Strategic Communication and Public Relations

Prestigious research prize for the discovery of new liver regeneration mechanisms

No. 65 | 23/11/2021 | by Koh

The Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Italy's national science academy, has awarded this year's Francesco De Luca Prize to Donato Inverso from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in recognition of his research achievements, which have permitted previously unimagined insights into how liver function is steered by blood vessels.

Donato Inverso
© private

Blood vessels steer organ function. The endothelial cells in particular, which line the inside of the vessels, perform important steering and monitoring functions that have not previously been adequately understood. For the first time, the immunologist Donato Inverso and his colleagues managed to produce a high-resolution map of gene and protein expression in endothelial cells of the liver. His results allow a precise insight into the mechanisms of liver function and the steering of liver regeneration.

In addition, Donato Inverso was involved in the discovery that blood platelets that interact with liver and immune cells play a crucial role in the development of fatty liver, nonalcoholic fatty liver inflammation, and liver cancer.

Inverso obtained a doctorate from Vita-Salute San Raffaele University in Milan in 2015 and subsequently joined Hellmut Augustin's division at the German Cancer Research Center. The research results he obtained there have been published in the most prestigious journals.

The Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Italy's national science academy, was founded in 1603 and is regarded as one of the most reputed and oldest science institutions. One of its earliest members was Galileo Galilei. Over a period of four centuries, the academy has brought together Europe's most influential scientists, artists, and writers, including Werner Heisenberg, Theodor Mommsen, Wilhelm Röntgen, and Max Planck.

The international Francesco de Luca Prize is awarded to doctors in the field of cancer medicine and carries prize money of 10,000 euros.

The German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) with its more than 3,000 employees is the largest biomedical research institution in Germany. More than 1,300 scientists at the DKFZ investigate how cancer develops, identify cancer risk factors and search for new strategies to prevent people from developing cancer. They are developing new methods to diagnose tumors more precisely and treat cancer patients more successfully. The DKFZ's Cancer Information Service (KID) provides patients, interested citizens and experts with individual answers to all questions on cancer.

Jointly with partners from the university hospitals, the DKFZ operates the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) in Heidelberg and Dresden, and the Hopp Children's Tumour Center KiTZ in Heidelberg. In the German Consortium for Translational Cancer Research (DKTK), one of the six German Centers for Health Research, the DKFZ maintains translational centers at seven university partner locations. NCT and DKTK sites combine excellent university medicine with the high-profile research of the DKFZ. They contribute to the endeavor of transferring promising approaches from cancer research to the clinic and thus improving the chances of cancer patients.

The DKFZ is 90 percent financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and 10 percent by the state of Baden-Württemberg. The DKFZ is a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers.

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