Novel technology for hollow organ tumour therapy offers relief for millions of patients worldwide
Almost every fourth person who dies of cancer has a hollow organ tumour, for example in the bile duct or in the oesophagus. Such a tumour cannot usually be removed surgically. It is only possible to open the hollow organ for a short time using a stent, i.e. a tube-shaped prosthesis. However, the tumour grows back and penetrates the hollow organ through the stent. Ioana Slabu from the Institute of Applied Medical Technology and Benedict Bauer from the Institut für Textiltechnik of RWTH Aachen University have now developed a novel technology for the therapy of hollow organ tumours, which was awarded second place in the RWTH Innovation Award.
Researchers discover a way to fight the aging process and cancer development
Damage in the human genome can be repaired. But this works better in germ cells, sperm and eggs, than in normal body cells. Responsible for this is the DREAM protein complex, which prevents the activation of all available repair mechanisms. A research team at the University of Cologne has now shown that normal body cells can also be repaired better once this complex has been deactivated. In the long run, the scientists hope to develop better therapies to prevent cancer and aging-associated diseases. They describe their results in ‘Nature Structural & Molecular Biology’
Klara – A transparent fish for research on aging
For in vivo studies of internal processes in an organism, body pigmentation is a considerable limitation. To circumvent this, various transparent fish models have already been generated, and are used in cancer research, among other things. In research on aging, however, these fish are rarely being used due to their relatively long lifespan of up to five years. Researchers at the Leibniz Institute on Aging – Fritz Lipmann Institute (FLI) in Jena have now succeeded, with the help of the CRISPR/Cas9 technology, in generating a transparent killifish (N. furzeri) called “klara”, which, with a maximum lifespan of only one year, is ideal for in vivo studies of age-related processes.
New potential therapeutic approach for HER2-positive breast cancer discovered
Resistance to HER2-targeted therapies can be a problem when treating patients with HER2-positive (HER2+) breast cancer. Therefore, the identification of new therapies for this patient group is important. Researchers at the Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environments and Human Factors in Dortmund (IfADo) have already shown that the enzyme EDI3 is associated with changes in the metabolism of cancer cells. Their most recent results reveal that inhibiting EDI3 may be a new therapeutic target in patients with therapy-resistant ER-HER2+ breast cancer.
How a metabolite causes inflammation and disease
The accumulation of the metabolite fumarate in the mitochondrion, the powerhouse of a cell, can cause inflammation associated with diseases such as cancer and autoimmune diseases / Publication in Nature
RIANA: Viennese start-up develops novel, precise anti-cancer drugs
RIANA Therapeutics, a promising pharmaceutical start-up recently spun out of the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna (Vetmeduni), aims to develop novel therapeutics for cancer patients based in part on scientific findings from Vetmeduni’s Moriggl research group (Moriggl Lab). The technological basis is a proprietary platform technology for the discovery of drugs that target cancer-causing protein-protein interactions (PPIs).
New insights into the genetic basis of leukemia
Kiel research team discovers links between certain gene mutation and the spatial structure of DNA in blood cancer at an advanced age
Protein Spheres Protect the Genome of Cancer Cells
Hollow spheres made of MYC proteins open new doors in cancer research. Würzburg scientists have discovered them and report about this breakthrough in the journal „Nature“.
Colon cancer: Dying cancer cells give neighbouring tumour cells instructions on how to survive
Researchers at Georg-Speyer-Haus and Goethe University Frankfurt have discovered a new mechanism that explains why only some of the cells in a colon tumour respond to chemotherapy. The research team led by Professor Florian Greten was able to establish that tumour cells dying off during chemotherapy communicate one last time with neighbouring tumour cells to give them instructions on how to resist the therapy. The dying cells re-programme the signalling cascades in the neighbouring tumour cells in such a way that these are no longer vulnerable to chemotherapy. By doing so, the dying cells literally ensure that the tumour survives.
New factor in the development of hereditary kidney cancer discovered
Scientists have identified the loss of the protein HIRA (histone cell cycle regulator) as a possible driving factor in a highly metastatic form of kidney cancer / study in ‘Science Advances’ opens up new perspectives for targeted therapies
Analysis of genetic changes in rare cancers enables early detection of hereditary cancer risk
Joint press release by the NCT/UCC Dresden and the NCT Heidelberg
The NCT is a cross-site cooperation between the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and the Heidelberg University Hospital (UKHD) in Heidelberg, as well as the DKFZ, the University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus Dresden, the Carl Gustav Carus Faculty of Medicine at TU Dresden and the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) in Dresden.
Hereditary genetic mutations play an important role in oncogenesis, but they usually remain undetected.
Benefit of risk-based breast cancer screening is still unclear
The Austrian Institute for Health Technology Assessment (AIHTA) has analysed whether risk-based breast cancer screening has advantages over the conventional age-based screening programme. The central result: the current prediction models cannot satisfactorily predict the individual breast cancer risk. Only large studies which are currently in progress will provide robust data on whether women can expect health advantages compared to conventional practice. „In any case, such a system needs extensive preparation. Simply assessing risk factors in women without thinking about further consequences has no benefit for women,“ emphasises Ingrid Zechmeister-Koss, deputy director of the AIHTA.
New insights into tumour biology: Cancer cells adopt hitherto unknown state to facilitate metastasis
The ancient Egyptians, as described in the Ebers Papyrus, already knew that palpation –feeling for hardened lumps – can help diagnose breast cancer. Palpation is still an important element in early screening for breast cancer. On the other hand, measurements on individual cancer cells show that they are softer than the healthy epithelial cells from which they stem, which probably makes them better able to metastasise in dense human tissue. An international collaborative project led by the Soft Matter Physics Division at Leipzig University got to the bottom of this apparent paradox and has now published its findings in the renowned journal Nature Physics.
Suffocating cancer cells: Self-assembling molecules could help in cancer therapy
Development of medical treatment against cancer is a major research topic worldwide – but cancer often manages to circumvent the solutions found. Scientists around Tanja Weil and David Ng at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P), have now taken a closer look at the cancer’s countermeasures and aim to stop them. By disrupting the cellular components that are responsible for converting oxygen into chemical energy, they have demonstrated initial success in eliminating cells derived from untreatable metastatic cancer.
Checklist for radical cystectomy in patients with SCI
Cancer is the third most common cause of death in people with spinal cord injury (SCI), with bladder cancer being the second most common cancer after lung cancer. It is not uncommon for bladder cancer in SCI patients to be discovered only as an advanced variant, muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC), which is a very aggressive form. In these cases, only a radical cystectomy, the removal of the urinary bladder including the lymph nodes in the pelvic cavity, offers a chance of cure. Since the surgery of SCI patients with bladder cancer is associated with an increased risk, a team of researchers has compiled a list of recommendations for action to minimise the risk.
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.
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.
Interplay of genes: The understudied transcription factor RFX7 has a central role in growth and cancer
Proteins that are frequently altered in tumors play a prominent role in cancer research. The protein RFX7, a largely unknown transcription factor, has recently been linked to lymph node cancer. Researchers at the Leibniz Institute on Aging – Fritz Lipmann Institute (FLI) in Jena have now partially elucidated the function of this protein. RFX7 acts as a tumor suppressor and counteracts the development of cancer. Once activated, it induces other tumor suppressors and inhibits important growth regulators. The reactivation of RFX7 could therefore be of substantial interest in future cancer studies.
T-cell immune response can control SARS-CoV-2 virus replication in immunocompromised patients
In a case study, scientists of the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF) and the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf investigated the T-cell response of a cancer patient, who was suffering from prolonged COVID-19. No B cells were detectable in the patient’s peripheral blood, entailing that she had no possibility of forming anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. SARS-CoV-2 virus particles were detectable in the patient for nearly three months after infection with the virus.
Study at University Medicine Halle points to success of immunotherapy in the treatment of advanced stomach cancer
A clinical trial conducted by researchers at University Medicine Halle has shown that the lives of patients with a certain form of stomach cancer can be significantly prolonged when the current standard of care, which uses a combination of antibody therapy and chemotherapy to inhibit cell growth through receptor blockades, is supplemented by immunotherapy with the drug nivolumab.
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.
New method revolutionizes cancer diagnosis
How does cancer arise? How does cellular composition influence tumor malignancy? These questions are profound and challenging to answer, but are crucial to understand the disease and find the right cure. Now, a German-Danish team led by Professor Matthias Mann has developed a ground-breaking technology called ‘Deep Visual Proteomics’. This method provides researchers and clinicians with a protein read-out to understand cancer at single cell-type resolution. The technology was published in the journal Nature Biotechnology and demonstrates its potential in a first application to cancer cells.
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.
Study reveals male sex hormones are new targets for cancer immunotherapy
A study examined the differences in intratumoral immune responses between male and female cancers of non-reproductive origin.
Spatial maps of melanoma
Melanoma is a somewhat unusual cancer — one that blooms before our very eyes, often on sun-exposed skin, and can quickly become deadly as it turns our own skin against us and spreads to other organs. Fortunately, when caught early, melanoma can often be cured by simple surgery, and there are now better treatments for advanced cases, including immunotherapies that prime a patient’s immune system to fight off the cancer. However, much remains unknown about melanoma, including the details of how it develops in the earliest stages, and how to best identify and treat the most dangerous early cases. Spatial maps of melanoma reveal how individual cells interact as cancer progresses.