ECRC News 2009

 

August 11, 2009

MRI Specialist Thoralf Niendorf Appointed Professor in Berlin-Buch

The physicist Professor Thoralf Niendorf has been appointed to the chair of Experimental Ultra High Field Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) at the Experimental and Clinical Research Center (ECRC) of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany. Since August 10, 2009 the specialist for imaging techniques from RWTH Aachen University heads the MRI facility of the ECRC on Campus Berlin-Buch. The research facility with one of the world’s strongest magnetic resonance tomographs, a 7 Tesla whole-body MRI scanner, was dedicated in January 2009 by Professor Annette Schavan, Germany’s Federal Minister of Education and Research.

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June 27, 2009

New Control System of the Body Discovered – Important Modulator of Immune Cell Entry into the Brain – Perhaps New Target for the Therapy

Researchers in Berlin, Germany have ameliorated inflammation of the brain in mice caused by immune cells. A receptor they discovered on the surface of T cells in the central nervous system (CNS) plays the key role. The researchers showed that this bradykinin receptor 1 (B1) controls the infiltration of immune cells into the CNS. When they activated B1 in mice with encephalitis, they were able to slow down the crossing of the immune cells through the blood-brain-barrier into the CNS. As a result, the inflammation markedly decreased. The work by Dr. Ulf Schulze-Topphoff, Prof. Orhan Aktas, and Professor Frauke Zipp (Cecilie Vogt-Clinic, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch and NeuroCure Research Center) together with researchers in Canada and the USA may unveil a new target for the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS) (Nature Medicine, doi 10.1038/nm.1980)*.

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June 9, 2009

Immune cells Ameliorate Hypertension-Induced Cardiac Damage in Mice

Researchers in Berlin, Germany have found that a specific type of immune cell, the regulatory T lymphocyte (Treg) plays an important role in hypertension-induced cardiac damage. The injected Treg that they harvested from donor mice into recipient mice were infused with angiotensin II, a blood pressure-raising peptide. The Tregs had no influence on the blood pressure response to angiotensin II. Nonetheless, cardiac enlargement, fibrosis, and inflammation was sharply reduced by Treg treatment. Furthermore, the tendency to develop abnormal heart rhythms that could lead to sudden cardiac death was also reduced. Dr. Heda Kvakan and Dr. Dominik N. Müller at the Experimental and Clinical Research Center at the Max Delbrück Center do not intend Treg as a therapy. However, a better understanding of how the immune system fits into hypertension-induced organ damage could result from these studies (Circulation, Vol. 119, No. 22, June 9, 2009, 2904-2912 ).*

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May 4, 2009

New Light Shed on the Enigma of Salt Intake and Hypertension

A high salt intake has been implicated in cardiovascular disease risk for 5000 years. But salt-sensitive hypertension still remains an enigma. Now, investigators from Germany at the University of Erlangen, the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch and Regensburg, collaborating with researchers from Finland and Austria have shed new light on the relationship between salt intake, bodily processes, and blood pressure regulation. Within the skin, they have detected a new storage area for salt in the body. They also found out that if the process behind this storage is defect, animals become hypertensive (Nature Medicine, doi 10.1038/nm.1960)*.

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April 30, 2009

Gene Test Determines Risk of Heart Surgery Complications

Genetic differences can explain why some patients undergoing heart surgery later experience shock and kidney complications, according to a study by researchers at the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, the Max-Delbrück-Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch in Germany and the Austin Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. The results indicate that performing a genetic test on patients before they have surgery can help guide treatment after they leave the operating room (Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, JASN, doi 10.1681/ASN.2008080915)*.

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March 30, 2009

What Sets the Stone Rolling - New Insights into Cancer Pathogenesis

Dr. Stephan Mathas and Professor Bernd Dörken of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch and Charité – Medical University Berlin, in close cooperation with Professor Tom Misteli of the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD, USA, have identified three cancer genes involved in the pathogenesis of a cancer of the lymphatic system. At the same time they were able to shed light on the translocation process, which also plays a crucial role in cancer pathogenesis. During translocation, fragments of genes move from one chromosome to another and fuse – if they are close enough to each other – to a new gene. This fusion gene additionally stimulates the growth of cancer genes. (PNAS, Early Edition, 2009, doi:10.1073/pnas.0900912106).