with the analysis of single cells at their core. Researchers from leading European science institutions have now submitted a proposal for a so-called "Future and Emerging Technologies Flagships". The large-scale project, which also involves scientists from the German Cancer Research Center, is called LifeTime.

Start of the third funding period

Ten years of successful research on cancer stem cells

HI-STEM, the Heidelberg Institute for Stem Cell Technology and Experimental Medicine at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), is looking back on ten successful years. In numerous types of cancer, HI-STEM researchers have been able to show the role of stem cells in the development, spread and therapy resistance of malignant tumors. The results show new approaches towards treating the threatening diseases more specifically and more effectively in the future. HI-STEM, a nonprofit institute, will now receive support amounting to €7.5 million from the Dietmar Hopp Foundation for the third consecutive five-year funding period. In addition, the Dietmar Hopp Foundation has agreed to support another two research projects at HI-STEM with funds amounting to €2.25 million.


Are high blood glucose levels an effect rather than the cause of the disease?

Insulin resistance and elevated blood glucose levels are considered to be the cause of type 2 diabetes. However, scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and Heidelberg University Hospital have now provided evidence that things might be completely different. They showed in flies that elevated levels of the metabolite MG (methylglyoxal) cause the typical diabetic disturbances of the metabolism and lead to insulin resistance, obesity and elevated blood sugar levels.

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