The American Heart Association — the world’s leading voluntary organization dedicated to a world of longer, healthier lives — and global philanthropist and technology visionary Bill Gates, have committed to advancing the scientific evidence base related to brain health and dementia by funding a $3.3 million health technology research joint initiative. The project will specifically fund a new brain health…
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Several thousand strains of bacteria live in the human gut. Some of these are associated with disease, while others have beneficial effects on human health. Figuring out the precise role of each of these bacteria can be difficult, because many of them can’t be grown in lab studies using human tissue. This difficulty is especially pronounced for species that cannot…
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Inducible expression of neoantigens in mice would enable the study of endogenous antigen-specific naïve T cell responses in disease and infection, but has been difficult to generate because leaky antigen expression in the thymus results in central T cell tolerance. Here we develop inversion-induced joined neoantigen (NINJA), using RNA splicing, DNA recombination and three levels of regulation to prevent leakiness…
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Harvard Medical School researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital will soon begin testing an existing drug, dornase alfa, in patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia and respiratory failure. The randomized, controlled clinical trial aims to enroll 60 adults and children over age 3 who require mechanical ventilation. Get more HMS news here Dornase alfa, also known as…
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Pfizer’s disclosure last week that it may reverse plans to in-shore manufacturing facilities and science jobs to the United States is just the tip of the iceberg of the problems we’ll face if President Trump implements his executive order to implement foreign reference pricing to determine drug prices under Medicare. The order announced July 31 is the long-threatened nuclear option against biopharmaceutical…
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About 50% of people who take the drug infliximab for inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease, end up becoming resistant or unresponsive to it. Scientists might be able to catch problems like this one earlier in the drug development process, when drugs move from testing in animals to clinical trials, with a new computational model developed by researchers from Purdue…
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Emily Balskus Wins $1M Waterman Award

Two plush microbes stare up at everyone who visits Emily Balskus’ office. One, a buttercup yellow, mimics the fuzzy hotdog-shaped E. coli. Another, baker’s yeast or Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is just a white sphere with eyes. Far larger than living microorganisms (and far cuter), these cuddly counterparts reveal not just Balskus’ research area, but also her admiration for her subjects. Most people…
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When COVID-19 researchers started working with us to help them share their reagents, we knew our role in fighting the pandemic could be even more impactful by reaching more scientists. Many members of the scientific community support open sharing. But, one critical part was missing when the COVID-19 plasmids first became available: distribution was limited to academic scientists. Expanding plasmid…
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Advancing the understanding of synovial sarcoma, a highly aggressive and rare cancer of young people, scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have discovered how an abnormal protein misdirects and disrupts the control of gene expression in cells, causing the aberrant activation of normally repressed genes that contribute to the malignant growth of sarcoma tumors. The investigators, led by Cigall Kadoch, PhD, say the new insight…
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The National Science Foundation has awarded a $26 million grant to an ambitious collaboration involving the Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Engineering in Medicine and Surgery (CEMS) to establish an engineering research center (ERC) that will develop, refine and expand technologies to “stop biologic time” by preserving, stabilizing and suspending living material. Co-led by Mass General and the University of Minnesota’s Institute…
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