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Recent Press Releases
Oxidative stress: Alternative utilization of glucose ensures survival of the cell
Oxidative stress in the cell blocks the normal sugar metabolism. Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS) have now found out that this long known interruption of the normal sugar metabolism under stress conditions is not an uncontrolled disruption. On the contrary, it is vital for the survival of the cells. It is based on a highly specific mechanism that formed early during evolution and can even be found in bacteria. Cancer cells may particularly benefit from this mechanism.
A meager supply from the bone marrow: Macrophages in tissues (mostly) renew themselves
Most cells in the blood arise from stem cells in the bone marrow. Exceptions are macrophages, a type of phagocytic cell that forms part of the immune system. In a collaboration between the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg and King’s College in London, scientists have discovered that most macrophages originate in the yolk sac, a type of embryonic tissue. Progenitors of macrophages migrate from the yolk sac to various tissues where they settle and renew themselves. Additional macrophages from the bone marrow are only supplied in the case of inflammations or other pathogenic processes. These findings shed new light on these immune cells, which were discovered 150 years ago, but whose origin and development have been poorly understood. The findings were just published in the journal “Nature”.
Blood vessel lining cells control metastasis
Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg and from the Medical Faculty Mannheim of Heidelberg University paved the way for an innovative combination therapy against metastases: They treated mice with a combination of a low-dose metronomic chemotherapy and an antibody against Ang-2, a regulatory protein of the blood vessel lining cells. The treated animals had significantly less metastases in the lungs and in the bone and survived longer than untreated control mice.