August 6, 2010
More Cancer-Fighting Power – Mouse with Highly Effective Components of the Human Immune System - Ten Years of Developmental Work by MDC and Charité Researchers
How can the immune system be made more potent against cancer? To solve this crucial question, Dr. Liang-Ping Li and Professor Thomas Blankenstein of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin in Germany have dedicated ten years of research to develop a new method. The researchers modified T cell receptors (TCRs), the antenna-like structures of T cells, so that they would no longer ignore cancer cells, but instead specifically track and recognize them. This modification is the precondition for the immune system to destroy cancer cells. The researchers developed a mouse with a whole repertoire of these human T cell receptors (Nature Medicine, doi: 10.1038/nm.2197)* with the aim of utilizing these receptors in the future for targeted immunotherapy in patients.
April 30, 2010
“Junk DNA” drives cancer growth
Researchers from the Charité University Medical School, the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) in Berlin, Germany and the University of Leeds, UK, have discovered a new driving force behind cancer growth. Their studies have identified how ‘junk’ DNA promotes the growth of cancer cells in patients with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Dr Stephan Mathas (Charité, MDC) and Professor Constanze Bonifer (University of Leeds) suspect that these pieces of ‘junk’ DNA, called ‘long terminal repeats’, can play a role in other forms of cancer as well. The researchers uncovered the process by which this ‘junk DNA’ is made active, promoting cancer growth (Nature Medicine, doi 10.1038/nm.2129)*.