European Research Council supports two more DKFZ researchers
The European Research Council (ERC) awards “Consolidator Grants” to support excellent young researchers at the stage when they are launching their own independent science career. Two junior research group leaders from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) have now received the prestigious grants: Markus Feuerer is studying how special T cells prevent an immune response against tumors. Hai-Kun Liu is investigating why brain tumors are composed of a variety of cells, with the goal of finding better treatment methods.
Stellate cells in the liver control regeneration and fibrosis
Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and the Medical Faculty in Mannheim at Heidelberg University are searching for new approaches to prevent liver fibrosis. They have identified a surface molecule on special liver cells called stellate cells as a potential target for interfering with this process. When the researchers turned off the receptor, this led to reduced liver fibrosis and improved regeneration of hepatic cells.
New test to predict the effectiveness of cancer vaccines
Many therapeutic cancer vaccines that are currently being developed are designed to direct the immune system against altered cancer-cell proteins. However, these vaccines can only be effective if the tumor cells present the altered protein to the immune system in a perfectly matching shape. Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and Heidelberg University Hospital have now described a test to predict whether this prerequisite for effective tumor vaccination is fulfilled.
A good night’s sleep keeps your stem cells young
As we age, the stem cells in all tissues of our body are depleted or fail to function efficiently. This is what drives the age-associated decline in tissue function and the onset of age-related diseases such as cancer. The loss of stem cells is thought to be predominantly driven by accumulative damage to the DNA of stem cells. However, the source of this DNA damage in stem cells has previously been unclear. In a study just published in the journal Nature, scientists at the Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum (DKFZ) Heidelberg and at the Institute for Stem Cell Technology and Experimental Medicine (HI-STEM gGmbH) have uncovered that environmental stress is a major factor in driving DNA damage in adult hematopoietic stem cells. Repeated exposure to such stress causes accelerated tissue aging and probably cancer.
Annual Reception at the DKFZ
On Thursday, February 12, 2015, the Management Board of the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) invited friends and supporters from politics, industry and science, as well as employees, to its Annual Reception. About 400 invited guests enjoyed an inspiring evening accompanied by music performed by the Karlsruhe Grand Celli Quartet. The highlight of the evening was a speech by Rolf-Dieter Heuer, Director General of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).
Real-time, live assessment of blood formation
In the bone marrow, blood stem cells give rise to a large variety of mature blood cells via progenitor cells at various stages of maturation. Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) have developed a way to equip mouse blood stem cells with a fluorescent marker that can be switched on from the outside. Using this tool, they were able to observe, for the first time, how stem cells mature into blood cells under normal conditions in a living organism. With these data, they developed a mathematical model of the dynamics of hematopoiesis. The researchers have now reported in the journal Nature that the normal process of blood formation differs from what scientists had previously assumed when using data from stem cell transplantations.
A microRNA causes disruptions in energy metabolism
Elevated levels of glucocorticoid hormones in the blood cause disruptions in energy metabolism. Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg University and Heidelberg University Hospitals have now discovered that the culprit that causes blood lipid levels to rise is a microRNA molecule present in liver cells. The researchers were also able to demonstrate that blocking this microRNA can normalize metabolic processes.
Wilms tumors: Genetic triggers uncovered
For childhood kidney tumors, scientists from Würzburg and Heidelberg have identified a series of previously unknown genetic causes. A lack of microRNA prevents kidney precursor cells from maturation. Instead they remain in an embryonic state in which rapid growth is one of their fundamental tasks.
Antibody armed with a viral protein enhances cancer therapy
Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and the Helmholtz Zentrum München are exploring new ways to fight lymphoma. They have developed a new method that simulates a viral infection of cancer cells. The immune cells activated as a result are able to kill the cancer cells efficiently.
Lung cancer takes the place of breast cancer as the leading cause of death from cancer in women
Epidemiologists have predicted it for years, and now the moment has come: For the first time ever, lung cancer will replace breast cancer as the leading cause of death from cancer in women. On the occasion of Word Cancer Day 2015, the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) reports that this change in the rankings of cancer mortality, originally determined for all of Europe, has also been observed in Germany.