Cancer

  • “Personalized Tumor Therapy” at Fraunhofer ITEM – project group will become an institute division

    Isolation of a single disseminated cancer cell by micromanipulation. Knowledge about the characteristics of such a single cell provides the basis for development of more effective systemic therapies. Photo: Ralf Mohr; Fraunhofer ITEM

    (Hannover, Germany) The Fraunhofer Project Group for Personalized Tumor Therapy will become a division of the Fraunhofer Institute for Toxicology and Experimental Medicine ITEM in Hannover as of January 2017 and will thus be included in the financing model of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. The project group was founded in December 2010 as a research collaboration between the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the Land of Bavaria, and the University of Regensburg. During the past five years, the team of scientists in Regensburg has been organizationally attached to the Fraunhofer ITEM in Hannover, funded by the Bavarian government.

  • 3D Images of Cancer Cells in the Body: Medical Physicists from Halle Present new Method

    A picture of a tumor (green) generated with the newly developed technique. Jan Laufer

    Making tumour cells glow: Medical physicists at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) have developed a new method that can generate detailed three-dimensional images of the body's interior. This can be used to more closely investigate the development of cancer cells in the body. The research group presents its findings in "Communication Physics", a journal published by the Nature Publishing Group.

  • A CLOUD of possibilities: Finding new therapies by combining drugs

    Immunofluorescence analysis of prostate cancer cells treated with 15mM flutamide, 35 µM PPC or the combination for 24 h. Scale Bar 20 µM  © Nature Chemical Biology / Stefan Kubicek

    The CeMM Library of Unique Drugs (CLOUD) is the first condensed set of FDA-approved drugs representing the entire target and chemical space of all clinical compounds. Its potential was shown in a combinatorial high throughput screen at the CeMM chemical screening platform, published in Nature Chemical Biology: by testing all CLOUD compounds in combination with each other, a pair of hitherto unrelated drugs proved to be highly effective against multiple prostate cancer cell lines known for their resistance to therapy. Testing CLOUD combinations in this highly automated procedure could pave the way for a new era of drug repurposing and provide novel strategies for personalized medicine.

  • Antibodies as ‘messengers’ in the nervous system

    A Ganglion in the human intestine, which shows nerval activity after giving the anti-HuD-serum. The activity is red.  (Fig.: Schemann, Michel/ TUM)

    Antibodies are able to activate human nerve cells within milliseconds and hence modify their function — that is the surprising conclusion of a study carried out at Human Biology at the Technical University of Munich (TUM). This knowledge improves our understanding of illnesses that accompany certain types of cancer, above all severe intestinal malfunctions.

  • Basel researchers identify drug against the formation of metastasis

    The image represents an artistic coloration of a cluster of circulating tumor cells (CTCs), isolated from the blood of a patient with breast cancer, trapped on a microfluidic device. © M Oeggerli / Micronaut 2018, supported by Pathology-, C-CINA / Biozentrum-, and I Krol, and N Aceto, Faculty of Medicine-, University Hospital and University Basel.

    The most deadly aspect of breast cancer is metastasis. It spreads cancer cells throughout the body. Researchers at the University and the University Hospital of Basel have now discovered a substance that suppresses the formation of metastases. In the journal Cell, the team of molecular biologists, computational biologists, and clinicians reports on their interdisciplinary approach. The development of metastasis is responsible for more than 90% of cancer-related deaths, and patients with a metastatic disease are considered incurable.

  • Blood pressure medication paves the way for approaches to managing Barrett's syndrome

    Svein Olav Bratlie

    New ways of using mechanisms behind certain blood pressure medications may in the future spare some patient groups both discomfort and lifelong concern over cancer of the esophagus. This, in any case, is the goal of several studies of patients with Barrett's syndrome at Sahlgrenska Academy. “If we could filter out those who are not at greater risk, it would represent huge gains for both patients and health care providers,” says Svein Olav Bratlie, a researcher in gastro surgery and clinician at Sahlgrenska University Hospital. It is estimated that between one and two percent of the Swedish population has Barrett's syndrome, a condition in which the membrane in the lower part of the esophagus becomes more like that of the intestine and more acid-resistant. Barrett's syndrome is preceded by the common reflux affliction that involves long-term leakage of stomach acid up into the esophagus.

  • Comprehensive Atlas of Immune Cells in Renal Cancer

    Fluorescent imaging of a tumor section identifies different types of macrophages (green) and T cells (blue) present in the microenvironment of kidney cancer. (image: Karina Silina, UZH)

    Researchers from the University of Zurich have individually analyzed millions of immune cells in tumor samples from patients with renal cell carcinoma. They are now presenting an immunological atlas of the tumor environment for the first time, leading to possible further developments of immunotherapies.

    Renal cell carcinoma is one of the most frequent and deadly urogenital cancers. Even if the tumors are treated, they ultimately end in metastasis in about half of the patients. 90 percent of these patients die within five years. Thanks to new kinds of immunotherapies, the outlook of this patient group has improved, but the treatment only works for a minority of patients.

  • Designer Viruses Stimulate the Immune System to Fight Cancer

    This is a view of a modified lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV). © UNIGE / Doron Merkler

    Swiss scientists have created artificial viruses that can be used to target cancer. These designer viruses alert the immune system and cause it to send killer cells to help fight the tumor. The results, published in the journal Nature Communications, provide a basis for innovative cancer treatments.

    Most cancer cells only provoke a limited reaction from the immune system – the body’s defense mechanism – and can thus grow without appreciable resistance. By contrast, viral infections cause the body to release alarm signals, stimulating the immune system to use all available means to fight the invader.

  • Developing tailor-made nanoparticles to fight cancer

    It is only by separating the two phases - particle formation (nucleation) and particle growth - in the different regions of the water bath, that researchers are able to precisely determine the size of the particles. Copyright: Mady Elbahri

    Electronic devices, coatings or biomedical therapeutics – nanoparticles, smaller than a human hair, can have very different properties and thus broad application options. The respective function depends primarily on the size of the particles. An interdisciplinary research group, including members of the priority research area "Kiel Nano, Surface and Interface Science" and the Cluster of Excellence "Inflammation at Interfaces" at Kiel University (CAU), has developed a method to produce size-tailored particles of zinc peroxide. This allows targeted modification of their properties, such as the destruction of cancer cells.

  • DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

    A complex tag for DNA-repair: 3D cartoon showing the linkage of ADP-ribose to the amino acid serine in a protein (turquoise). Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing

    Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins” to the damaged parts within the DNA. To do this, an elaborate protein language has evolved. Now scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing have discovered the way a new letter of this alphabet is used in cells. This novel protein modification, called serine ADP-ribosylation, has been overlooked by scientists for decades. This finding reveals how important discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”. Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”.

  • Dogs Help in Breast Carcinoma Research

    Dogs suffering from mammary tumors aid breat cancer research for humans. Michelle Aimée Oesch, University of Zurich

    Cancer of the mammary glands in dogs is very similar to human breast carcinoma. For this reason, treatment methods from human medicine are often used for dogs. Conversely, scientific knowledge gained from canine mammary tumors may also be important to human medicine. Researchers from the University of Zurich were able to show how similar these tumors are in both dogs and humans. Cancer is one of the most frequent diseases not only in people, but in pets as well. Like people, dogs can also suffer from cancer of the mammary glands (mammary tumors). Dog mammary tumors are very similar to breast carcinoma in humans, and much more so than those of rats or mice, for example. For this reason, research on canine mammary tumors is important for human medicine as well. A study performed at the University of Zurich has now shown how similar mammary tumors are in both people and dogs.

  • Domino effect in pharmaceutical synthesis

    Domino effect in pharmaceutical synthesis. © Photo: Svetlana B. Tsogoeva, FAU

    Chemists at Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) headed by Prof. Dr. Svetlana B. Tsogoeva at the Chair of Organic Chemistry have made research into pharmaceutical ingredient synthesis more efficient, more sustainable and more environmentally friendly. They have developed a novel synthetic route towards antiviral quinazoline heterocycles that have not been described previously in professional literature. The results of their work have recently been published in the renowned journal Nature Communications.

  • Easier Diagnosis of Esophageal Cancer

    New imaging technologies allow earlier diagnosis of tumors. Source: Murad Omar/Helmholtz Zentrum München

    The Institute of Biological and Medical Imaging at Helmholtz Zentrum München is heading the ”Hybrid optical and optoacoustic endoscope for esophageal tracking” (ESOTRAC) research project, in which engineers and physicians together develop a novel hybrid endoscopic instrument for early diagnosis and staging of esophageal cancer. The device may reduce the number of unnecessary biopsies and, importantly, facilitate early-disease detection leading to earlier start of therapy, which improves therapeutic efficacy over late-disease treatment and leads to immense cost-savings. ESOTRAC has been awarded four million Euros from Horizon 2020, the EU framework program for research and innovation.

  • Extensive Funding for Research on Chromatin, Adrenal Gland, and Cancer Therapy

    Source: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)

    At the end of May, the Joint Committee of the German Research Foundation (DFG) decided on the funding for Collaborative Research Centers (Sonderforschungsbereiche, SFBs). The Helmholtz Zentrum München is participating in three of the selected projects. A total of around 5.3 million euros will be distributed to the participating institutes over a period of four years starting on July 1.

    The funding allows close transregional cooperation among universities and their researchers as well as networking and shared use of the resources. The DFG has a total of just under 600 million euros available in its annual budget for CRC/TRR projects. The DFG will consequently be funding a total of 267 Collaborative Research Centres starting in July 2017.

  • Faster from the Laboratory to the Patient

    Partners of the POC-Iniative.

    In the development of new medications and medical engineering, there is a gap between the discovery of new potential active ingredients and products and their further development into medicinal products and medical devices by the industry. The Helmholtz Association and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, together with the Deutsche Hochschulmedizin, have now jointly brought the Proof-of-Concept initiative into being. It promotes the translation of innovative, promising research projects.

  • Flexible New Method for Early Cancer Diagnosis

    Göran Landberg. Photo: Johan Wingborg

    Earlier discovery of cancer and greater precision in the treatment process are the objectives of a new method developed by researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy and Boston University. Investments are now being made to roll out this innovation across healthcare and broaden the scope of the research in this field.

    “We can screen at-risk patient groups, and we also plan to spot the cancer patients who are relapsing so that we can adapt their treatment,” says Anders Ståhlberg, docent in molecular medicine and corresponding author for two articles about the method.
    The technique was created based on the fact that people with cancer also have DNA from tumor cells circulating in the blood, molecules that can be discovered in a regular blood sample long before the tumor is visible via imaging such as tomography, MRI, X-ray and ultrasound.

  • How cancer cells flood the lung

    Cells isolated from a malignant pleural effusion. Mutation of KRAS was identified in the tumor cell clone (bottom right). Source: Helmholtz Zentrum München

    Lung cancer patients are particularly susceptible to malignant pleural effusion, when fluid collects in the space between the lungs and the chest wall. Researchers at the Helmholtz Zentrum München, in partnership with the German Center for Lung Research (DZL), have discovered a novel mechanism that causes this to happen. Their study, published in ‘Nature Communications’, also shows that various active substances could potentially be used to treat this condition.

  • Improved accuracy when testing cancer drugs

    Berglind Osk Einarsdottir. Photo: Cecilia Hedström

    A method to more accurately test anti-cancer drugs has now been developed at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg. The method paves the way to much earlier assessment of who benefits from a specific drug and who does not.

    “It is common for cancer patients to be prescribed drugs that fail to help them, often with side effects. But, we have shown that this method can be used as early as in the drug development phase to determine which patient groups will benefit from the drug,” says Berglind Osk Einarsdottir, a researcher at Sahlgrenska Cancer Center.

  • Leukemia: How Cancer Stem Cells Suppress a Danger Detector

    Natural killer cells (red) attack normal leukemia cells (green) but not leukemia stem cells (blue). Image: University of Basel, Department of Biomedicine, Christoph Schürch

    Acute myeloid leukemia stem cells elude the body’s immune cells by deactivating a danger detector. The underlying mechanisms and the potential new therapeutic approaches that this gives rise to have been detailed in the journal Nature by researchers from the University of Basel and University Hospital Basel in collaboration with colleagues in Germany.

  • Metabolism drives growth and division of cancer cells

    Richard Moriggl and his team identified activation of the leukemia factor STAT5 being connected to the modified metabolism of cancer cells. Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft

    Already the Nobel Prize laureate Otto H. Warburg observed in the 1920s that tumor cells radically change their metabolism. This process was termed "Warburg Effect", however neglected until recently by cancer research, but the latest results show it is indeed of fundamental importance for the development of aggressive tumors. Richard Moriggl and co-workers now published in the journal Leukemia how the tumor promoter STAT5 integrates metabolic signals that contribute to oncogenic transformation. Researchers from the VetmeduniVienna, Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Cancer Research and Meduni Wien may have thus identified a new target to tackle cancer.