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Sara Bernardo (©Dominik Kirchhofer), Joanna I. Loizou and Anna Schrempf (Klaus Pichler, Laura Alvarez/CeMM).

Blocking DNA production in cancer therapy by targeting POLΘ

In a recent study, researchers from Joanna Loizou’s group from CeMM and the Medical University of Vienna investigated the POLΘ enzyme and the role it plays in DNA repair. Inhibiting POLΘ represents a new approach for developing specific therapies, in particular for patients with BRCA1 mutations. The study, published in Cell Reports, shows for the first time that POLΘ fills the gaps in single-stranded DNA that excessively occur in a BRCA1-deficient genetic background, thus demonstrating its important role in keeping BRCA1 deficient cells alive.

A key gene that is faulty leading to breast and ovarian cancer is BRCA1 (BReast CAncer Gene 1),…

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SAB Meeting 2022 (© Piero Chiussi / CeMM)

CeMM Scientific Advisory Board Meeting 2022

On strategic and scientific questions, CeMM of the Austrian Academy of Sciences is advised by a board of international top-scientists. 

On November 13-16, 2022, the CeMM Scientific Advisory Board Meeting took place in Waidhofen an der Ybbs (Austria). We thank our Scientific Advisory Board members Carl-Henrik Heldin, Ewan Birney, Aaron Ciechanover, Richard Flavell, Janet Kelso, Hidde Ploegh and Derek Tan for their precious time, fruitful discussions and valuable feedback. And we highly appreciate that Academy President Heinz Faßmann had a debriefing via video call and also listened to the feedback and recommendations. 

The SAB Meeting…

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ÖAW President Heinz Faßmann with CeMM Administrative Director Anita Ender and CeMM Scientific Director Giulio Superti-Furga (©Bubu Dujmic / CeMM).

ÖAW President Heinz Faßmann visits CeMM

We had the honor to welcome Prof. Heinz Faßmann, President of the Austrian Academy of Sciences at CeMM! This is his first visit since he became ÖAW President in July this year, and it was a good meeting to present the institute, our research efforts and the innovation carried out by our scientists.

President Faßmann was welcomed by CeMM Scientific Director Giulio Superti-Furga and Administrative Director Anita Ender, who guided him through the building. He met our Faculty members in the CeMM Brain Lounge, where innovative ideas at CeMM are born, and during a house tour, PhD student, Postdoc and Technical Assistant representatives introduced…

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First author Alexander Hanzl and last author Georg Winter (© Laura Alvarez / CeMM).

Preventing resistance in cancer therapy

The latest developmental drugs, particularly for the use in oncology, rely on the targeted degradation of harmful pathogenic proteins. In a recent study, researchers at CeMM, the Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and the University of Dundee (UK) identify potential resistance mechanisms and provide insights on how to overcome them.

Traditional targeted cancer therapies mainly rely on drugs that bind pathogenic proteins and inhibit their function. The latest development of drugs has brought forward chemical molecules known as degraders, which force the targeted degradation of disease relevant…

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RESOLUTE group photo at the Consortium Meeting on October 20 and 21, 2022.

3rd REsolution and 7th RESOLUTE Consortia Meetings

From October 19 and 20-21, 2022, the consortia meetings of REsolution and RESOLUTE took place in Berlin. The event, hosted by Bayer, gathered 60 international participants. The REsolution and RESOLUTE consortia are public-private research partnerships supported by the Innovative Health Initiative (IHI), the European Union and EFPIA, coordinated by CeMM and Pfizer, and with partners from academia and the pharmaceutical industry. The RESOLUTE project aims at intensifying worldwide research on solute carrier (SLC) transporters and to establish them as a novel target class for medical research, while the REsolution project aims at understanding…

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First author Nadine Bayer and last author Georg Stary (© Anna Yuwen / CeMM).

Skin microbiome identified as factor in stem cell transplants

Organ damage occurs in up to 70 percent of patients in the first few months following stem cell transplant. The precise reasons for this potentially life-threatening reaction have long been the subject of scientific research. Researchers led by CeMM Adjunct Principal Investigator Georg Stary from the Department of Dermatology at MedUni Vienna and Vienna General Hospital  in collaboration with the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Rare and Undiagnosed Diseases have recently identified bacterial proliferation on the skin as a factor associated with the occurrence of the complication. The findings recently published in the medical journal…

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From L to R: Thomas Reiberger, Benedikt  Simbrunner, Oleksandr Petrenko, Jiri Reinis and Stefan Kubicek (© Anna Yuwen/CeMM).

A simple online calculator detects liver cirrhosis patients at high risk for clinical complications

Researchers at CeMM, the Medical University of Vienna (MedUni Vienna), and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Rare and Undiagnosed Diseases (LBI-RUD) joined efforts to use their expertise in machine learning and management of patients with cirrhosis to develop a non-invasive algorithm that can help clinicians to identify patients with cirrhosis at highest risk for severe complications. Cirrhosis develops in response to repeated injury to the liver, such as fatty liver disease or viral hepatitis. Initially, cirrhosis is mostly asymptomatic, thus, early identification of risk factors for severe complications represents an unmet clinical need.

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Last author Georg Stary and first author Johanna Strobl (© Laura Alvarez / CeMM).

Study demonstrates for the first time that ticks weaken skin's immune response

Hitherto, scientists have not fully understood why ticks are such dangerous disease vectors. A research team led by Johanna Strobl and CeMM Adjunct Principal Investigator Georg Stary from MedUni Vienna's Department of Dermatology shows that tick saliva inhibits the skin's defence function, thereby increasing the risk of diseases such as tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) or Lyme disease. The study was recently published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

The researchers carried out their investigations on skin samples from volunteers and also on models of human skin, mimicking the bite of the most common European tick (Ixodes ricinus). In…

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New Principal Investigator Laura de Rooij (©Laura Alvarez / CeMM).

New CeMM Principal Investigator Laura de Rooij

On September 1, 2022, Laura de Rooij joined CeMM as a new Principal Investigator. Laura de Rooij will combine wet and dry lab biology to decipher the role of circulating endothelial cells (CECs) in human blood. Her research will advance the understanding and highlight the potential of this cell type in the treatment of age-associated diseases, expanding, thus, CeMM’s expertise in the field of aging.

The rare circulating endothelial (progenitor) cell has clinical relevance for its potential key role in numerous diseases associated with aging, such as cardiovascular disease. However, the lack of research as well as molecular definition and…

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Last author Stefan Kubicek and first author Tamara Casteels (© CeMM).

SMNDC1 loss induces alpha cells to produce insulin

Beta cells in the pancreas are responsible for producing the vital hormone insulin. In diabetes, these cells are either destroyed or functionally impaired, resulting in elevated blood sugar levels in the body. Researchers led by Principal Investigator Stefan Kubicek at CeMM, the Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, have now shown that alpha cells, which are also located in the pancreas, can be stimulated to produce insulin by targeting the chromatin protein SMNDC1. The study, published in Cell Reports, identifies a new molecular mechanism regulating the insulin hormone that plays an essential role for…

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