DKFZ awards Dr. Emil Salzer Prize und Richtzenhain Prize to tumor genetics researchers
The German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) has awarded the Dr. Emil Salzer Prize to Professor Roland Rad (Munich Technical University), whose research focuses on the basic genetic mechanisms underlying bowel cancer. Tumor genomes are also a focus of Professor Stefan Pfister (DKFZ and Heidelberg University) and Professor Roman Thomas (University of Cologne). The latter two scientists received this year’s sponsorship award from the Walther and Christine Richtzenhain Foundation. The award ceremony took place on December 16, 2014, at the DKFZ.
A yardstick to measure the malignancy of prostate cancer
A protein that influences the epigenetic characteristics of tumor cells is directly linked to the grade of malignancy of prostate cancer. This key discovery has been made by a team of scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), the University of Zurich, Hamburg-Eppendorf University Hospital, Heidelberg University, and other institutes in a study of 7,700 samples of tumor tissue. The detection of this biomarker may serve as an indicator of the likelihood that the disease may take an aggressive course, and may thus be helpful in choosing an appropriate treatment. The study was part of the “Early Onset Prostate Cancer” project, supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC).
A second chance for children with cancer
Today most cases of childhood cancer can be cured. However, in about 20 percent of cases children suffer a recurrence of the cancer following therapy and they ultimately succumb to the disease. With a new project called INFORM*, scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and the German Consortium for Translational Cancer Research (DKTK) aim to provide these children with a second avenue toward cures. The work is based on an analysis of the tumor's complete genetic information at the time of relapse. The data allows researchers to discover factors that promote tumor growth and investigate whether novel, targeted drugs can help cure the individual child’s disease. The goal is to identify genomic alterations in all cases of recurrent cancer in children across Germany and search for drugs that precisely target the tumor of each affected child. German Cancer Aid (Deutsche Krebshilfe) and the German Childhood Cancer Foundation (Deutsche Kinderkrebsstiftung) will now provide about €1.1 million to fund a two-year feasibility study.
Marketing of electronic cigarettes: Targeting young people
E-cigarettes are no longer a marginal phenomenon in Germany. They are being sold and advertised in this country on the internet, at gas stations and kiosks, and in supermarkets, like cigarettes made of tobacco. A new publication from the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) now documents the marketing of e-cigarettes on the internet, on TV, at sports events, fairs and sales locations. The publication reports that e-cigarette advertising targets not only adults but also youth. The topic will be a focus when about 250 experts and policy-makers from ten countries meet for the 12th Conference on Tobacco Control at the German Cancer Research Center on December 3-4, 2014.
Largest worldwide study on cancer survival rates reveals dramatic differences – Germany among the leading countries worldwide
In a study called CONCORD-2, around 500 international scientists report on 5-year survival rates for about 25.7 million adult cancer patients suffering from one of the ten most common types of cancer (stomach, colon, rectum, liver, lung, breast, cervix, ovaries, prostate, leukemia) as well as for approximately 75,000 children who were diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) between 1995 and 2009. In the study, the scientists drew on data from 279 cancer registries in 67 countries. It was analyzed using a method called period analysis, developed by Hermann Brenner from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg. This method delivers more up-to-date data on long-term survival than the rates obtained by conventional methods. The study was published in the journal “Lancet”.
Double signal activates killer cells
Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) have found out that natural killer cells need at least two separate signals in order to be able to fight cytomegaloviruses. This finding might help to find more effective treatments against this virus, which is particularly dangerous for leukemia patients in the wake of bone marrow transplants.
Effective and safe – Evaluation of the first ten years of colonoscopy in cancer screening
Scientists at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) have evaluated data from the first ten years of endoscopic gastrointestinal cancer screening (colonoscopy). The study concludes that the approximately 4.4 million screening examinations conducted during this period have prevented about 180,000 cases of colorectal cancer. By comparison, there were only 4,500 cases of over-diagnosis.
"Ring of Fire" wins the world championship in synthetic biology – a team of Heidelberg students wins over the judges in Boston
Joint press release of the German Cancer Research Center and the University of Heidelberg
For the second time in a row, a student team from Heidelberg University and the German Cancer Research Center has won the Grand Prize – and several special prizes – in the international iGEM competition in Boston. Last weekend, the Heidelberg team was ranked highest among 245 teams from 32 countries, leaving competitors from renowned universities such as Harvard, Yale and Stanford in their wake. This new triumph of Heidelberg scientists underscores Germany’s position as a world leader for research and training in the field of synthetic biology.
Everyone knows them, and one in five smokers tries them: E-cigarettes in Germany
Almost everybody in Germany knows what e-cigarettes are, and almost 10 percent of 16-to-19-year-olds have tried them – about the same rate as tobacco smokers in this age group. Interest in e-cigarettes is particularly high among smokers: About 25 percent of smokers between the ages of 16 and 39 years have tried them at least once. Even so, fewer than one percent of smokers are regular users of e-cigarettes. In 2014, e-cigarettes have been used less frequently as a means of quitting smoking than other nicotine replacement products, and only 0.2 percent of former smokers stated that they used e-cigarettes to quit smoking. These are the results of a survey conducted by the Society for Consumer Research (GfK) under a commission by the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), now summarized in two publications.
DKFZ Chairman and Director Otmar D. Wiestler has been elected Helmholtz President
The Senate of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers has unanimously elected Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Otmar D. Wiestler, Chairman of the Management Board and Scientific Director of the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ), to become the next President of the Helmholtz Association. The Senate followed a unanimous proposal submitted by the Assembly of Members on September 17, 2014. The new President’s term of office will start on September 1, 2015. The current Helmholtz President, Prof. Dr. Jürgen Mlynek, came into office in 2005 and will resign after two terms of office, in accordance with the Statutes.