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.
Immunotherapy in metastatic colorectal cancer for the first time utilizes the innate immune system
Metastasized colorectal cancer is difficult to treat. Scientists at the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) and the Heidelberg University Hospital in collaboration with the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) have now discovered that the immune system acts as an accomplice to the metastases. Macrophages, also called scavenger cells, play a vital role in this process. The metastases in the liver influence macrophages in a way that helps tumor cells grow and spread. The reason for this is a signal pathway which is also used by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) as an entry point into human cells. One inhibitor is already being used therapeutically in HIV patients. The scientists have now tested this drug in pre-clinical experiments and in a subsequent study involving 14 patients with advanced metastatic colorectal cancer. This Phase I study was funded by the Dietmar-Hopp Foundation and the promising results have just been published in Cancer Cell.
The NCT is a joint institution of the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), the Heidelberg University Hospital and the German Cancer Aid (Deutsch Krebshilfe).
Pancreatic cancer: Aggressive behavior from the start
A microRNA suppresses the ability of cancer cells in the pancreas to invade surrounding tissue and spread metastases, researchers at the German Cancer Research Center and colleagues revealed in their latest study. In patients with pancreatic cancer, the researchers discovered that the lower the detected levels of this microRNA in the tumor are, the more unfavorably the disease progresses. Levels of this microRNA are often already reduced in chronic pancreatitis, which often precedes cancer.
A tumor where the soul resides
World Brain Tumor Day: Interview with Professor Wolfgang Wick, head of the Clinical Cooperation Unit “Neurooncology” of the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and Managing Director of the Neurology Department at Heidelberg University Hospital.
Hans-Reimer Rodewald has been elected EMBO Member
Hans-Reimer Rodewald from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) has been elected to join the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) in recognition of his research achievements in immunology. The more than 1,700 EMBO Members are internationally leading scientists in their fields.
Natural Killer cells contain powerful toxin against tumors
Scientists at the University Hospital and the DKFZ in Heidelberg have discovered that a protein from immune cells paralyzes the energy supply in tumor cells. The German Society of Pathology has awarded them with the Novartis Prize. The scientists have now published their findings in Nature Communications.
How fasting helps fight fatty liver disease
Jointly with colleagues from Helmholtz Zentrum München, scientists at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg have new information on what happens at the molecular level when we go hungry. In cooperation with the German Center for Diabetes Research they were able to show that upon deprivation of food a certain protein is produced that adjusts the metabolism in the liver.
Founding of an International Cancer Genome Consortium for medicine: Scientists combine data from cancer genome with information on disease progression
During the American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting, members of the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) announced their entering of a new phase: The ICGCmed now combine data from cancer genome with information on disease progression. The objective of this initiative is to make optimal use of the consolidated information for prevention, early detection, diagnostics, prognosis and tailor-made cancer therapies.
Endogenous oxidants: New methods for monitoring processes in the organism
Diet, physical activity, infection, cancer, and possibly aging are all factors that can have an impact on the oxidation state of cells and tissues. Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) have now developed two novel biological measuring systems that facilitate better analysis of disease-relevant changes in the oxidation state of cells. One of the methods can be used, for the first time, to observe variations and changes in cellular oxidation states in tissue sections. The other is a newly developed biosensor that is a sensitive enough to facilitate real-time measurements of subtle oxidative changes in metabolism.
DKFZ trainee wins Helmholtz Apprentice Award with a stem cell culture
A great success for one of DKFZ's young staff members: 22-year old Franziska Pilz came second in the Helmholtz Apprentice Award. The jury commended her for her “significant contribution to the further development of stem cell research and for her independent, proactive and responsible work”. Franziska Pilz who is currently training to be a biology laboratory assistant, worked on a project on the stem cell niche. She accepted her award on April 7.