Virus

  • “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.

  • Attacking Flu Viruses from Two Sides

    IgA1 antibodies binding to the influenza A virus antigen hemagglutinin. TSRI/UZH

    UZH researchers have discovered a new way in which certain antibodies interact with the flu virus. This previously unknown form of interaction opens up new possibilities for developing better vaccines and more efficient medication to combat the flu. Fever, shivering, headaches, and joint pains – each year millions of people around the world are affected by the flu. While most people recover after a few days, the WHO estimates that each year between 250,000 and 500,000 people die from the disease.

  • 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.

  • DNA Origami: Building Virus-sized Structures and Saving Costs Through Mass Production

    Self-organization forms „gear-wheels“ from V-shaped building blocks, constructed using DNA origami techniques. In a next step, these gears form tubes with a size comparable with virus capsids. Hendrik Dietz / TUM

    It is the double strands of our genes that make them so strong. Using a technique known as DNA origami, biophysicist Hendrik Dietz has been building nanometer-scale objects for several years at the Technical University of Munich (TUM). Now Dietz and his team have not only broken out of the nanometer realm to build larger objects, but have also cut the production costs a thousand-fold. These innovations open a whole new frontier for the technology.

  • Hepatitis C and HIV prophylaxis: microwave reduces viral transmission in the drugs scene

    PD Dr. Eike Steinmann und Anindya Siddharta. TWINCORE/Romy Weller

    Infections with hepatitis C virus (HCV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) among people who inject drugs (PWID) are a global health problem. For example, sharing of drug preparation equipment within this population contributes to more than 80% of newly acquired HCV infections. As a response to these circumstances, scientists at TWINCORE validated a simple and safe method to reduce the risk of viral transmission, namely by microwave irradiation. This method has been published recently in Scientific Reports.

  • Nanoparticle Exposure Can Awaken Dormant Viruses in the Lungs

    Nanoparticles from combustion engines (shown here) can activate viruses that are dormant in in lung tissue.  Source: Helmholtz Zentrum München

    Nanoparticles from combustion engines can activate viruses that are dormant in in lung tissue cells. This is the result of a study by researchers of Helmholtz Zentrum München, a partner in the German Center for Lung Research (DZL), which has now been published in the journal ‘Particle and Fibre Toxicology’.

    To evade the immune system, some viruses hide in cells of their host and persist there. In medical terminology, this state is referred to as a latent infection. If the immune system becomes weakened or if certain conditions change, the viruses become active again, begin to proliferate and destroy the host cell. A team of scientists led by Dr. Tobias Stöger of the Institute of Lung Biology and Prof. Dr. Heiko Adler, deputy head of the research unit Lung Repair and Regeneration at Helmholtz Zentrum München, now report that nanoparticles can also trigger this process.

  • New Approach in the Fight Against Viruses

    Multi-Electrode Layout for Parallel Analysis of Multiple Cell Samples in Microfluic-Chips. Fraunhofer EMFT, Bernd Müller.

    In the ViroSens project, researchers from the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft in Sulzbach and Regensburg are working together with industrial partners on a novel analytical method to make the potency testing of vaccines more efficient and cost-effective. The method combines electrochemical sensor technology and biotechnology and, for the first time, enables a completely automated analysis of the infection status of test cells.

  • Rabies viruses reveal wiring in transparent brains

    Transplant of human neurons in the hippocampus of a mouse: the surrounding nerve cells in the mouse brain have connected to engrafted neurons.  © Photo: Dr. Jonas Doerr

    Scientists under the leadership of the University of Bonn have harnessed rabies viruses for assessing the connectivity of nerve cell transplants: coupled with a green fluorescent protein, the viruses show where replacement cells engrafted into mouse brains have connected to the host neural network. A clearing procedure which turns the brain into a ‘glass-like state’ and light sheet fluorescence microscopy are used to visualize host-graft connections in a whole-brain preparation. The approach opens exciting prospects for predicting and optimizing the ability of neural transplants to functionally integrate into a host nervous system. The results have been published in “Nature Communications”.

  • Stealth Virus for Cancer Therapy

    The adenovirus (left) camouflages itself from the immune system thanks to its protective coat (right). (Image: UZH)

    Scientists from the University of Zurich have redesigned an adenovirus for use in cancer therapy. To achieve this they developed a new protein shield that hides the virus and protects it from being eliminated. Adapters on the surface of the virus enable the reconstructed virus to specifically infect tumor cells.

  • Study: Viruses support photosynthesis in bacteria – an evolutionary advantage?

    The association between the virus protein and bacterial pigment is incredibly stable. Furthermore, the complex is highly fluorescent. Credits: AG Frankenberg-Dinkel

    Viruses propagate by infecting a host cell and reproducing inside. This not only affects humans and animals, but bacteria as well. This type of virus is called bacteriophage. They carry so called auxiliary metabolic genes in their genome, which are responsible for producing certain proteins that give the virus an advantage. Researchers at the University of Kaiserslautern and the Ruhr University Bochum have analysed the structure of such a protein more closely. It appears to stimulate the photosynthesis of host bacteria. The study has now been published in the prestigious journal ‘The Journal of Biological Chemistry’.