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Koln, Germany

The University of Cologne is the sixth oldest university in Central Europe and, with 38,000 students and 4,000 postgraduates, one of the largest universities in Germany. It is furthermore the German founding member of the Global Alliance in Management Education . Since 2012 the university was awarded in the German Universities Excellence Initiative for its overall concept. Wikipedia.

The management of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is undergoing profound changes. Several new drugs have been approved for CLL treatment (fludarabine, bendamustine, and the monoclonal antibodies alemtuzumab, rituximab, and ofatumumab) and many more drugs are in advanced clinical development to be approved for this disease. In addition, the extreme heterogeneity of the clinical course and our improved ability to foresee the prognosis of this leukemia by the use of clinical, biological, and genetic parameters now allow us to characterize patients with a very mild onset and course, an intermediate prognosis, or a very aggressive course with high-risk leukemia. Therefore, it becomes increasingly challenging to select the right treatment strategy for each condition. This article summarizes the currently available diagnostic and therapeutic tools and gives an integrated recommendation of how to manage CLL in 2013. Moreover, I propose a strategy how we might integrate the novel agents for CLL therapy into sequential treatment approaches in the near future. Source

Baker M.J.,University of Cologne
Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in biology

A decline in mitochondrial activity has been associated with aging and is a hallmark of many neurological diseases. Surveillance mechanisms acting at the molecular, organellar, and cellular level monitor mitochondrial integrity and ensure the maintenance of mitochondrial proteostasis. Here we will review the central role of mitochondrial chaperones and proteases, the cytosolic ubiquitin-proteasome system, and the mitochondrial unfolded response in this interconnected quality control network, highlighting the dual function of some proteases in protein quality control within the organelle and for the regulation of mitochondrial fusion and mitophagy. Source

The cell-surface glycoprotein CD44 is expressed in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), but its functional role in this disease is poorly characterized. We therefore investigated the contribution of CD44 to CLL in a murine disease model, the Eμ-TCL1 transgenic mouse, and in CLL patients. Surface CD44 increased during murine CLL development. CD44 expression in human CLL was induced by stimulation with interleukin 4/soluble CD40 ligand and by stroma cell contact. Engagement of CD44 by its natural ligands, hyaluronic acid or chondroitin sulfate, protected CLL cells from apoptosis, while anti-CD44 small interfering RNAs impaired tumor cell viability. Deletion of CD44 during TCL1-driven murine leukemogenesis reduced the tumor burden in peripheral blood and spleen and led to a prolonged overall survival. The leukemic cells from these CD44 knockout animals revealed lower levels of antiapoptotic MCL1, a higher propensity to apoptosis, and a diminished B-cell receptor kinase response. The inhibitory anti-CD44 antibodies IM7 and A3D8 impaired the viability of CLL cells in suspension cultures, in stroma contact models, and in vivo via MCL1 reduction and by effector caspase activation. Taken together, CD44 expression in CLL is mediated by the tumor microenvironment. As a coreceptor, CD44 promotes leukemogenesis by regulating stimuli of MCL1 expression. Moreover, CD44 can be addressed therapeutically in CLL by specific antibodies. Source

De Visser J.A.G.M.,Wageningen University | Krug J.,University of Cologne
Nature Reviews Genetics

The genotype-fitness map (that is, the fitness landscape) is a key determinant of evolution, yet it has mostly been used as a superficial metaphor because we know little about its structure. This is now changing, as real fitness landscapes are being analysed by constructing genotypes with all possible combinations of small sets of mutations observed in phylogenies or in evolution experiments. In turn, these first glimpses of empirical fitness landscapes inspire theoretical analyses of the predictability of evolution. Here, we review these recent empirical and theoretical developments, identify methodological issues and organizing principles, and discuss possibilities to develop more realistic fitness landscape models. © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved. Source

Giernoth R.,University of Cologne
Angewandte Chemie - International Edition

In recent years, ionic liquids have attracted the attention of many chemists as a result of their unique properties as solvents for chemical transformations. The focus of this Minireview is on applications of socalled "task-specific" ionic liquids, whereby the role of the ionic liquid goes beyond that of a solvent. Such ionic liquids find application in a wide range of areas, including catalysis, synthesis, gas absorption, and analysis. © 2010 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA,. Source

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