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A weak heart due to metabolic change

The heart derives its energy primarily from fatty acids. However, if a metabolic shift to other energy sources takes place, this can result in congestive heart failure, scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and Heidelberg University Hospital have now discovered. This underscores the role of metabolism in heart failure. In addition, these findings are relevant for the use of certain anticancer drugs.

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Starving Tumors: New Target Discovered

Actively growing tumors have a high demand for oxygen and nutrients. Therefore, they stimulate the growth of blood vessels. This process is called angiogenesis. If tumor-associated angiogenesis is suppressed, this may limit tumor growth. Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center and the European Center for Angioscience at Heidelberg University have now discovered a new target for anti-angiogenic tumor therapy. They show that the deletion of a signaling molecule in mice leads to the formation of less blood vessels in late-stage tumors. This delays their growth and limits the formation of metastases.

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Modular gene enhancer promotes leukemia and regulates effectiveness of chemotherapy

Every day, billions of new blood cells are generated in the bone marrow. The gene Myc is known to play an important role in this process, and is also known to play a role in cancer. Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and the Heidelberg Institute for Stem Cell Technology and Experimental Medicine (HI-STEM) have now found that just how big a role Myc plays is determined by a distant section of DNA that contains a cluster of gene enhancers. In certain blood cancer cells, this cluster has been altered, which affects Myc activity and thereby accelerates cancer growth and affects how the cancer responds to chemotherapy. This cluster of enhancers might therefore be a suitable target in the treatment of blood cancer. The findings are published in Nature in collaboration with the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and colleagues from Canada.

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New research project on age-related diseases

The German Cancer Research Center and the Helmholtz Zentrum München will be coordinating a project called "Aging and Metabolic Programming", or AMPro for short, over the next three years. All centers of the Helmholtz Health Research Section will be involved with the aim of exploring innovative prevention and treatment approaches to age-related diseases. Of the total funding of six million euros, around 1.5 million euros will remain at the German Cancer Research Center.

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Genetic defect makes malignant smooth muscle tumors vulnerable

A research team under the leadership of scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) Heidelberg have conducted the first comprehensive analysis of the genome of malignant smooth muscle tumors. In a high percentage of tumors, they discovered a weak spot in the genome of the cancer cells that may serve as a therapy target in the future.

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Communicative peroxidases

Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are oxidizing molecules that are produced, for example, in cellular respiration and in inflammatory processes. They can damage cellular components and the genetic material. On the other hand, oxidizing molecules, particularly so-called peroxides, also play a role in cellular signal transmission. Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) have now shown that antioxidative enzymes have a communicative side. They not only break down peroxides but also transmit their oxidative effect in a controlled manner to other proteins, thus transmitting cellular signals.

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Molecular super enhancers

A new key for targeted therapy of brain cancer in children

Ependymoma refers to a heterogeneous group of cancers that can occur at any age and is one of the most common types of brain cancer in children. The genetic causes for its development are largely unknown and there are no targeted treatments to date. Scientists from the "Hopp Children's Cancer Center at the NCT Heidelberg" (KiTZ), in collaboration with colleagues from the U.S.A. and Canada, have now developed a molecular approach that opens new treatment prospects.

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Levels of DNA tags characterize rare type of blood cancer

Not only genetic changes but also certain DNA tags play a role in the development of cancer. Scientists at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) have discovered that leukemia of a specific type is extremely difficult to treat if the cancer cells contain very high levels of a certain type of DNA tag. In these cases, patients have an increased rate of relapsing after initial treatment and the disease takes a more unfavorable course. Analyzing the DNA tags might help to better adjust therapy to the individual situation in the future.

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A shower of awards at the DKFZ

Six young cancer researchers can look forward to receiving science awards on Tuesday, December 19, 2017. The Waltraud Lewenz Award, the Walther and Christine Richtzenhain Award, the Andreas Zimprich Award and the Nicola Werner Research Award for young scientists will be presented by the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) at a festive ceremony. The Bayer Foundation awards the Bayer Early Excellence in Science Award at the same occasion.

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