Why do blood and lymphatic vessels grow unchecked? ERC Starting Grant for René Hägerling

Anomalies in the formation of blood and lymphatic vessels are, thankfully, rare. Those who do have them face a lifetime of complications that can range from the mild to the life-threatening. To date, little is known about the causes, which means the diagnostic and treatment options are very limited. René Hägerling of the BIH Center for Regenerative Therapies (BCRT) has made it his mission to remedy this. His good ideas have won the regard of the European Research Council (ERC), which has awarded Hägerling, who leads a junior research group, an ERC Starting Grant of €1.5 million over five years.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

The Influenza Virus and Its Influence on Blood Stem Cells and Coagulation

Virus-induced respiratory infections can become life-threatening. A team at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut, together with researchers in Heidelberg, have discovered that flu virus infection limited to the lungs also leads to the activation of blood stem cells and the increased formation of platelets. Platelets can cause thrombosis, as has been shown in severe cases of COVID-19. The messenger substances interleukin-1 and interleukin-6 are involved in the activation. Cell Reports chronicles the results in its online edition from 4 October 2022.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Type 1 diabetes: New findings on the development of the autoimmune disease in children

Study provides novel insights on dynamics of blood sugar levels and autoimmunity in early childhood: When and why does type 1 diabetes manifest in children? For the first time, researchers conducted a long-term study on infants and young children with increased genetic risk of type 1 diabetes. The results have now been published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. The authors provide a unique picture of the dynamics of blood sugar regulation during early childhood and its relationship to the development of autoimmunity.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Fitness program for blood stem cells – the TAZ protein protects from age-related loss of function

A well-functioning immune system is essential for protection against infections. However, with increasing age, the functioning of the immune system diminishes, which is also due to age-related damage in hematopoietic (blood) stem cells. Researchers at the Leibniz Institute on Aging – Fritz Lipmann Institute (FLI) in Jena, Germany, have now discovered how the co-activator of the Hippo signaling pathway, the TAZ protein, can protect hematopoietic stem cells from aging and thus prevent them from loss of function. Moreover, hematopoietic stem cells age very heterogeneously. In addition to old cells, one can also find “youthful” cells when the protective mechanism has worked effectively.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Study: Significant antiviral activity of the agent bulevirtide for the treatment of chronic hepatitis D virus infection

Between 10 and 20 million people worldwide are infected with hepatitis D virus (HDV). HDV infection is always associated with hepatitis B virus infection. So far there has been no satisfactory therapeutic option for this most severe form of chronic viral hepatitis. In a multicenter Phase II clinical trial, an international research team was now able to show that the 24-week application of the drug candidate bulevirtide, developed by DZIF virologist Prof. Stephan Urban, significantly reduced hepatitis D viral load in blood serum and liver. Treatment with the novel entry inhibitor therefore represents a promising strategy for patients with chronic HDV infection.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

The predictive power of blood: metabolomic profiling reveals risk of multiple diseases all at once

To prevent diseases from occurring in the first place, it is important to identify those individuals who are at particularly high risk as early as possible. Yet current screening methods are often costly and focus only on one disease at a time. Scientists from the Berlin Institute of Health at Charité (BIH), Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, and University College London profiled 168 metabolic markers in the blood samples of over 100,000 people and combined this data with their medical histories. With the help of artificial intelligence, they were able to predict the risk of onset of several diseases with just one test and show where early intervention could be beneficial.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

New Drug Candidate Developed to Treat Type 2 Diabetes

A team of researchers from Helmholtz Munich, the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD) and Novo Nordisk have developed a new hormone combination for the future treatment of type 2 diabetes. The scientists have combined the blood sugar-reducing effects of the drugs tesaglitazar and GLP-1 (Glucagon-like peptide-1) in a new and highly effective drug. The advantage is that, by combining Tesaglitazar with GLP-1, the Tesaglitazar only enters tissue that contains GLP-1 receptors. This reduces the adverse effects of tesaglitazar while increasing the effects on sugar metabolism. The new drug has already been successfully tested in animal studies. The findings were published in Nature Metabolism.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Immune system: First image of antigen-bound T-cell receptor at atomic resolution

T cells are our immune system’s customised tools for fighting infectious diseases and tumour cells. On their surface, these special white blood cells carry a receptor that recognises antigens. With the help of cryo-electron microscopy, biochemists and structural biologists from Goethe University Frankfurt, in collaboration the University of Oxford and the Max Planck Institute of Biophysics, were able to visualise the whole T-cell receptor complex with bound antigen at atomic resolution for the first time. Thereby they helped to understand a fundamental process which may pave the way for novel therapeutic approaches targeting severe diseases.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

When smooth muscle cells lack strength

University of Tübingen team discovers how malformations of the blood vessels can occur in mice – yielding information with possible ramifications for retinal disease

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Research grants endowed with €240,000 each

Scientists with a research focus on stem cell transplantation and cell therapy are invited to apply for the 2023 DKMS John Hansen Research Grant starting August 10, 2022. With this grant, the DKMS Stiftung Leben Spenden (Foundation for Giving Life) supports up to four outstanding research projects each year that aim to advance the medical progress and improve the chances of recovery for blood cancer patients. The requirements include a doctoral degree (PhD, MD or equivalent) that was obtained no longer than 10 years ago. The grants are endowed with €240,000 each, which will be paid out over a period of three years. The application deadline is December 2, 2022.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Leipzig Haematologists Research Rare Forms of Blood Cancer

Although there has been significant progress in the treatment of rare forms of blood cancer in recent years and new drugs have been approved in Germany, the prognosis for many affected individuals remains unfavourable. Research teams at Leipzig University’s Faculty of Medicine are working in several preclinical and translational projects to gain a better understanding of these diseases. The researchers are investigating how bone marrow cancer develops. In addition, they have found a new molecular functional mechanism and have shown that patients with even low amounts of leukaemia cells have a high risk of relapse. The results have been published in journals.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Vitamin K prevents cell death: a new function for a long-known molecule

A team of researchers located at Helmholtz Munich reports on a novel function of vitamin K, which is generally known for its importance in blood clotting. The researchers discovered that the fully reduced form of vitamin K acts as an antioxidant efficiently inhibiting ferroptotic cell death. Ferroptosis is a natural form of cell death in which cellular iron plays an important role and which is characterized by the oxidative destruction of cellular membranes. In addition, the team identified FSP1 as the warfarin-insensitive enzyme reducing vitamin K, the identity of which had been postulated but remained unknown for more than half a century.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

A roadmap for the future of hepatitis B therapy development

Worldwide, 880,000 people die each year as a result of infection with the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Antiviral drugs that can suppress replication of the virus are available. However, these must be taken for decades, as there is yet no curative therapy for chronic HBV infection available. Biomarkers—biological molecules in blood serum that can be used to monitor the course of chronic infection and the response of patients to new therapies—are needed to guide the development of these therapies and to assess their efficacy. Potential biomarkers have now been evaluated in a widely acclaimed review and a roadmap for their further development has been established.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

How blood vessels remember a stroke

Networks adapt over time and in this way form a kind of memory. This is the key finding of a new study by researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization in Göttingen and the Technical University of Munich. They show that the structure of blood vascular network is dynamic and can adapt to external factors. In particular, the scientists found that rarely used connections are weakening more and more until they disappear eventually.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Preprogrammed aging: gene-controlled growth in youth drives aging of blood stem cells in late life

Throughout one’s life, the blood is constantly being replenished from blood stem cells. However, these cells lose their functionality in old age. Researchers at the Leibniz Institute on Aging – Fritz Lipmann Institute (FLI) have now found a gene mechanism that is responsible for the aging of hematopoietic stem cells. The gene Igf2bp2 is important in youth for the full function of these cells, as it activates their growth and metabolism. When the gene is missing, however, the aging-associated loss of function of the stem cells is surprisingly diminished. The eventual aging of hematopoietic stem cells is apparently already preprogrammed by their gene-driven growth in youth.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Effective against an overactive immune system: Research team discovers body’s own anti-inflammatory substance

A team of scientists led by Professor Karsten Hiller from the Braunschweig Centre for Systems Biology BRICS has discovered an endogenous, anti-inflammatory substance: mesaconic acid. This molecule could be a drug candidate that can be further developed to treat shock resulting from blood poisoning and autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) – without the known side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs currently in use.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Precise blood diagnostics improve treatment outcome in non-small cell lung cancer patients

Non-small cell lung carcinoma is a particularly aggressive type of lung cancer. Tumor cells and tumor DNA (ctDNA) in the blood of patients with the disease can be analyzed by means of liquid biopsy throughout the course of the disease. This information is important in order to be able to target the constantly changing tumor. A study from the University of Bayreuth is the first to show that liquid biopsy significantly improves treatment outcomes in many cases and can be cost-effective in the German care system. The scientists present their research results in the Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

How blood stem cells stay intact for a lifetime

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.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Comprehensive map of human blood stem cell development

Scientists have created a new roadmap that traces each step in the development of blood stem cells in the human embryo, providing scientists with a blueprint for producing fully functional blood stem cells in the lab. The research could help expand treatment options for blood cancers like leukemia and inherited blood disorders such as sickle cell disease.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

Blood type may offer insights into risk of blood clot in people with cancer

A new study suggests that people with cancer and non-O blood types, such as types A, B, and AB, face an increased risk of developing venous thromboembolism (VTE), or blood clots in the veins, three months after their initial diagnosis. Scientists have long strived to understand the risk factors for VTE, the leading cause of preventable hospital deaths in the United States. Existing assessments use factors like tumor or cancer type to detect those at high risk of VTE. Yet, many patients without these diagnoses still develop life-threatening blood clots but go unidentified.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

Friend or foe? The immune system collaborates with blood cancer cells

An international study demonstrates that the body’s immune system attacks itself in a rare type of blood cancer. Consequently, treatment should be targeted at the immune system as well, not only the cancer cells.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

Gene deletion behind anomaly in blood cancer cells

Although clinical labs have known for almost a century that a oddly shaped nucleus resembling pince-nez glasses in blood cells could indicate leukemia, the cause of this anomaly remained unknown. Scientists have now discovered that loss of nuclear Lamin B1 induces defects in the nuclear morphology and in human hematopoietic [blood-forming] stem cells associated with malignancy. The scientists went on to detail that lamin B1 deficiency alters genome organization. This in turn causes expansion of blood-forming stem cells, a bias towards their becoming myeloids, genome instability due to defective DNA damage repair and other problems that set the stage for cancer.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

Gene deletion behind anomaly in blood cancer cells

Although clinical labs have known for almost a century that a oddly shaped nucleus resembling pince-nez glasses in blood cells could indicate leukemia, the cause of this anomaly remained unknown. Scientists have now discovered that loss of nuclear Lamin B1 induces defects in the nuclear morphology and in human hematopoietic [blood-forming] stem cells associated with malignancy. The scientists went on to detail that lamin B1 deficiency alters genome organization. This in turn causes expansion of blood-forming stem cells, a bias towards their becoming myeloids, genome instability due to defective DNA damage repair and other problems that set the stage for cancer.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

Study finds 10-second videos predict blood cancer relapse

Ten-second videos of white blood cell motion in the skin’s microvasculature greatly improved the prediction of which stem cell and bone marrow transplant patients would have a relapse of their blood cancer.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

New study reveals why HIV remains in human tissue even after antiretroviral therapy

Thanks to antiretroviral therapy, HIV infection is no longer the life sentence it once was. But despite the effectiveness of drugs to manage and treat the virus, it can never be fully eliminated from the human body, lingering in some cells deep in different human tissues where it goes unnoticed by the immune system. Now, new research by University of Alberta immunologist Shokrollah Elahi reveals a possible answer to the mystery of why infected people can’t get rid of HIV altogether. Elahi and his team found that in HIV patients, killer T cells — a type of white blood cells responsible for identifying and destroying cells infected with viruses — have very little to none of a protein called CD73. Because CD73 is responsible for migration and cell movement into the tissue, the lack of the protein compromises the ability of killer T cells to find and eliminate HIV-infected cells, explained Elahi.

Quelle: Sciencedaily