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Insights and opportunities at the crossroads of cancer and neuroscience

Abstract

The biological and pathological importance of mutual interactions between the nervous system and cancer have become increasingly evident. The emerging field of cancer neuroscience aims to decipher key signalling factors of cancer–nervous system crosstalk and to exploit these modulators as targets for improved anticancer therapies. Here we discuss the key achievements in cancer neuroscience research, inspire further interactions on a variety of related research topics, and provide a roadmap for future studies.

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Fig. 1: Neural input drives tumour progression.
Fig. 2: Reciprocal interactions between cancer and the nervous system.

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Acknowledgements

F.W. is supported by a grant from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (SFB 1389) and by intramural funding from Heidelberg University (Cancer Neuroscience Initiative). C.P. is funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (grant no. 451894423). Figures 1 and 2 are created with BioRender.com.

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Correspondence to Frank Winkler.

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F.W. is one of the inventors of patent WO 2017/020982A1 ‘Agents for use in the treatment of glioma’. This patent covers new treatment strategies that all target the formation and function of TMs in glioma. F.W. reports research collaboration with DC Europa Limited, Glaxo Smith Kline, Genentech and Boehringer, and is co-founder of Divide&Conquer. C.P. is one of the inventors of a patent on whole-body clearing and imaging-related technologies.

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Pan, C., Winkler, F. Insights and opportunities at the crossroads of cancer and neuroscience. Nat Cell Biol 24, 1454–1460 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41556-022-00978-w

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