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Press Releases

No. 37b | 23. June 2022 | by Koh

Cancer patients receiving immunotherapy: no evidence of increased risk for severe immune complication after COVID-19 vaccination

© Adobe Stock

Does COVID-19 vaccination increase the risk of cancer patients undergoing therapy with immune checkpoint inhibitors to suffer a dangerous immune complication known as a "cytokine release syndrome"? A team of Heidelberg physicians and scientists has now shown in a clinical study: Increased serum levels of the characteristic cytokines occur frequently in cancer patients, but clinically relevant cases of the dreaded syndrome were not observed. The result supports the current recommendation to vaccinate cancer patients against COVID-19, even under therapy with immune checkpoint inhibitors.

Joint press release from the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) Heidelberg, the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg University Hospital (UKHD), and the German Cancer Consortium (DKTK).

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No. 37 | 20. June 2022 | by Koh

Why vaccination against malaria quickly loses its protective effect

This false-colored electron micrograph shows a sporozoite of Plasmodium ber...
© Ute Frevert/Margaret Shear/Wikipedia

Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) studied the human immune response after immunization with the malaria pathogen Plasmodium falciparum. Their goal was to find out against which protein components the T helper cells induced in this way are directed. To the researchers' surprise, the T helper cells reacted exclusively to the protein sequence of the vaccine strain and showed hardly any cross-reactivity with the naturally occurring pathogen variants. This could explain why natural infections, to which people in endemic areas are constantly exposed, offer little protection against new diseases with other strains, and why the effect of the vaccination available to date lasts only a short time.

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No. 35 | 14. June 2022 | by EM

Gaps in short-term memory may be early signs of dementia

© Adobe Stock

Problems with short-term memory in middle age could be early signs of dementia later in life. This was found by scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg University and the Saarland Cancer Registry. The researchers investigated whether people aged 50 and older who reported difficulties with short-term memory were more likely to develop dementia later on.

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No. 32c | 01. June 2022 | by Koh

Impact of DNA mutations on lifelong blood cell production uncovered

© Karen Arnott/EMBL-EBI

Researchers discover how leukaemia-associated gene mutations steadily commandeer blood cell production over a lifetime, and how these changes relate to ageing and cancer development. The new study is published today in Nature.

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No. 31 | 19. May 2022 | by Koh

Günther Schütz Symposium: Remembering an outstanding scientist

Günther Schütz
© DKFZ/Schwerdt

With a scientific symposium, the German Cancer Research Center honors Günther Schütz, a great scientist and highly respected former colleague who died two years ago at the age of 80. Günther Schütz wrote textbook knowledge with his research. His former colleagues, scientific companions and family will commemorate an outstanding research personality with the symposium on May 19 and 20.

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No. 28c | 09. May 2022

How blood stem cells stay intact for a lifetime

A team of researchers from Heidelberg, Berlin and Harvard has now discovere...
© Adobe Stock

Stem cells in the bone marrow keep replenishing us with blood cells until the day we die. They do this by dividing into a daughter cell that becomes a blood cell, and a second cell that remains a stem cell. But every time a cell divides, mistakes can occur that change the cell's genome and increase the risk of it becoming a cancer cell. A team of researchers from Heidelberg Institute for Stem Cell Technology and Experimental Medicine (HI-STEM), the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Berlin Institute of Health at Charité, the Max-Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC and Harvard Medical School has now discovered an amazing mechanism that allows the body to protect itself from this risk.

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No. 27 | 28. April 2022 | by Moos

Tumors on withdrawal: Amino acid deficiency shrinks childhood tumors

The histologic section shows an accumulation of aggressive neuroblastoma ce...
© Westermann/DKFZ

Certain childhood tumors have an extreme need for amino acids. Scientists at the Hopp Children's Cancer Center Heidelberg (KiTZ), the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), the University of Heidelberg, and HI-STEM* gGmbH have now discovered the molecular mechanisms underlying this and how the cancer cells could be turned off.

The Hopp Children's Cancer Center Heidelberg (KiTZ) is a joint institution of the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg University Hospital (UKHD) and the University of Heidelberg (Uni HD).

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No. 26 | 26. April 2022 | by Koh

ERC Advanced Grant for Andreas Trumpp

Andreas Trumpp
© Anspach/DKFZ

With its "Advanced Grants", the European Research Council ERC supports visionary projects in basic research. This year, the Council awarded cancer researcher Andreas Trumpp, Division Head at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and Director of HI-STEM* gGmbH, with the prestigious research grant.

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No. 25 | 25. April 2022 | by Koh

Reprogrammed macrophages promote spread of breast cancer

Early lung metastasis in a mouse: arrows indicate metastatic breast cancer ...
© Oskarsson /HI-STEM and DKFZ

Metastatic breast cancer cells abuse macrophages, a type of immune cell, to promote the settlement of cancer metastases in the lungs. The reprogrammed macrophages stimulate blood vessel cells to secrete a cocktail of metastasis-promoting proteins that are part of the so-called metastatic niche. This was demonstrated by scientists from the German Cancer Research Center and the Stem Cell Institute HI-STEM* in mice that had been transplanted with human breast cancer cells. The work enabled the scientists to identify new targets and develop initial concepts to better restrain the metastatic spread of breast cancer.

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No. 24 | 22. April 2022 | by Moos

Modern cancer medicine for children in Jordan

Stefan Pfister, Director at KiTZ, is honoured by Princess Ghida Talal for h...
© King Hussein Cancer Foundation, KHCF

In the presence of the Jordanian princess and patron, Her Royal Highness Princess Ghida Talal, the King Hussein Cancer Center (KHCC) in Jordan, together with the Hopp Children's Cancer Center Heidelberg (KiTZ), opened its new unit for the molecular classification of brain tumors and connective tissue tumors. The establishment of the new procedure in Jordan is the result of KHCC's successful collaboration with scientists and physicians at KiTZ, Heidelberg University Hospital (UKHD), and the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), which initiated the collaboration in 2019. KHCC is considered the leading cancer center in the Middle East. The treatment of childhood cancer is an important focus there as Jordan has comparatively many young cancer patients.

The Hopp Children's Cancer Center Heidelberg (KiTZ) is a joint institution of the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg University Hospital (UKHD) and the University of Heidelberg (Uni HD).

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