cancer treatment

Cancer treatment is a major area where nanotechnology is expected to play a big role in. The science and engineering of controlling matter, at the molecular scale, to create devices with novel chemical, physical and/or biological properties—has the potential to radically change how cancer is diagnosed and treated.

  • "Krebserzeugende Gefahrstoffe in der Arbeitswelt" Jahrestagung LIA

    Belastungen durch krebserzeugende Gefahrstoffe bei der Arbeit stellen nicht nur kleine und mittlere Betriebe vielfach noch vor Probleme. Nach wissenschaftlichen Schätzungen sind vermutlich fünf Prozent der jährlich knapp 500.000 Krebsneuerkrankungen in Deutschland berufsbedingt.

  • 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.

  • Cancer Research - How Cells Die by Ferroptosis

    A Fibroblast Undergoing Ferroptosis. Source: Helmholtz Zentrum München

    Ferroptosis is a recently discovered form of cell death, which is still only partially understood. Scientists at the Helmholtz Zentrum München have now identified an enzyme that plays a key role in generating the signal that initiates cell death. Their findings, published in two articles in the journal ‘Nature Chemical Biology’, could now give new impetus to research into the fields of cancer, neurodegeneration and other degenerative diseases. The term ferroptosis was first coined in 2012. It is derived from the Greek word ptosis, meaning “a fall”, and ferrum, the Latin word for iron, and describes a form of regulated necrotic cell death in which iron appears to play an important role.

  • CeBIT 2017: Analysis software for neural networks – Watching computers think

    Fraunhofer HHI’s analysis software uses algorithms to visualize complex learning processes (schematic diagram). © Fraunhofer HHI

    Neural networks are commonly used today to analyze complex data – for instance to find clues to illnesses in genetic information. Ultimately, though, no one knows how these networks actually work exactly. That is why Fraunhofer researchers developed software that enables them to look into these black boxes and analyze how they function. The researchers will present their software at CeBIT in Hannover from March 20 to 24, 2017 (Hall 6, Booth B 36).

  • 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.

  • CRISPR/Cas9 technology to inactivate cancer mutations

    As for many other biomedical and biotechnology disciplines, the genome scissor “CRISPR/Cas9” also opens up completely new possibilities for cancer research. Scientists of the National Center for Tumor Disease (NCT), the German Consortium for Translational Cancer Research (DKTK) and the Medical Faculty of the TU Dresden have shown that mutations that act as cancer drivers can be targeted and repaired. The most relevant mutations could therefore be diagnosed faster, improving personalized therapies.

  • 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.

  • Einsatz neuer Krebsmedikamente: Die Biologie entscheidet

    Jahrestagung 2016

    Leipzig/Berlin, 5. September 2016 – Lange galt der Ursprungsort einer Krebserkrankung als entscheidend für die medikamentöse Behandlung. Diese Regel gilt nicht mehr. Sowohl bei den Arzneimitteln als auch bei der Immuntherapie richtet sich der Einsatz nach biologischen Kriterien. Die Jahrestagung der deutschsprachigen Fachgesellschaften für Hämatologie und Medizinische Onkologie bietet den Teilnehmerinnen und Teilnehmern einen Überblick über die neuesten wissenschaftlichen Erkenntnisse im Bereich der Immuntherapie und die Möglichkeit, im kollegialen Dialog Erfahrungen auszutauschen.

  • Every atom counts in Protein structures

    Every atom counts in Protein structures | Tailored parallel X-rays perfectly matching the dimensions of the protein crystals enabled the scientists to determine the proteasome structure in unprecedented detail. Illustration: Hartmut Sebesse / Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry

    Malignant cancer cells not only proliferate faster than most body cells. They are also more dependent on the most important cellular garbage disposal unit, the proteasome, which degrades defective proteins. Therapies for some types of cancer exploit this dependence: Patients are treated with inhibitors, which block the proteasome. The ensuing pile-up of junk overwhelms the cancer cell, ultimately killing it. Scientists have now succeeded in determining the human proteasome’s 3D structure in unprecedented detail and have deciphered the mechanism by which inhibitors block the proteasome. Their results will pave the way to develop more effective proteasome inhibitors for cancer therapy.

  • Gene Taxi with Turbo Drive

    After infection with CD9-containing viruses, human HEK293 cells produce a red fluorescent reporter protein that indicates the successful transmission of viral genetic information into the cells. Photo: Kai Böker

    Scientists at the German Primate Center improve DNA transfer in gene therapy. Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, cystic fibrosis – these and many other fatal hereditary human diseases are genetically transmitted. Many cancers and cardiovascular diseases are also caused by genetic defects. Gene therapy is a promising possibility for the treatment of these diseases. With the help of genetically modified viruses, DNA is introduced into cells in order to repair or replace defective genes. By using this method, scientists from the German Primate Center (DPZ) – Leibniz Institute for Primate Research have discovered a quicker and more efficient treatment for the cells.

  • Nanotechnology Supports Treatment of Malignant Melanoma

    The cantilever bears the recognition sequence for the target mutation. If this is present in the sample, the corresponding segment of RNA binds to the cantilever, causing the latter to bend. University of Basel, Department of Physics

    Changes in the genetic make-up of tissue samples can be detected quickly and easily using a new method based on nanotechnology. This report researchers from the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Basel and the University Hospital Basel in first clinical tests with genetic mutations in patients with malignant melanoma. The journal Nano Letters has published the study.

  • Neue Wirkstoffanwendung als mögliche personalisierte Therapie bei häufigem Lungenkrebs

    Studienleiter Sebastian Nijman (rechts) und Ferran Fece de la Cruz, Co-Erstautor (links). James Hall/Oxford University

    Eine Untergruppe von Lungentumoren, die bisher als unbehandelbar galt, reagiert extrem empfindlich auf eine kürzlich zugelassene Gruppe von Krebsmedikamenten – das haben Forscher des CeMM Forschungszentrum für Molekulare Medizin der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Universität Oxford herausgefunden. Ihre Studie in Nature Communications eröffnet neue Wege, um eine Therapie für bis zu 10% aller Lungenkrebspatienten zu finden.

  • New Active Ingredients from the Toolbox

    Schematic diagram of the “toolbox system” of the NRPS enzymes for the production of new active ingredients. Fragments from natural systems (green, magenta, blue) are reassembled in a new order (centre) and then produce a natural product which has not formed like this in nature before (right). (c) Goethe University

    Microorganisms often produce natural products in a step-by-step manner similar to an assembly line. Examples of such enzymes are non-ribosomal peptide synthetases (NRPS). Researchers at Goethe University Frankfurt have now succeeded in designing these enzymes in such a way that they can produce completely new natural products. Many important therapeutics, such as antibiotics or immunosuppressant and anti-cancer drugs, are derived from microorganisms.

  • On track to heal leukaemia

    From left: Dr. Carsten Riether, Dr. Christian M. Schürch and Prof. Adrian F. Ochsenbein in the laboratory  Inselspital, Bern University Hospital

    The first clinical studies for a new type of immunotherapy for leukaemia are beginning at Bern’s Inselspital, Bern University Hospital. Antibodies discovered in the laboratory should inhibit the growth of tumour cells.

    Leukaemia stem cells: they have the ability to renew themselves and are resistant to most current, existing cancer therapies (chemotherapy, radiation, targeted medications). Because the cells are responsible for the development of blood cancer, they also regulate the course of disease. The faster they multiply, the faster the illness progresses.

  • Optimizing Therapy Planning for Cancers of the Liver

    Dosimetry for selective internal radiation therapy of the liver. © Photo Fraunhofer MEVIS

    Fraunhofer MEVIS algorithms enhance the application of radioactive microspheres in cancer treatment. Radioembolization is a therapy method used for liver tumors that are uncurable with surgery or chemotherapy. Thorough development of an individual planning is important for successful treatment. Within the SIRTOP project, the Fraunhofer Institute for Medical Image Computing MEVIS in Bremen is developing sophisticated computer algorithms to make therapy planning faster and more precise. The research team will present their initial results at several upcoming conferences. 

  • Progress in the Treatment of Aggressive Brain Tumors

    Prof. Dr. Ulrich Herrlinger and Dr. Christina Schaub with pictures of a glioblastoma patient after combination therapy. Photo: © Katharina Wislsperger/Kommunikation und Medien des UKB

    Cancer researchers at the University of Bonn have reported significant progress in the treatment of glioblastoma. About one third of all patients suffer from a particular variant of this most common and aggressive brain tumor. Survival of these patients treated with the new combination therapy increased on average by nearly half compared to patients who received the standard therapy. The study has now been published in the journal “The Lancet”.

  • Proteins as a 'shuttle service' for targeted administration of medication

    Prof. Dr. Yves Muller and Karin Schmidt

    Medication that reaches the spot where it’s needed without placing strain on the rest of the body is no longer a vision of the future. Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) has successfully developed proteins that function like a shuttle and release medication directly in the place in the body where they are actually needed. The study could serve as a model and could enable targeted and tissue-specific administration of medication in future. The findings have been published in the renowned journal ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’ (PNAS)*.

  • Researchers Discover New Regulator in Glucose Metabolism

    Immunofluorescence microscopy of TSC22D4 (red) expressing cells. Source: Helmholtz Zentrum München

    A key genetic switch in the liver regulates glucose metabolism and insulin action in other organs of the body. Researchers of Helmholtz Zentrum München, in collaboration with colleagues of the Heidelberg University Hospital, Technische Universität München and the Medical Faculty of the University of Leipzig, have now reported these findings in the journal ‘Nature Communications’. Diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease that has become increasingly prevalent in the population: More than six million people are affected by the disease alone in Germany. It is characterized by a disruption of the glucose metabolism and (except for type 1 diabetes) an impaired response of the body to the hormone insulin. Scientists are currently seeking to find the cause and possible regulators of the disease in order to intervene therapeutically.

  • Scientists discover new mechanisms of early metastatic spread in breast cancer

    For their studies, the researchers culture primary mammary gland cells. This results in the formation of so-called spheres, which enable experimental investigation of metastasis. Photo: Ralf Mohr; Fraunhofer ITEM

    (Hannover/Regensburg, Germany) Scientists of the Regensburg-based Project Group for Personalized Tumor Therapy (Fraunhofer ITEM/University of Regensburg) and colleagues from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai discovered new mechanisms of early metastatic spread in breast cancer. Results have been published in the latest issue of the renowned journal Nature. Over decades, cancer research pursued the dogma that cancer cells seed mainly from advanced tumors – based on the finding that early diagnosis and surgical removal are decisive for curing cancer patients. Recently, however, the validity of this concept in explaining treatment success has been questioned increasingly, because patients with small tumors also develop metastases.

  • Selective manipulation of enzyme can stop cancer cachexia

    Healthy fat tissue is essential for extended survival in the event of tumor-induced wasting syndrome (cachexia). In Nature Medicine, researchers at Helmholtz Zentrum München show that selective manipulation of an enzyme can stop unwanted metabolic processes.