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Chronic cell death promotes liver cancer

Liver cancer occurs predominantly in patients whose liver has been damaged as a result of chronic disease. Until now it has remained in the dark how these events are linked at molecular level. An international team of scientists from the German Cancer Research Center and the University of Zurich has now shown that chronic cell death promotes the development of cancer. The more cells die, the more the remaining cells have to divide. In this process, they accumulate mutations: fertile ground for liver cancer to develop.

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Chaos in cell division – How chromosomal defects arise in cancer cells

Cancer cells often have aberrant numbers of chromosomes. Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center have now discovered a new mechanism that plays a role in these typical chromosomal aberrations. The new findings question the current concept of how cancer cells survive the chaos during cell division. This might also make it necessary to rethink specific treatment approaches that interfere with the distribution of chromosomes.

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Using barcodes to trace cell development

There are various concepts about how blood cells develop. However, they are based almost exclusively on experiments that solely reflect snapshots. In a publication in Nature, scientists from the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg now present a novel technique that captures the process in a dynamic way. Using a "random generator", the researchers label hematopoietic stem cells with genetic barcodes that enable them to trace which cell types arise from the stem cell. This method will facilitate whole new insights into the development of various tissues as well as cancer.

DFG Funding

Therapies for older leukemia patients

The German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG) will provide funding for a new research group at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and at the University of Freiburg and Freiburg University Medical Center. The scientists will jointly pursue fundamental and clinical research into acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The DFG will support the project with funds of approximately €4.2 million over the next three years.

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Cancer cells put the brakes on immune system

In order for cancer cells to successfully spread and multiply, they must find a way to avoid the body's own immune system. Scientists at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) have published an explanation for how this occurs with chronic lymphatic leukemia (CLL). The degenerated cells cause an inflammatory reaction and influence other blood cells with it so much, that the immune system is suppressed. They send out messages via exosomes, little bubbles, which the cells transmit to their surroundings. The discovery by the DKFZ scientists paves the way for new therapy approaches.

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William and Kate

Royals @ DKFZ

During their trip to Germany, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge paid DKFZ a visit.

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Surprising genetic variety in childhood brain cancer

An international research team led by scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and the Hopp Children's Tumor Center at the NCT Heidelberg (KiTZ) has identified new genetic alterations and mechanisms that lead to very aggressive types of childhood brain cancer. Their results, which have now been published in the journal Nature, will contribute to developing novel treatment approaches for previously incurable cancer cases and to targeting tumors more specifically.

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How blood vessels slow down and accelerate tumor growth

Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and Heidelberg University have discovered a new mechanism that causes faster sprouting of blood vessels. Cells of a specific type called pericytes, which are attached to the outside of fine blood vessels, are involved in this process. If a particular protein molecule is switched off, this leads to the formation of significantly more, albeit immature, vessels, the scientists now report. As a result, the tumor gets supplied better and can grow faster.

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