FAU researchers have discovered that tumour cells can hide from antibody therapy in bone marrow
Scientists from the Division of Genetics at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) in collaboration with Universitätsklinikum Erlangen have made a breakthrough discovery in cancer research.
For the first time, scientists have been able to simulate the complexity of the human immune system and investigate where cancer cells hide when attacked by the immune system. This research is especially relevant for destroying cancer cells through antibody therapy and shows ways that cancer treatment can be improved today. The researchers recently published their findings in the renowned journal Cell Reports.*
Antibodies that are manufactured specifically to fight cancer cells are an essential part of treating breast cancer and lymphoma. They can detect and mark cancer cells in the body so that the malfunctioning cells can be destroyed by the immune system.
However, some cells may survive attacks by the immune system. In the worst case, this can cause tumours to return. 'A key question in cancer therapy is to find out where tumour cells can hide from the immune system,' states Prof. Dr. Falk Nimmerjahn from the Division of Genetics at FAU. 'If we know the answer to this, we can improve current drugs to target where the malformed cells are hiding'.
Two research teams, one from FAU and the other from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT, Cambridge) (Pallasch et al. Cell), have independently made important breakthroughs in this area. Both research teams were able to show that the effects of antibodies used in human cancer therapy are weakened if tumour cells are found in bone marrow.
'This gives us a unique opportunity to find out how we can improve the antibodies currently used in cancer treatment to remove all tumour cells so that there is actually a chance of curing patients,' says Dr. Anja Lux, research team leader, Division of Genetics, FAU. The significance of these findings is demonstrated by the ability of both research teams to simulate the complexity of the human immune system in their experiments which indicates that the results can be applied to humans with a greater probability.
Further preliminary investigations at MIT lead researchers to believe that a combination of chemotherapy and antibody therapy can lead to greater success in destroying cancer cells in bone marrow. This is an interesting preliminary result which the researchers in Erlangen are intending to take a step further.
'Now that we know where the cancer cells are hiding, we can improve antibody therapy to better activate immune cells in the bone marrow,' explains Prof. Nimmerjahn. This will help to avoid the harmful side effects of chemotherapy, reduce risk for patients and increase chances of curing patients.
*Lux et al., Cell Reports 7, 1-13, 2014; doi:
Pallasch et al., Cell 156, 590-602, 2014
Contact for media:
Prof. Dr. Falk Nimmerjahn
Blandina Mangelkramer | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
New Model of T Cell Activation
27.05.2016 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
Fungi – a promising source of chemical diversity
27.05.2016 | Leibniz-Institut für Naturstoff-Forschung und Infektionsbiologie - Hans-Knöll-Institut (HKI)
A biological and energy-efficient process, developed and patented by the University of Innsbruck, converts nitrogen compounds in wastewater treatment facilities into harmless atmospheric nitrogen gas. This innovative technology is now being refined and marketed jointly with the United States’ DC Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water). The largest DEMON®-system in a wastewater treatment plant is currently being built in Washington, DC.
The DEMON®-system was developed and patented by the University of Innsbruck 11 years ago. Today this successful technology has been implemented in about 70...
Permanent magnets are very important for technologies of the future like electromobility and renewable energy, and rare earth elements (REE) are necessary for their manufacture. The Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM in Freiburg, Germany, has now succeeded in identifying promising approaches and materials for new permanent magnets through use of an in-house simulation process based on high-throughput screening (HTS). The team was able to improve magnetic properties this way and at the same time replaced REE with elements that are less expensive and readily available. The results were published in the online technical journal “Scientific Reports”.
The starting point for IWM researchers Wolfgang Körner, Georg Krugel, and Christian Elsässer was a neodymium-iron-nitrogen compound based on a type of...
In the Beyond EUV project, the Fraunhofer Institutes for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen and for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF in Jena are developing key technologies for the manufacture of a new generation of microchips using EUV radiation at a wavelength of 6.7 nm. The resulting structures are barely thicker than single atoms, and they make it possible to produce extremely integrated circuits for such items as wearables or mind-controlled prosthetic limbs.
In 1965 Gordon Moore formulated the law that came to be named after him, which states that the complexity of integrated circuits doubles every one to two...
Characterization of high-quality material reveals important details relevant to next generation nanoelectronic devices
Quantum mechanics is the field of physics governing the behavior of things on atomic scales, where things work very differently from our everyday world.
When current comes in discrete packages: Viennese scientists unravel the quantum properties of the carbon material graphene
In 2010 the Nobel Prize in physics was awarded for the discovery of the exceptional material graphene, which consists of a single layer of carbon atoms...
24.05.2016 | Event News
20.05.2016 | Event News
19.05.2016 | Event News
27.05.2016 | Awards Funding
27.05.2016 | Life Sciences
27.05.2016 | Life Sciences