Highlights

Scientific achievements by e:Med scientists

Highlights 2017

Consortia

Detecting early warning signs and disease transition in alcohol addiction

e:Med researchers from the SysMedAlcoholism consortium and their cooperation partners at the University of Tokyo found out for the first time by means of a new computational approach that the transition into an addictive drinking behavior are preceded by predictive "early warning signals". The analytical approach to elaborate longitudinal data has the potential to predict the onset of illness and changes in various stages of the disease in the state of health.

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Consortia

Schizophrenia risk mutations lead to instable neuronal networks

How does Schizophrenia work on the molecular level? In this study, dynamic network neuroscience techniques and neuroimaging methods were applied by scientists of the e:Med consortia IntegraMent to uncover the molecular and genetic contributions of glutamate and brain network dynamics.

Consortia

Beta cells under fire

Type 2 diabetes causes pathological changes in the beta cells. Scientists have successfully depicted the processes on the basis of the metabolome and proteome for the first time. Their work has been published in Cell Metabolism.

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Junior research alliances & consortia

The importance of being genotyped

Personlized medicine for small cell lung cancer:
Small cell lung cancer is an aggressive type of cancer and can progress in very different, individual ways but so far no targeted therapy has been approved. By designing a mouse model mimicking a human disease phenotype, scientists discovered a promising combination therapy.

Highlight from the e:MedIUM

Junior research alliance

New route to a diagnosis

In about half of all patients with rare hereditary disorders, it is still unclear what exact position of the genome is responsible for their condition - despite whole genome sequencing analysis. Scientists from the fields of informatics and medicine have now joined forces to find a solution: A team from Munich has developed a method that significantly increases the chances of a successful search. The new approach looks not only at DNA, but also at RNA.

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Demonstrators and Junior research alliances

Metabolic fine tuning

Amino acids are important signaling molecules which influence cellular and organismal metabolism, however, their molecular targets are not yet completely identified. A systems study has now shed light into the molecular interaction network and the diverse cellular functions of amino acids.

Highlight from the e:MedIUM

Consortia

Tracking down allergies

Decoding T cell regulation in allergies:
What works differently in the immune system of allergic persons? Which immune cells can be held responsible for immune system overreaction? Scientists from Berlin, together with the e:Med consortia e:Kid around Professor Nina Babel, have now shed light on these questions and have decoded the role of the different T cells in allergies.

Highlight from the e:Medium

Consortia

Calculating Cancer

Mathematical models to predict and fight cancer:
How can mathematical models be used in order to improve cancer prognosis and therapy? In the studies presented here, e:Med scientists from SYSIMIT generated models to improve prediction of breast cancer development and for a personalized treatment of bacterial infection against cancer.

Highlight from the e:Med Newsletter

Consortia

Social phobia: further indications of a genetic cause

What are the causes of social phobia? This question was raised by scientists of the consortium IntegraMent. For this they examined mutations found in patients with social phobia. They discovered that a SNP in the serotonin transporter gene SLC6A4 is associated with the disease. Serotonin is an important substance in the brain, which also suppresses feelings of anxiety and is a common target of psychotropic drugs. The results emphasize that serotonin transporter play an important role in developing social phobia.

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Junior research alliances

Mapping regulatory DNA regions

Tools for improved analysis of gene regulation:
Regulatory DNA regions are important elements for gene activity control. However, these areas are very difficult to identify since the RNA produced is rapidly degraded. e:Med scientist Julien Gagneur from the junior research alliance mitOmics and colleagues published an innovative sequencing method in Science, which makes it possible to collect and map all RNA segments transcribed within 5 minutes. In addition, they created software for improved annotation of regulatory elements, which they applied to 127 human cell types and tissues.

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Highlights 2016

Highlights

Consortia, Demonstrators

Gene fusion opens up treatment possibilities for aggressive brain cancer

Glioblastoma is an aggressive type of brain cancer which remains difficult to treat in children. In a (epi)genomic study, in ten percent of the patients MET-oncogene fusions were identified which promote the development of Glioblastoma but can be targeted and inhibited with clinically approved drugs. Scientists of the e:Med consortium CancerTelSys and of the demonstrator  SYS-GLIO were substantially involved in this Nature Medicine publication.

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Consortia

Finding common ground for various diseases

Cross-disease analysis shows genetic reasons for the common appearance of inflammatory diseases:
Why are some patients affected by several inflammatory diseases, for instance, intestinal and liver diseases, at the same time? e:Med scientists are seeking to understand the cause why inflammatory diseases appear together.

Highlight from the e:Med Newsletter

consortia

Mutations take their toll on the bones

Genetic factors are responsible for bone loss with mutliple myeloma:
Bone loss is very common with multiple myeloma. Since therapy must be selected according to bone loss occurrence, predicting the course of the disease is important. Why some patients are affected whereas others are not was subject to a systems medicine analysis.

Highlight from the e:Med Newsletter

Demonstrators

Cellular rush hour

Tools enabling combined analysis of time-dependent omics data: How can cellular dynamics be defined at multiple levels and in temporal resolution? In order to map these complex processes, both the handling of large data sets as well as elaborated software solutions are required. An application for analyzing large amounts of omics data in terms of time is shown here.

Highlight from the e:Med Newsletter

Consortia

Differences of myocardial infarction in men and women are not attributed to X chromosome

An international consortium discovered that the differences between women and men in myocardial infarction are not attributed to the X chromosome. This was the first study ever to search for triggers of complex diseases on the X chromosome. The study that included more than 100,000 people was conducted by Prof. Jeanette Erdmann and Prof. Inke R. König, University of Lübeck, within the scope of the e:AtheroSysMed consortium. More than 80 scientists from 14 different countries were involved.

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Consortia

High concentration of Oncogene MYC activates additional genes

In most tumors a high concentration of the transcription factor MYC is prevalent. e:Med scientists of the SYSMED-NB consortia now have discovered that high MYC-levels activate additional genes which encourage tumor formation. In low concentrations this important factor only binds to high affinity genes which are responsible for controlled cell proliferation. But when excessive amounts of MYC are produced in a cell, genes with a low affinity also get activated which leads to tumor formation. Scientists of the University of Würzburg investigated concentration-dependent expression patterns in cells and confirmed their studies using modeling approaches. Hence, the expression pattern depends on cellular MYC concentration. Partial inhibition of MYC might serve as a new target for therapy.

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Consortia

Dopamine fluctuations in alcohol addiction

In a new study, addiction researchers of the Institute of Psychopharmacology (Scientific Director: Professor Rainer Spanagel) and of the Clinic for Addictive Behavior and Addiction Medicine (Medical Director: Professor Falk Kiefer) at the CIMH found elevated concentrations of the neurotransmitter dopamine in brain regions of alcoholics who had been abstinent for a longer period of time. The results of the study has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

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Demonstrators

International collection of open reading frames now totals 80 percent of human protein-coding genes, collaboration reports

An international collaboration of organizations has reached a milestone in creating a library of complete genetic blueprints for the thousands of different proteins in human cells. The collection – consisting of open-reading frames (ORFs), the portions of genes that code for full-length proteins – is an essential resource for scientists studying the basic mechanics of human cells and how those processes go awry in disease.

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Highlights 2015

Highlights

Consortia

New Computational Approach Reveals Hidden Cell Subpopulations

e:Med scientists from Helmholtz Zentrum München and colleagues from Technische Universität München and the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) have developed a computational approach which facilitates the identification of confounding factors and hidden biological processes in the analysis of single-cell RNA sequence data, enabling a more accurate picture of the different cell types. Thus, cell types can be identified that otherwise would remain undetected.

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Consortia

New approaches to fight cancer

e:Med scientists around Prof. Reinhardt from the university hospital Cologne showed an essential difference between healthy and tumor cells, which could be used as a target in cancer therapy. They found out that the enzymes MK2 and Chk1 are essential for proliferation of tumor cells with KRAS mutations. The dependence on the two enzymes distinguishes cancer from healthy cells. By blocking these enzymes, tumor growth could be inhibited without affecting healthy tissue.

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Consortia

How do cancer cells become immortal?

Every time a cell divides, the ends of chromosomes – the threads of DNA residing in the nucleus – shorten a bit. Once the chromosome ends, called telomeres, become too short, cells normally stop dividing. Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) have now discovered how cancer cells make use of specific DNA repair enzymes to extend the telomeres. In this way, they escape the natural stop signal and can divide without limits. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) supports the project as part of the e:Med research initiative.

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