Link to page: Genomic tracking of the COVID-19 pandemic in England
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Genomic tracking of the COVID-19 pandemic in England

The COVID-19 crisis that gripped England between September 2020 and June 2021 can be thought of as a series of overlapping epidemics, rather than a single event, say researchers at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, EMBL's European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) and the German Cancer Research Center. During this period, the country wrestled with multiple variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that possessed different growth rates and required a different public health response.

Link to page: High risk of colorectal cancer in men only partly explainable
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High risk of colorectal cancer in men only partly explainable

Throughout the world, more men than women develop colorectal cancer. Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center have now analyzed the extent to which known and presumed risk and protective factors contribute to this considerably higher risk of disease. Surprisingly, they found that only about half of this excess risk can be explained by the known risk factors. Further factors that increase the risk of colorectal cancer need to be identified and evaluated to improve screening in men in future.

Link to page: Bridging antibodies plus enhancer can destroy breast cancer cells
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Bridging antibodies plus enhancer can destroy breast cancer cells

Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) have developed antibodies that have two antigen-binding sites and can couple cancer cells with effector cells of the immune system. In laboratory tests, these bridging antibodies, together with an enhancer antibody, were able to specifically mobilize the body's own immune defenses and destroy breast cancer cells.

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Link to page: Cancer-promoting metabolic pathways as targets of new therapies
Award-winning science:

Cancer-promoting metabolic pathways as targets of new therapies

Christiane Opitz, scientist at the German Cancer Research Center, is being awarded this year's Ita Askonas Prize of the European Federation of Immunological Societies. Opitz has discovered how tumor cells use certain metabolites to protect themselves against the immune system. Her research findings may provide important clues for the development of new therapeutic concepts.

Link to page: Blood vessels produce growth factor that promotes metastases
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Blood vessels produce growth factor that promotes metastases

On the one hand, blood vessels supply tumors with nutrients and, on the other, enable cancer cells to spread throughout the body. The settlement of circulating tumor cells in a distant organ is promoted by factors whose production is induced by the primary tumor itself. Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and the Medical Faculty Mannheim, Heidelberg University, have now identified a new growth factor produced by blood vessels that enables tumor cells to metastatically colonize organs. In mice, an antibody directed against this factor was able to slow the growth of metastatic tumors.

Link to page: Superspreading events as drivers of SARS-CoV-2 evolution
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Superspreading events as drivers of SARS-CoV-2 evolution

What evolution has SARS-CoV-2 undergone since the beginning of the pandemic? Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center, in collaboration with colleagues from the Applied Biomedical Science Institute, San Diego, USA, analyzed this using data from the U.S. national SARS-CoV-2 sequence database. The combination of mutations plus "super spreading events" fuels the spread of genetic viral variants in the population.

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Link to page: Blood-based micro-RNAs indicate the risk of colorectal cancer
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Blood-based micro-RNAs indicate the risk of colorectal cancer

The risk of colorectal cancer can be predicted more accurately by determining seven blood-based micro-RNAs (miRNAs) than by using traditional methods - and can be done so many years before a diagnosis is made. In a current study, researchers from the German Cancer Research Center and the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) Heidelberg show that miRNA profiles provide greater predictive accuracy than genetic or lifestyle-based risk stratification methods. This might help make more targeted use of colorectal cancer screening in future.

Link to page: How much does it really cost to develop a new drug?
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How much does it really cost to develop a new drug?

Along with direct investments, the high risk of failure and the considerable time to market all determine the costs of drug development. Yet how much does it really cost to develop a new drug? Published estimates arrive at very different results. Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center investigated the possible reasons for these discrepancies. The study they have now presented is based on a systematic analysis of the scientific literature.

Link to page: What leads to the exhaustion of immune cells in the tumor microenvironment?
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What leads to the exhaustion of immune cells in the tumor microenvironment?

Guoliang Cui, of the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ), receives one of the 2021 Lloyd J. Old STAR Awards providing a grant of $1.25 million. Guoliang Cui is studying the mechanisms of T cell exhaustion in the context of cancer.

Link to page: Vaccination against hereditary colorectal cancer successful in mice
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Vaccination against hereditary colorectal cancer successful in mice

Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center and Heidelberg University Hospital have for the first time been able to delay the development of hereditary colorectal cancer with a protective vaccination. Mice with a hereditary predisposition to colorectal cancer survived significantly longer after vaccination than unvaccinated animals. Combining the vaccination with an anti-inflammatory drug increased the protective effect.

Cancer in the EU

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