Press Releases

No. 31c3 | 08. June 2021

Collaborative Research Center on the Wnt signaling pathway enters second funding period

© N. Rindtorff J. Betge DKFZ, UMM

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) is funding the Collaborative Research Center "Mechanisms and Functions of the Wnt Signaling Pathway" (SFB 1324), founded in 2017, for another four years with approximately 11.5 million euros. The SFB researchers are investigating the network of Wnt signaling proteins, the misregulation of which can result in serious diseases such as cancer.

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No. 30c | 26. May 2021 | by Koh

High-resolution molecular map of endothelial cells identifies new mechanisms of liver regeneration

Immunofluorescence staining capillaries in the liver with two spatially dif...
© Augustin, DKFZ

Blood vessels control the function of organs. Vessel-lining endothelial cells perform important control and safeguarding functions. Yet, the underlying molecular mechanisms are hitherto poorly understood. Scientists at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and at the European Center for Angioscience (ECAS) at Heidelberg University have now succeeded for the first time in generating a high-resolution, multidimensional map of gene and protein expression of endothelial cells in the liver. This allows precise insights into the mechanistic understanding of liver function and the control of liver regeneration.

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No. 29 | 25. May 2021 | by Koh

How “paralyzed” immune cells can be reactivated against brain tumors

Microglia and macrophages migrate into a brain tumor and are reprogrammed d...
© Mirco Friedrich / DKFZ

Brain tumor cells with a certain common mutation reprogram invading immune cells. This leads to the paralysis of the body's immune defense against the tumor in the brain. Researchers from Heidelberg, Mannheim, and Freiburg discovered this mechanism and at the same time identified a way of reactivating the paralyzed immune system to fight the tumor. These results confirm that therapeutic vaccines or immunotherapies are more effective against brain tumors if active substances are simultaneously used to promote the suppressed immune system.
Joint press release by the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg University Hospital, Freiburg University Hospital, and University Medicine Mannheim

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No. 28 | 20. May 2021 | by Koh

Immune cells promote proinflammatory fatty liver disease

Immunofluorescence analysis of a NASH-affected human liver. DC1 cells (stai...
© Heikenwälder / DKFZ

A particular type of dendritic cell is responsible for the tissue damage that occurs in non-alcoholic steatohepatits (NASH) in mice and humans. The dendritic cells cause aggressive, proinflammatory behavior in T cells, as now discovered by researchers from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in collaboration with colleagues from Israeli research institutes. Blocking these dendritic cells alleviates symptoms in mice. This type of approach might also prevent the development of serious liver damage in NASH patients.

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No. 27 | 17. May 2021 | by Koh

Mahak Singhal awarded the Helmholtz Doctoral Prize 2020

© Anspach / DKFZ

How do tumor cells manage to spread through the body via the blood and lymph vessels? Mahak Singhal made outstanding discoveries on this topic in his doctoral thesis at the German Cancer Research Center. The aim of his work was to identify new ways of reducing tumor metastasis. In recognition of this excellent achievement, the Helmholtz Association has awarded him the Doctoral Prize 2020 in the field of health.

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No. 23 | 14. April 2021 | by Koh

Engineering T cells for cancer therapy efficiently and safely

© Eichmüller/DKFZ

Genetically enhancing a patient's immune cells by adding therapeutic genes to them outside the body is regarded as a promising new treatment approach in oncology. However, the production of these therapeutic cells using viruses is not only expensive but time-consuming. Researchers at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) have developed an innovative non-viral vector that can efficiently introduce therapeutic genes into immune cells. At the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) Heidelberg, therapeutic T cells produced with the novel vector were able to target and fight cancer more efficiently than conventionally produced cellular therapies.

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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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