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The direct route from A to C

We use special nerve cells for spatial orientation. The place cells fire whenever we stay in a particular place. The grid cells, on the other hand, measure distances and play a crucial role in "path integration". So much for the theory. Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and the University Hospital Heidelberg have now, for the first time, provided experimental proof of this. For this purpose, they studied mice with defective grid cells. The more grid cells were impaired, the harder it was for the rodents to navigate in space.

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New German-Greek initiative in cancer research launched

The German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) has announced the start of a collaboration with the National Hellenic Research Foundation in order to establish the "Athens Comprehensive Cancer Center". The goal of the new center is to achieve direct improvements in health care for the Greek population. The DKFZ and the Helmholtz Association will support the project through an exchange of experts, consulting, and visiting stays of scientists. The support is also intended to strengthen research based in Europe.

DKTK Munich

Immune cells predict therapy response in breast cancer

When immune cells invade the tumor, this is usually considered a good sign because the body's own immune system appears to be responding to the cancer. In the case of certain types of breast cancer immune cells, namely so-called tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), these can determine survival rates and predict the usefulness of chemotherapy. This was shown by the largest meta study on TIL content to date, conducted by the scientists of the German Cancer Consortium (DKTK) at the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin in collaboration with the German Breast Group.

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Berlin-Brandenburg Academy Prize for Lena Maier-Hein

Lena Maier-Hein from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) helps physicians get better vision during minimally-invasive surgery. Using novel methods of image analysis, she wants to provide additional image information for surgeons. Thus, they can better differentiate tumors from healthy tissue and execute safer surgical tumor therapies. Maier-Hein now receives the Prize of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, which is donated by the Monika Kutzner Foundation.

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Caught in the act: Papillomaviruses promote non-melanoma skin cancer

UV radiation has been known for a long time to be a risk factor for the development of skin cancer. Simultaneous infection with human papillomaviruses (HPV) has also been suspected to promote skin cancer, particularly in organ transplant recipients. Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) have now been able to show for the first time in a natural system that papillomaviruses associated with UV light promote the development of non-melanoma skin cancer. The investigators provide an explanation why the viruses can be detected in benign human cancer precursors but not in advanced carcinoma.

DKTK Munich

Versatile cancer drugs

Medications which block enzymes belonging to the kinase family, are among the most effective pharmaceuticals for targeted cancer therapies. Scientists at the German Cancer Consortium (DKTK) at the Technical University of Munich have examined 243 kinase inhibitors which are either approved drugs or have been tested in clinical trials. According to results published in Science, some of these may have more applications than previously thought.

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Malaria: Protective antibodies following natural infection

No effective vaccine exists to date against the tropical disease malaria. Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) have now studied how the human immune system responds to natural infection by the malaria parasite. Analyzing individual immune cells, they discovered that the immune system produces antibodies that are protective against the disease in mice. In addition, long-lived memory cells are formed and produce this antibody again if needed. These findings will help develop more specific next-generation vaccines.

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