Defective packaging protein boosts gene activity in brain cancer cells
In about half of all cases of high-grade malignant glioma in children, a mutation is found in a DNA packaging protein (histone) called H3.3. Scientists at the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) have now discovered that this mutation leads to reduced methyl labeling both in the histone mutant and in the DNA of the tumor cells. These two epigenetic changes increase gene activity in the cancer cells and may thus contribute to the aggressiveness of these tumors.
Binding protein prevents vascular chaos
Healing a wound requires immune cells and repair material to travel through the bloodstream to reach the site of damage. Since blood vessels in the area have been destroyed, new ones have to grow into the damaged tissue, a process stimulated by a chemical messenger called VEGF. Not all vascular cells should respond to VEGF, because this would produce a chaotic vascular network and disrupt the flow of blood. Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) and the Medical Faculty Mannheim of Heidelberg University have now discovered a binding protein that can inhibit the effect of VEGF.
How a secret friendship of two enzymes makes apoptosis possible
When cells start growing out of control, the body has a potent mechanism to protect itself from cancer: programmed cell death, or apoptosis. It is induced by an enzyme called HIPK2 and other molecules. Led by Dr. Thomas Hofmann from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), a team of scientists from DKFZ, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, and the University of Triest, Italy, have now discovered that HIPK2 depends on a second enzyme in order to become active: Pin1. This function of the Pin1 enzyme has been unknown until now.
Radiation therapy mobilizes the immune system against tumors
The cells of our immune system can be effective weapons against cancer. To do so they need to leave the bloodstream and reach the tumor, but changes in its surroundings often prevent them from doing so. Now scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) have discovered that local applications of low doses of radiation help immune cells escape blood vessels and enter tumor tissue. The results have been published in the journal “Cancer Cell”.
Defective tumor suppressor leads to leukemia - by an indirect route
Cancer often arises as a result of defects in genes known as tumor suppressors that inhibit cell growth. Scientists at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) have studied how the loss of a tumor suppressor called PTEN leads to the development of leukemia. They were surprised to discover that the absence of PTEN does not cause blood stem cells themselves to divide excessively. Instead, leukemia develops as a result of the overproduction of a chemical messenger (G-CSF) in granulocytes that causes blood stem cells to leave the bone marrow and migrate into the spleen, where this causes an out-of-control multiplication of white blood cells.
Mutations in cancer often affect the X chromosome
Every cell in a woman’s body inactivates one of its two X chromosomes. Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) and Heidelberg University have collaborated with international partners to discover that various types of cancer exhibit an abnormally huge number of mutations in the inactive X chromosome. They happen up to four times as frequently as in other chromosomes. The findings, published in the journal “Cell”, help scientists understand how mutations accumulate in damaged cells and eventually lead to the development of cancer.
Helmholtz International Fellow Award for John Mendelsohn
Following a nomination by the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres has distinguished U.S. cancer researcher Prof. Dr. John Mendelsohn with the Helmholtz International Fellow Award. The award gives Dr. Mendelsohn the opportunity to pursue a research visit at DKFZ and other Helmholtz research centers to intensify relations.
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schlegel nominated as outstanding contributor to the advancement of medical physics over the last 50 years
To mark the 50th Anniversary of the International Organization for Medical Physics (IOMP), national and regional medical physics organizations were invited to nominate medical physicists, who have made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of medical physics and healthcare through research, clinical developments, education and training activities, service development, and to professional matters over the last 50 years.
Drug activates virus against cancer
Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) have discovered that a drug called valproic acid increases the effectiveness of parvoviruses that are used against cancer. In some cases, pancreatic and cervical tumors that had been transplanted to rats completely regressed after treatment with a combination of the virus and an agent. The drug makes the viruses replicate more rapidly and improves their capacity to kill cancer cells.
Immortality enzyme makes bladder cancer aggressive
Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) have discovered a gene mutation that leads to an overactive form of telomerase, the so-called “immortality enzyme,” in 65 percent of all cases of bladder cancer. The mutation is associated with an unfavorable progression of the disease. This does not hold true, however, if patients additionally exhibit a specific gene variant.