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Steffen Porwollik


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Dendritic Cell Immunotherapy Gets a Boost

Jul 25, 2016 1:00:30 PM / by Steffen Porwollik posted in glioma, brain cancer, Cancer Immunology, cancer immunotherapy, Cytotoxic T Cells, Dendritic Cells, immunogenic cell death, Innovation, T Cells

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A new strategy significantly increases the efficacy of dendritic cell immunotherapy against high grade glioma, a severe type of brain cancer. The key: pre-exposing the therapy to glioma cells undergoing immunogenic cell death.

High grade glioma (HGG) is a malignant brain cancer that is characterized by tumorous growth of glial cells, non-neural cells surrounding the neurons of the central and peripheral nervous system. HGG is accompanied by a heartbreakingly poor prognosis and the current lack of a cure. Hundreds of children are diagnosed every year with HGG in Europe and North America.

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Tumor-Adjacent Dendritic Cells Crucial for Cancer Growth in T-Cell Leukemia

Jul 13, 2016 1:00:11 PM / by Steffen Porwollik posted in ALL, leukemia, research, stromal cells, T Cells, T lymphocytes, tumor microenvironment, white blood cells

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Scientists examine the effect of the tumor microenvironment on cancer fate in acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), a disease prevalent in young children. They find that the tumor-adjacent dendritic cells provide essential cues for cancer growth.

For the past fifty years, the incidence of acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), a cancer of immature white blood cells, has been rising steadily. Currently, about 6,500 new cases occur annually in the US. The onset of the wretched disease is most common in early childhood, between ages 2 and 5, but can also happen later in life. Luckily, modern chemotherapy and stem cell approaches have resulted in a substantial increase in the 5-year survival rate for children affected by the disease, to over 75%. However, outlook remains poor for those that do not respond well to these therapies. As is the case for the disease’s chronic counterpart, CLL, more treatment options are sorely needed (as we recently reported).

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Nipping HIV Transfer from Monocyte Derived Dendritic Cells in the Bud

Jul 4, 2016 1:00:15 PM / by Steffen Porwollik posted in actin, dendrites, HIV, macropinocytosis, research, shRNA, T Cells, Helper T Cells, T lymphocytes

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During HIV infection, the virus is taken up by dendritic cell populations (modeled in vitro by monocyte derived dendritic cells, MDDC), which subsequently transfer the virus to T lymphocytes. Scientists identified MDDC processes that affect transfer success – revealing ways to prevent early virus dissemination.

Dendritic cells are the human body’s border patrol. Many of these cells circulate in body areas that are in contact with the outer world, such as the linings of the stomach and nose or in the skin. When they encounter a foreign (and possibly dangerous) object, they swiftly scoop it up and present its characteristics to the authorities, the cell-mediated immune system in the form of T cells. Once the T cells have received the invader's footprint, they spring into action by replicating and secreting cytokines that shape the body’s immune response, eventually neutralizing the intruder.

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Myeloid Macrophages Implicated in Stress-Induced Memory Loss

Jun 22, 2016 1:00:28 PM / by Steffen Porwollik posted in Bone Marrow, bone marrow-derived monocytes, chronic stress, neuroinflammation, PTSD, research, social anxiety

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A new study finds that chronic stress leads to recruitment of myeloid macrophages to the hippocampus, weakening the brain’s capacity for spatial memory. This finding may have broad implications for sufferers of stress-induced disorders.

Stress is part of our lives. Whether it occurs over finishing a term paper five milliseconds before the deadline, navigating the complicated social undercurrents in the office, juggling your teenaged offspring’s wishes against the budgetary restrictions of your existence, or getting delayed on the freeway on your way to an interview / concert / meeting / [insert absolutely crucial event here] – we all experience stress to varying degrees. Our bodies are equipped to handle stress, by pumping more oxygen to the brain, making us more alert and responsive.

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Microglia, a Product of Bone Marrow Stem Cells, Tie up Loose Ends of Ruptured Blood Vessels

Jun 13, 2016 1:00:50 PM / by Steffen Porwollik posted in blood vessel, Bone Marrow, bone marrow, bone marrow-derived stem cells, hemorrhagic stroke, Macrophages, research, vascular repair

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Scientists discover and visualize the astonishing capability of microglia, macrophages circulating in the brain, to repair broken blood vessels. This finding may open up new avenues for treatment of hemorrhagic strokes and brain microbleeds associated with dementia and cognitive decline.

Every four minutes, a person dies from a stroke in the US. A staggering 15 million people worldwide suffer from an occurrence of this disease every year. Strokes are thus incredibly common and extremely serious. The majority of these strokes is caused by a disruption of the blood flow to the brain, and therapy approaches using pluripotent stem cells show much promise. However, about 13% of strokes are hemorrhagic in nature, where brain blood vessels rupture and blood flows freely into the brain tissue.

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