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Tala Shahin and Kaan Boztug. Photo credit: St. Anna Children’s Cancer Research Institute, Ian Ehm

A disturbed Helios-dependent epigenetic regulation mechanism causes T and B cell defects in an inborn immune disease.

From the god of sun to immunodeficiency: international research team identifies new rare disease affecting hematopoiesis and immunity

A disturbed Helios-dependent epigenetic regulation mechanism causes T and B cell defects in an inborn immune disease. 

Together with international collaborators, scientists at the St. Anna Children’s Cancer Research Institute discover a new inborn error of hematopoiesis and immunity, caused by an inherited genetic defect of the transcription factor Helios. In their research project, the team was able to define previously unknown roles of Helios in immune activation and homeostasis. The study is now published in the high-ranked scientific journal Science Immunology.

The immune system is one of the most complex and fascinating networks in the…

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Simona Saluzzo and Georg Stary (©Laura Alvarez / CeMM).

Prompt initiation of antiretroviral therapy reduces cancer risk in HIV patients

HIV patients have an increased risk of developing skin and mucosal cancers, even though HIV is no longer detectable in their blood due to antiretroviral therapy. A new study by MedUni Vienna's Department of Dermatology, the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Rare and Undiagnosed Diseases (LBI-RUD) and the CeMM Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences now shows that the time of starting antiretroviral therapy can influence tumour development. The results have recently been published in the specialist journal “Immunity”.

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infects and destroys immune cells that carry a specific…

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Last author Jörg Menche and first author Pisanu Buphamalai (©Laura Alvarez / CeMM).

Multiplex network improves diagnosis and analysis of rare diseases

Rare diseases are usually caused by a single genetic defect. Nevertheless, the search for the cause and the assessment of the effects is highly complex and difficult. Scientist Jörg Menche, Adjunct Principal Investigator at the CeMM, Professor at the University of Vienna and Research Group Leader at the Max Perutz Labs, and his team have now developed a multiplex network that maps all genes and their interactions on multiple levels and improves the identification of genetic defects and the assessment of their consequences.

 In contrast to common diseases, which are usually characterized by a complex interaction of multiple genetic and…

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Participants at the virtual 1st REsolution Consortium Meeting (© CeMM).

1st REsolution Consortium Meeting 21 October 2021

On 21 October 2021, the REsolution consortium held its first consortium meeting online with 30 participants. The REsolution consortium is a public-private research partnership supported by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), the European Union and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), with nine partners from academia and the pharmaceutical industry. With a duration of two years, the project aims at understanding how genetic variants in humans affect the function of cellular solute carrier transporters (SLCs).

Scientists from different work packages described the progress on the collection and…

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Artist Adriana Czernin with CeMM PhD students in the inauguration event (© Franzi Kreis / CeMM).

Artist Adriana Czernin designed chair’s backrest for CeMM’s Brain Lounge

On 19 October 2021, CeMM welcomed artist Adriana Czernin for the inauguration of the new chair’s backrest that she has specially designed for CeMM’s Brain Lounge. During the event, Adriana Czernin presented her piece of art entitled “4-sided 3-angle”, and discussed with CeMM PhD students the design process, and the combination of abstract art with the idea of perspective in her work. 
 
CeMM’s Brain Lounge is located on the 8th floor of CeMM’s building, overlooking the impressive Vienna’s skyline. It was originally built as a special space where participants can abandon their daily professional routine and embark on a new journey to ignite…

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Prof. David M. Livingston (© Michael Sazel / CeMM).

Obituary David M. Livingston

It is with great sadness that we learn of the decease of Prof. David M. Livingston, former Deputy Director, Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, Boston, USA. David Livingston was the Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of CeMM from its very beginning until 2018, and had a huge influence on the development and success of our institute. We lose an extraordinary scientist and highly esteemed advisor. His constructive criticism, encouraging words and his humor and good spirit will be dearly missed by the CeMM Directors and by the entire CeMM community. Our thoughts are with his wife Emily, his family, friends and collaborators.

David Livingston…

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From left to right: Laura Marie Gail, Georg Stary and Johanna Strobl (©Laura Alvarez / CeMM).

Stem cell transplant: How skin-derived T cells can damage other organs

More than 40,000 allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplants are carried out worldwide every year, mostly for patients suffering from leukemia or other diseases of the hematopoietic system. Very often, the so-called graft-versus-host reaction occurs, an inflammatory disease that can affect different organs and is caused by an unwanted defense reaction of the donor cells and the body’s own T cells. Scientists at CeMM, Medical University of Vienna and LBI-RUD, led by Georg Stary, now show how these endogenous, tissue-derived T cells enter other organs, such as the intestine, via the blood and contribute to inflammation there. The study

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Philipp Staber and Giulio Superti-Furga (c) CeMM

First worldwide personalized-medicine study using a functional test demonstrates clinical feasibility and efficacy of individualized therapy in leukemia and lymphoma patients

Standard therapy for advanced recurring aggressive, hematological malignancies, such as leukemias and lymphomas, have a limited effect with patients experiencing short survival times. A study at the Vienna General Hospital conducted by physicians and scientists from Medical University Vienna and CeMM, as well as ETH Zurich for the first time demonstrated that therapy selection based on results from a functional test is clinically possible and effective in patients with recurrent hematologic cancers. The researchers quantified drug effects on single cells from real-time patient biopsies using a novel experimental technique, resulting in 56…

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The RESOLUTE consortium in Basel (c) Michael Nyffenegger;

6th RESOLUTE Consortium Meeting in Basel

RESOLUTE is a public-private partnership with 13 partners from academia and industry with an overarching goal: To trigger an escalation in the appreciation and intensity of research on solute carriers (SLCs) worldwide and to establish SLCs as a tractable target class for medical research and development. The project is coordinated by CeMM and Pfizer. 
From 4th to 7th October 2021, Novartis and Vifor Pharma hosted the 6th RESOLUTE Consortium Meeting in Basel (Switzerland) and virtually. Around 100 participants joined the hybrid event and discussed their projects and publication strategies.

Participants were welcomed at the Novartis campus and…

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Cachexia: How do immune responses contribute to weight loss?

Cachexia is the name of a syndrome that is associated with numerous chronic diseases. It refers to weight loss induced by shrinkage of both fat reserves and muscle tissue. Although the occurrence of cachexia can have serious implications on patients’ health and survival, there are many aspects of this syndrome that are unknown and therapeutic options remain very limited. Scientists from Andreas Bergthaler's research group at  CeMM emphasize the need for more research into cachexia in their recent publication in Nature Reviews Immunology. In order to counteract cachexia and numerous other diseases, a better understanding of the interplay…

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