Press Releases

No. 22c | 13. April 2021

beLAB 2122: A new bridge connects research and industry

© Wikimedia Commons

Drug discovery alliance and development partnership company Evotec launches „beLAB2122", translating academic innovation from leading German Life Science Region in collaboration with Bristol Myers Squibb. The German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) is one of the academic partners of the cooperation project.

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No. 18 | 24. March 2021 | by Koh

Liver cancer: which patients benefit from immunotherapy?

Inflammatory fatty liver disease and liver cancer - an artistic illustratio...
© Peter von Walter / DKFZ

Immunotherapy using checkpoint inhibitors is effective in around a quarter of patients with liver cancer. However, to date, physicians have been unable to predict which patients would benefit from this type of treatment and which would not. Researchers from the German Cancer Research Center have now discovered that liver cancer caused by chronic inflammatory fatty liver disease does not respond to this treatment. On the contrary: in an experimental model, this type of immunotherapy actually promoted the development of liver cancer, as now reported in the journal Nature.

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No. 17 | 24. March 2021 | by Koh

Vaccination against mutated protein tested in brain tumor patients for the first time

MRI image of diffuse glioma (top).
© Universitätsmedizin Mannheim

Tumor vaccines can help the body fight cancer. Mutations in the tumor genome often lead to protein changes that are typical of cancer. A vaccine can alert the patients' immune system to these mutated proteins. For the first time, physicians and cancer researchers from Heidelberg and Mannheim have now carried out a clinical trial to test a mutation-specific vaccine against malignant brain tumors. The vaccine proved to be safe and triggered the desired immune response in the tumor tissue, as the team now reports in the journal Nature.
Joint press release by the German Cancer Research Center, University Medicine Mannheim, Heidelberg University Hospital, and the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) Heidelberg

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No. 16c | 19. March 2021 | by Koh

New single-cell analysis of leucemic stem cells

The bone marrow harbors both healthy blood stem cells and leukemia stem cel...
© Adobe Stock

A new method allows stem cells and cancer stem cells to be studied at the single cell level and the resulting cell clones to be traced directly. The method was developed by scientists from the Stem Cell Institute HI-STEM*, the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and the Center for Genome Regulation in Barcelona. Studying thousands of individual cells in parallel, the researchers combined the analysis of the genomic cancer mutations with the associated expression profiles.

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No. 16 | 15. March 2021 | by Koh

How novel pathogens may cause the development of colorectal cancer

Immunofluorescence staining of peritumor colon mucosa of a colorectal cance...
© T. Bund/DKFZ

Do BMMFs, the novel infectious agents found in dairy products and bovine sera, play a role in the development of colorectal cancer? Scientists led by Harald zur Hausen detected the pathogens in colorectal cancer patients in close proximity to tumors. The researchers show that the BMMFs trigger local chronic inflammation, which can cause mutations via activated oxygen molecules and thus promote cancer development in the long term. BMMFs and inflammatory markers were significantly more frequently detectable in the vicinity of malignant intestinal tumors than in the intestinal tissue of tumor-free individuals.

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No. 14 | 04. March 2021 | by Koh

Induced pluripotent stem cells reveal causes of disease

Using single-cell analyses, researchers from DKFZ and EMBL systematically s...
© Tobias Wüstefeld / EMBL

Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) are suitable for discovering the genes that underly complex and also rare genetic diseases. Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), together with international partners, have studied genotype-phenotype relationships in iPSCs using data from approximately one thousand donors.

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No. 09c | 24. February 2021 | by Koh

Supposedly "silent" mutation with serious consequences

In clear-cell renal cancer, researchers from DKTK Essen found a silent muta...
© Wikipedia

So-called silent mutations have no effect on the composition of a protein. They are therefore not considered to promote cancer. However, scientists from the German Consortium for Translational Cancer Research (DKTK), partner site Essen, now describe in a case of kidney cancer an overlooked silent mutation with a major impact on prognosis.
In the DKTK, the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg, as the core center, joins forces in the long term with university partner sites in Germany that have a special reputation in oncology.

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No. 08c | 23. February 2021 | by Koh

PSMA-binding agents: versatile against prostate cancer

STED microscopy can be used to study the distribution and accumulation of P...
© Ann-Christin Eder, DKTK and Jessica Matthias, MPI

PSMA-binding agents specifically dock onto prostate cancer cells. Coupled to diagnostic or therapeutic radionuclides, they can improve the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer. Scientists from the DKTK partner site in Freiburg, together with scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, have now used STED microscopy to investigate for the first time how these substances are taken up by the cell and distributed intracellularly. In addition, a first clinical application showed that hybrid PSMA-binding agents containing both a diagnostic radionuclide and a fluorescent dye are suitable for visualizing prostate cancer both before and during surgery.
In the DKTK, the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg, as the core center, joins forces in the long term with university partner sites in Germany that have a special reputation for oncology.

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No. 07 | 11. February 2021 | by Koh

Vitamin D supplementation: possible gain in life years plus cost savings

© Adobe Stock

In recent years, three meta-analyses of clinical studies have come to the conclusion that vitamin D supplementation was associated with a reduction in the mortality rate from cancer of around 13 percent. Scientists at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) have now transferred these results to the situation in Germany and calculated: If all Germans over the age of 50 were to take vitamin D supplements, up to 30,000 cancer deaths per year could possibly be avoided and more than 300,000 years of life could be gained - in addition, health care costs could be saved.

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No. 03c | 27. January 2021 | by Koh

How blood stem cells maintain their lifelong potential for self-renewal

Their self-renewal potential is the prerequisite for blood stem cells to pr...
© Adobe Stock

A characteristic feature of all stem cells is their ability to self-renew. But how is this potential maintained throughout life? Scientists at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and the Heidelberg Institute for Stem Cell Technology and Experimental Medicine* (HI-STEM) have now discovered in mice that cells in the so-called "stem cell niche" are responsible for this: Blood vessel cells of the niche produce a factor that stimulates blood stem cells and thus maintains their self-renewal capacity. With the decades of life, the production of this factor ceases and blood stem cells begin to age.

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