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2016 Windaus Award for Dietrich Keppler

Dietrich Keppler, who was head of a research division at the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) until 2007, has been awarded the 2016 international Adolf Windaus Award for his research achievements. Keppler, a biochemist, has made seminal contributions towards unraveling the molecular mechanisms of how substances are transported into the liver and from the liver into the bile. The Windaus Award has been given by the Falk Foundation since 1980 for outstanding achievements in the field of bile acid research. The award comprises €15,000.

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Misaligned chromosomes give breast cancer cells a selection advantage

If chromosomes are distributed unevenly during cell division, this has a negative effect on the survival of daughter cells. However, in many cancer types, misaligned chromosomes are associated with a negative prognosis, meaning that they appear to benefit the cancer. Scientists at DKFZ have conducted trials with mice to investigate the effect of unevenly misaligned chromosomes on breast cancer. When the scientists triggered aberrant distribution of chromosomes in the mammary gland cells of mice, this delayed the development of breast cancer. However, the developing tumors appeared to have a selection advantage: they continued to grow even when the growth-promoting cancer gene had been switched off.

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Tricks of Ticking time bomb Hepatitis B Virus

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) causes hepatitis B, an infectious disease that afflicts 230 million people worldwide, thereof 440 000 in Germany. Persistence of the virus in liver cells leads to progressive organ damage in the patient and contributes to a high risk of cirrhosis and liver cancer development. Providing a new paradigm to hepatitis B understanding, researchers at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg, Germany, and Department of Infectious Diseases, Molecular Virology, Heidelberg University Hospital have now uncovered a novel maturation mechanism employed by HBV to improve its infection success. Their findings are reported in the newest issue of Cell Host & Microbe.

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