Press Releases

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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No. 19 | 21. March 2019 | by Koh

The evolution of brain tumors

The evolution of a glioblastoma schematically illustrated

Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center found in a recent study that only three different genetic alterations drive the early development of malignant glioblastomas. At least one of these three cancer drivers was present in all tumors investigated. However, it is the activation of telomerase that leads to rapid growth. The tumors develop for up to seven years before they become noticeable as symptoms and are diagnosed. However, in contrast to their early development, glioblastomas, which return after therapy, share virtually no concurrent genetic alterations.

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No. 18 | 14. March 2019 | by Eck

From mirror-image biology to enhanced therapeutic proteins

Hands - a prime example of mirror-image biology
© Adobe Stock

Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) have succeeded in reconstructing biomolecules in their mirror-image form. The researchers' goal is to create a mirror-image artificial protein synthesis system. Their aim is to produce mirror-image therapeutic proteins, such as antibodies, which would be protected from biological breakdown in the body and do not provoke any immune response.

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No. 16 | 04. March 2019 | by Eck

Protein content as a marker for response to therapy in brain cancer

On the left the conventional morphological contrast enhanced imaging of a b...
© D. Paech/DKFZ

Brain tumors vary widely in how they respond to treatment. However, early assessment of therapy response is essential in order to choose the best possible treatment for the patient. Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) have now been able to show in a study using non-invasive high-resolution 7-Tesla MRI scans that the protein content of tumors correlates with response to treatment and survival.

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No. 14 | 28. February 2019 | by Koh

Inflammation signals induce dormancy in aging brain stem cells

Aging brain stem cells also sleep, as a reaction to inflammatory signals f...
© Adobe Stock

In old age, the amount of stem cells in the brains of mice decreases drastically. The remaining ones protect themselves from completely vanishing by entering a state of dormancy, scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) have now reported in "CELL". The old stem cells are hard to awaken, but once reactivated, they are just as potent as young ones. Their dormancy is promoted by inflammatory signals from the stem cells' environment. Anti-inflammatory substances may therefore be a key to awakening the stem cells and stimulating repair processes in the brain in old age.

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No. 11 | 21. February 2019 | by AM

Colon cancer: Different Wnt signaling pathways lead colon cells astray

The image shows a human colon polyp with immunohistochemistry staining for ...
© Henner Farin

Signaling molecules in the Wnt family are some of the most essential messengers for continuous regeneration of our stressed colon mucosa. At the same time, "too much" Wnt is a frequent trigger for colon cancer. Wnt is therefore regarded as an important biomarker and treatment target. The cellular response triggered by Wnt can indicate positive or negative disease progression in colon cancer patients. Scientists from the German Cancer Consortium (DKTK) and Goethe University Frankfurt working at Georg Speyer House demonstrated this in a recent study.
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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