Leukemia

  • Flipping the switch to stop tumor development

    Expanding B-cell tumors. Image: Michael Reth

    Freiburg researchers show how a protein prevents the uncontrolled expansion of immune cells.

    The mammalian immune system consists of millions of individual cells that are produced daily from precursor cells in the bone marrow. During their development, immune cells undergo a rapid expansion, which is interrupted by phases of differentiation to more mature lymphocytes. Alternate phases of proliferation and differentiation occur also during the maturation of antibody-producing B cells. Researchers in Prof. Dr. Michael Reth’s laboratory have come one step closer to understand how the proliferation to differentiation switch in B lymphocytes works, thereby providing new insights into the development of the most common types of tumors in children and potential therapies thereof. The team has published its study in the journal Nature Immunology.

  • 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.

  • New treatment approach for leukemia renders cancer genes powerless

    Microscopic view of blast crisis of chronic myelogenous leukemia. © Public Health Image Library

    Cancer researcher from Mainz develops targeted epigenetic approach for the treatment of aggressive forms of leukemia

  • 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.

  • Rapid Diagnosis of Diseases With Novel Blood Test

    The artistic rendering of the microscopic view into the measurement chip shows the trajectories of many individual blood cells flowing from right to left. ©Daniel Klaue/ZELLMECHANIK DRESDEN GmbH

    Prof. Dr. Jochen Guck, research group leader at the Biotechnology Center of TU Dresden (BIOTEC), together with medical colleagues from the University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus Dresden and partnering institutes from Dresden (Germany), Cambridge (UK), Glasgow (UK), and Stockholm (Sweden) use a technique called “real-time deformability cytometry” to screen thousands of cells in a drop of blood for unusual appearance and deformability in a matter of minutes.

  • Rare blood disease improves the defence against germs

    Blood smear of a myeloproliferative neoplasia patient with a significant increase in the number of platelets (purple) as compared to the clearly larger red blood cells. Ed Uthman/CC BY 2.0

    Researchers of the HZI and of the University of Magdeburg find increased immune reaction associated with a rare bone marrow disease. Patients afflicted by myeloproliferative neoplasia – a group of chronic malignant bone marrow diseases – bear a mutation in their haematopoietic stem cells. The mutation leads to the bone marrow producing too many blood cells, which thickens the blood. This can lead to blood clots or clogged blood vessels, which may trigger, e.g., a stroke. Scientists of the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig and of the Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg recently discovered that certain cells of the immune system also bear this mutation in those patients that possess a particularly large number of altered stem cells. The impact of this scenario on the defence against pathogens was investigated in mice by the scientists. They published their results in Leukemia.

  • Stem cell transplants: activating signal paths may protect from graft-versus-host disease

    Cross-section of mouse intestines: OLFM4-stem cells (red) are crucial for epithel regeneration. During treatment leading up to allo-hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, they are often destroyed.  Poeck / TUM

    Stem cell transplants can save lives, for example in patients with leukemia. However, these treatments are not free of risks. One complication that may occur is graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), basically donor-derived immune cells attacking the recipient’s body. A team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has identified molecular mechanisms that may protect patients against this dangerous response in the future. The key to preventing GVHD is in the gut.