Monday, 05 June 2023 13:41

Berlin: Interdisciplinary Collaborative Research Unit at Charité to study neuroblastoma Featured

In order to find a way to treat aggressive and persistent tumors of the nervous system in children, called neuroblastomas, researchers from Berlin, Cologne, Würzburg and Tübingen are taking a new, interdisciplinary approach.

Neuroblastomas arise from the degeneration of certain cells of the nervous system during early body development - possibly even before birth. For this reason, primarily young children up to the age of six and sometimes even newborns are affected. Aggressive forms are difficult to treat and can lead to the death of the children due to metastasis. New treatment methods are therefore urgently needed. The goal of the Collaborative Research Unit is therefore to find individualized and targeted therapies for patients affected by the disease.  

New findings indicate that tumor cells not only evolve genetically, i.e. not only accumulate errors in the genome, but that non-genetic changes as chemical changes in proteins can also play a role. The task now is to track these down.

For their extensive studies, the research team wants to comprehensively analyze neuroblastoma tissue cell by cell and use the latest methods to catalog what happens in the tumor cells at the level of DNA, RNA, epigenetics and proteins. Artificial intelligence will then be used to find targets for combination therapies.

In addition to Charité Berlin, other partners include the Berlin Institute of Health at Charité (BIH), the Max Delbrück Center, the University of Cologne, Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg (JMU), Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen and the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ).

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