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Searching the sewers for viruses

"In the future, additional tools will be integrated into the pipeline that will even enable us to predict the effects of a newly discovered mutation"


Algorithms developed at the Max Delbrück Center are able to quickly detect new SARS-CoV-2 variants in wastewater. But that’s not all: the tool, which Altuna Akalin and his colleagues have now presented in “Science of the Total Environment”, can also find other pathogens. SARS-CoV-2 is one of many ...


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Keeping aggressive cancer cells in check

An astonishing observation


BRCA1/2-mutated tumor cells often survive treatment, whether it’s chemo- or radiotherapy, because they can repair therapy-induced DNA damage. A team led by Claus Scheidereit of the Max Delbrück Center has now reported in The EMBO Journal how blocking the TSG101 protein hinders these tumor cells ...


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Regenerative therapies for previously incurable muscle diseases

Million euro support for MyoPax


MyoPax, a new spin-off of the Max Delbrück Center and Charité, receives a 1.3 million euros loan to jump-start its entrepreneurial activities. The start-up develops regenerative therapies for previously incurable muscle diseases using its innovative muscle stem cell technology. The BioInnovation ...


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When macrophage digestion goes wrong

If a secretion in the lungs’ alveoli is not cleared regularly, breathing difficulties can develop.


In a study published in Science Immunology, a team led by Alexander Mildner and Achim Leutz has now explained the pivotal role of the transcription factor C/EBPb in this process. The exchange of gases between the air we breathe and our blood takes place via alveoli – tiny air sacs in our lungs. ...


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Stolen DNA strengthens immune diversity

The “theft” of foreign genetic material follows a plan


To combat pathogens, the immune system needs an enormous number of different antibodies. In an MDC study, a group led by BIH professor Kathrin de la Rosa has now described in the journal PNAS a “stealing” mechanism that contributes to antibody diversity. A few years ago, Professor Kathrin de la ...


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How pathogenic gene variants lead to heart failure

“To our knowledge, this is the first such analysis conducted in cardiac tissue, and we hope this approach can be used to study other types of genetic heart diseases”


Cardiomyopathy is not a uniform disease. Rather, individual genetic defects lead to heart failure in different ways, an international consortium reports in “Science”. MDC researcher Norbert Hübner is one of the senior authors. The molecular and cellular mechanisms that lead to heart failure in ...


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Unstoppable against blood cancer

What was previously only possible in the mouse model, the researchers now show in human cells


For people with certain forms of leukemia, lymphoma or multiple myeloma, they are sometimes the last chance to beat the cancer: Treatments with chimeric antigen receptor T cells, or CAR T cells for short. For this purpose, T cells are taken from the patient's blood to equip them with artificially ...


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Unchartered territory in the human genome


An international consortium brings together 7,200 segments of the human genome that are virtually unexplored and presents a roadmap for integrating them into genome databases in “Nature Biotechnology”. They could hold information about what sets humans apart from other animals. When researchers ...


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A fine-tuned gene editor

Spacing out the cuts


The molecular tool CRISPR-Cas9 can be used to treat inherited blood disorders, but this may cause unintended genetic alterations. A team led by MDC researchers Klaus Rajewsky and Van Trung Chu has now presented an approach in “Science Advances” that minimizes such adverse consequences. Hopes are ...


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AI identifies cancer cells

“Ikarus lets us identify genes that are potential drivers of cancer”


How do cancer cells differ from healthy cells? A new machine learning algorithm called “ikarus” knows the answer, reports a team led by MDC bioinformatician Altuna Akalin in the journal Genome Biology. The AI program has found a gene signature characteristic of tumors. When it comes to ...


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