In the area of Health Innovation, several research groups at PSI are engaged in the study of fundamental questions regarding biology and cancer therapy. For example, they explore the structure of proteins – extremely complex biomolecules that are responsible for many different functions in organisms. Using PSI’s large research facilities, scientists also explore processes in biological tissue in order to fully understand their function and the development of specific diseases or deterioration processes. The ultimate goal is to find medicines that allow people to live as healthy a life as possible.
Patients with specific types of cancer are treated at the proton therapy facility on the PSI campus. Radiopharmaceuticals provide cancer treatments for very small tumours distributed throughout the body.
Find out more at: Overview Health Innovation
New details of the transmission of stimuli in living organisms unveiled
Researchers unveil new details of how cells in a living organism process stimuli. So-called G-proteins, which help conduct external stimuli that reach a cell into its interior, play a central role here. For the first time, the study shows which parts of the G-proteins are vital for their function. Researchers from the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI, ETH Zurich, the pharmaceutical company Roche and the British MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology report their results in the journals Nature and Nature Structural and Molecular Biology.
Fighting tumours with protons
Interview with Damien Charles WeberDamien Charles Weber has been the head and chief physician of the Centre for Proton Therapy, the only centre of its kind in Switzerland, since 2013. In this interview, he talks about the successes of proton therapy in cancer treatment and the objectives for the next few years in this field.
Together, not alone
Decoding biomolecules at SwissFEL and SLSProteins are a coveted but stubborn research object. A method developed for x-ray free-electron lasers and PSI’s future SwissFEL should now help researchers to make good headway in this field. It involves x-raying many small, identical protein samples consecutively at short intervals, thereby avoiding the main problem that protein research has faced thus far: producing samples in a sufficient size.
Phase contrast improves mammography
Phase contrast X-ray imaging has enabled researchers at ETH Zurich, the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) and the Kantonsspital Baden to perform mammographic imaging that allows greater precision in the assessment of breast cancer and its precursors. The technique could improve biopsy diagnostics and follow-up.
An infection tool with a metallic core
Thanks to the analysis of protein samples at the PSI, Lausanne researchers have managed to demonstrate which instrument bacteria use to transmit diseasesResearchers from ETH Lausanne EPFL have described how a particular strain of bacteria transmits diseases with unprecedented precision. The team of scientists headed by Petr Leiman, an assistant professor at the EPFL’s Laboratory of Structural Biology and Biophysics, demonstrated that the tip of a bacterial infection tool consists of a PAAR protein, which envelops a metal atom and tapers off to a sharp point. The findings are based on measurements carried out at the Swiss Light Source (SLS), one of the three large research facilities at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI).
How botox binds to neurons
Botox is a highly dangerous toxin that causes paralysis. In cosmetic applications it is used to temporarily eliminate wrinkles and in medicine as a treatment for migraine or to correct strabismus. An international research team has now established how the toxin molecule binds to the neuron whose activity is then blocked by the poison. The findings may be useful for the development of improved drugs with a lower risk of overdosage.
A promising new method for the diagnosis of breast cancer
A new mammography procedure that could generate substantial added value for the diagnosis of breast cancer in medical practice has just been published in the scientific journal Investigative Radiology. The method was developed at PSI in cooperation with the Certified Breast Centre at the Kantonsspital (cantonal hospital in) Baden and Philips as an industrial partner and is making the tiniest tissue changes visible. This has the potential to improve the early detection of breast cancer. Further studies in women suffering from breast cancer are to prove in a definitive manner the added value of the method.
Vitamins join fight against cancer
Cristina Müller, from the Center of Radiopharmaceutical Sciences at Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), is researching a cancer therapy with radioactively labelled folate compounds. These enter the tumour cell unimpeded like a Trojan horse which is then killed as a consequence of emitted particle-radiation she explains.
Pancreas: new procedure detects tumours more efficiently
Better than CT and MRI: researchers at the Inselspital Berne, the University Hospital Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute have devised a new method to detect small tumours in the pancreas.
A glimpse inside the control centres of cell communication
Numerous processes taking place within our body, such as sight, smell or taste, are accomplished by an important family of sensors on cell surfaces, which are known as G protein-coupled receptors (GPCR). Researchers have now compared the hitherto known structures of GPCRs and discovered a stabilising framework of fine struts that is characteristic for the architecture of the entire GPCR family. Knowledge about this constructional feature, which has been conserved over the course of evolution, can be of significant assistance in the development of new pharmaceuticals.
How stabilised cell fibres prevent cancer cell division
Anti-cancer drugs are used under the heading of Chemotherapeutics to prevent cells from dividing. Because the cells in a growing tumour divide more frequently than others, tumour cells are damaged more severely. Scientists at the Paul Scherrer Institute and the ETH Zurich have now clarified the exact mechanism of action of one class of these drugs. The data acquired is so accurate, that targeted drugs could now be developed that are even better suited to fulfil their task.
Alzheimer plaques in 3D
Researchers have succeeded in generating detailed three-dimensional images of the spatial distribution of amyloid plaques in the brains of mice afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease. The new technique used in the investigations provides an extremely precise research tool for a better understanding of the disease. In the future, scientists hope that it will also provide the basis for a new and reliable diagnosis method. The results were achieved within a joint project of two research teams à one from the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) and ETH Zurich, the other from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL).
Wenn die Datenleitung in die Zelle versagt
Lebende Zellen empfangen dauernd Informationen von aussen, die über Rezeptoren in das Zellinnere weitergeleitet werden. Genetisch bedingte Fehler in solchen Rezeptoren sind der Grund für zahlreiche Erbkrankheiten darunter verschiedene hormonelle Funktionsstörungen oder Nachtblindheit. Forschern des Paul Scherrer Instituts ist es nun erstmals gelungen, die exakte Struktur eines solchen fehlerhaften Rezeptors aufzuklären.This news release is only available in German.
Investigation of a new method for the diagnosis of cancer in breast tissue
The Paul Scherrer Institute PSI has developed a new breast cancer diagnostic method, and is now carrying out first tests on non-preserved human tissue in conjunction with Kantonsspital Baden AG. This new method should be able to reveal structures that cannot be seen using conventional mammography. Scientists from the research department at Philips are currently investigating the use of this process as the basis for application in medical practice.
X-ray methods help to understand brain disorders better
An international team of researchers has developed a new method for making detailed X-ray images of brain tissue, which has been used to make the myelin sheaths of nerve fibres visible. Damage to these protective sheaths can lead to various disorders, such as multiple sclerosis. The facility for creating these images of the protective sheaths of nerve cells is being operated at the Swiss Light Source (SLS), at the Paul Scherrer Institute.
Dem Rätsel der Centriolen-Bildung auf der Spur
In menschlichen Zellen finden sich stammesgeschichtlich sehr alte Funktionseinheiten, die als Centriolen bezeichnet werden. Ein Forscherteam vom PSI und der ETH Lausanne hat nun erstmals ein Modell für die Bildung der Centriolen vorgestellt. Das erstaunende Ergebnis ist, dass die Neuner-Symmetrie des Centriols durch die Fähigkeit eines einzelnen Proteins sich selbst zu organisieren zustande kommt.This news release is only available in French and German.
Effizienter Gentransfer nun auch in Säugerzellen möglich
Wissenschaftler am Paul Scherrer Institut entwickelten ein neues Verfahren, das auch zur Entwicklung von neuen Medikamenten genutzt werden kann.Die Gentechnik ist aus der modernen Biologie nicht mehr wegzudenken. Sie liefert Werkzeuge, mit denen Forscher Gene aus dem Erbgut von Zellen herausschneiden, verändern und einfügen können. Die stabile Einführung mehrerer Gene in Säugetierzellen gilt zwar als Schlüsseltechnologie, die verfügbaren Methoden waren bislang aber äusserst ineffizient. Wissenschaftler am PSI haben nun eine neuartige Technik entwickelt.This news release is only available in German.
25 Jahre erfolgreiche Behandlung von Augentumoren am PSI
Heute haben die Physiker und Ärzte des PSI diesen Erfolg mit einem Festsymposium gefeiert. In Anwesenheit von geladenen Gästen aus Forschung, Medizin und Politik wurde dabei auch die brandneue Behandlungsanlage OPTIS 2 eingeweiht. Diese Bestrahlungseinrichtung befindet sich nicht nur technisch auf dem allerneusten Stand, sondern überzeugt auch durch ihre Patientenfreundlichkeit.This news release is only available in German.
High-resolution method for computed nano-tomography developed
High-resolution method for computed nano-tomography developedA novel nano-tomography method developed by a team of researchers from the Technische Universität München, the Paul Scherrer Institute and the ETH Zurich opens the door to computed tomography examinations of minute structures at nanometer resolutions. The new method makes possible, for example, three-dimensional internal imaging of fragile bone structures.
New X-ray technique distinguishes between that which previously looked the same
Images generated using the phase-contrast technique allow one to distinguish between tissue types such as muscle, cartilage, tendons or soft-tissue tumours that look virtually identical in conventional X-ray images. Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute and the Chinese Academy of Science have further developed the technique to make it easier to use in the future. This could help in the detection of tumours or in the identification of hazardous objects in luggage.