Press Releases

No. 35 | 17. July 2019 | by Koh

Making cancer stem cells visible to the immune system - New results may enable innovative treatment concept against leukemia

NK cells (red) attack normal leukemia cells (green). Leukemia stem cells (b...
© Schürch/Lengerke, University and University Hospital of Basel

Leukemia stem cells protect themselves against the immune defense by suppressing a target molecule for killer cells. This protective mechanism can be tricked with drugs. In the journal "Nature", scientists from Basel, Tübingen and Heidelberg describe the new therapeutic approaches that can possibly be derived from these results.
Joint press release of the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), the German Cancer Consortium (DKTK), and the University Hospital Tübingen

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No. 33 | 11. July 2019 | by Koh

Enzyme responsible for dangerous properties of brain tumor stem cells

GPD1-positive cells (red) express protein Sox2 (green) and are located at t...

The relapse of brain tumors after therapy is driven by cancer stem cells that were not affected by the treatment. In mouse models of glioblastoma, scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) were now looking for molecular markers that specifically characterize brain tumor stem cells. They identified an enzyme that is responsible for the threatening stem cell properties of glioblastoma and at the same time represents a possible "Achilles heel" where cancer stem cells could be vulnerable.

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No. 32 | 10. July 2019 | by Koh

“Highly cited” - Nine DKFZ researchers in the top class


Scientists whose work is being cited very often by peers are regarded as exceptionally acknowledged and influential in their fields. Therefore, citation counts are a common benchmark for assessing the scientific performance of individual researchers. For 2018, nine scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) reached a top place in this assessment: They rank in the top 1% of the world's highly cited researchers for their field.

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No. 30 | 24. June 2019 | by Koh

Lung cancer screening: Women benefit significantly

© Wikimedia Commons

Is computed tomography suitable for detecting lung cancer at a very early stage and thus still well treatable? Scientists at the German Cancer Research Center have investigated this with the LUSI study started in 2007. The results of the study, which is funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and the Dietmar Hopp Foundation, are now available: Taken together, the screening slightly but not significantly reduced lung cancer mortality in both sexes. In contrast, the researchers observed a significant 69 percent reduction in relative risk among women. The results confirm comparable European studies which, taken together, provide strong arguments for the introduction of systematic lung cancer screening for high-risk groups.

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No. 28c2 | 12. June 2019 | by Koh

Not silent at all

The mutation at position 30 of the KRAS oncogene leads to a completely alte...
© Diederichs/DKFZ

The so-called "silent" or "synonymous" genetic alterations do not result in altered proteins. But they can nevertheless influence numerous functions of the cell and thus also disease processes. Scientists from the German Cancer Consortium, German Cancer Research Center, and the University of Freiburg have now created a comprehensive database of all synonymous mutations ever found in cancer. This is a "reference book" that provides cancer researchers with all available information on each of these supposedly "silent" mutations at a glance. Using the example of an important oncogene, the researchers show how synonymous mutations can influence the function of this cancer driver.

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No. 24 | 16. May 2019 | by Koh

Cancer drugs promote stem cell properties of colorectal cancer

Three-dimensional organoids ("mini tumors") can be grown in the culture dis...

Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) and the Mannheim University Medical Center have now discovered that a certain group of cancer drugs (MEK Inhibitors) activates the cancer-promoting Wnt signalling pathway in colorectal cancer cells. This can lead to the accumulation of tumor cells with stem cell characteristics that are resistant to many therapies and can lead to relapses. The researchers thus provide a possible explanation for why these drugs are not effective in colorectal cancer.

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No. 23 | 13. May 2019 | by MM/Koh

Fatty acid metabolism as a possible new therapeutic approach for glioblastomas

Tissue sample from a mouse brain showing a tumor generated from human gliob...
© J. Alfonso/DKFZ

In order to gain enough energy for their rapid growth, glioblastoma cells reprogram their fatty acid metabolism. How they do this has been unclear until now. Researchers at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg have now discovered that a protein called ACBP (acyl-CoA-binding protein) enhances the transport of fatty acids into the mitochondria. This provides glioblastoma cells with the necessary energy source for their rapid growth. This discovery is not only scientifically relevant, but may also offer new therapeutic approaches for an aggressive tumor with a poor prognosis.

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No. 22 | 29. April 2019 | by AM

Fighting colon cancer with killer cells

Killer cells attack: CAR-NK cells (violet), directed against a cancer speci...
© Henner Farin/Georg-Speyer Haus

Genetically modified immune cells can successfully destroy colon cancer cells. This has been demonstrated for the first time by scientists from the German Cancer Consortium (DKTK) at Georg Speyer House in Frankfurt using mini-tumors produced in the lab. They are making use of a new approach in cancer immunotherapy: genetically modified natural killer cells. Using patient-specific tumor cultures, scientists can now run tests in the lab to see how effective the killer cells will be in individual patients.
The DKTK is a consortium centered around the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg, which has long-term collaborative partnerships with specialist oncological centers at universities across Germany.

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No. 21 | 03. April 2019 | by Koh

Artificial intelligence helps to better assess treatment response of brain tumors

MRI scans during the course of the disease in a patient with glioblastoma
© P. Kickingereder / Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg

A team from Heidelberg University Hospital and the German Cancer Research Centre has developed a new method for the automated image analysis of brain tumors. In their recent publication, the authors show that machine learning methods carefully trained on standard magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are more reliable and precise than established radiological methods in the treatment of brain tumors. Thus, they make a valuable contribution to the individualized treatment of tumors. In addition, the validated method is an important first step towards the automated high-throughput analysis of medical image data of brain tumors.
Joint press release of the German Cancer Research Center and the University Hospital Heidelberg

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No. 20 | 01. April 2019 | by Rei

Blocking platelets: A possible option to prevent fatty liver disease and liver cancer

Mouse liver with non-alcoholic-steatohepatitis (NASH), platelets are staine...
© M. Heikenwälder/DKFZ

Blood platelets which interact with liver cells and immune cells play a major role in the development of fatty liver disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver inflammation and liver cancer, scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg and from Zurich University and University Hospital have now shown in a publication. The researchers have also worked out new approaches for using drugs to keep the development of fatty liver disease in check, thus preventing liver cancer in the long term.

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