Many proteins are useful as drugs for disorders such as diabetes, cancer, and arthritis. Synthesizing artificial versions of these proteins is a time-consuming process that requires genetically engineering microbes or other cells to produce the desired protein. MIT chemists have devised a protocol to dramatically reduce the amount of time required to generate synthetic proteins. Their tabletop automated flow synthesis…
Read More
By analyzing tumors from patients treated with immunotherapy for advanced kidney cancer in three clinical trials, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute scientists have identified several features of the tumors that influence their response to immune checkpoint inhibitor drugs. The research was presented during the Clinical Science Symposium at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting and published simultaneously in Nature Medicine. The researchers say the study…
Read More
Sherlock Biosciences, an Engineering Biology company dedicated to making diagnostic testing better, faster and more affordable, today announced that Open Philanthropy is advancing $7.5 million in grant funding to launch the Sherlock Innovation Lab and accelerate the development of Sherlock’s at-home COVID-19 diagnostic utilizing its INSPECTR™ platform. In 2019, Open Philanthropy awarded Sherlock a $17.5 million non-dilutive grant to develop its SHERLOCK™…
Read More

Next Frontier in Bacterial Design

From bacteria-made insulin that obviates the use of animal pancreases to a better understanding of infectious diseases and improved treatments, genetic engineering of bacteria has redefined modern medicine. Yet, serious limitations remain that hamper progress in numerous other areas. A decades-old bacterial engineering technique called recombineering (recombination-mediated genetic engineering) allows scientists to scarlessly swap pieces of DNA of their choosing for…
Read More
The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is recognizing Phillip A. Sharp, PhD, Fellow of the AACR Academy and Nobel Laureate, with the 17th AACR Award for Lifetime Achievement in Cancer Research. Sharp, an Institute professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, is being honored for his exceptional body of groundbreaking and high-impact basic research,…
Read More
The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is recognizing Tyler Jacks, PhD, Fellow of the AACR Academy, with the 2020 AACR Princess Takamatsu Memorial Lectureship. Jacks is director of the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), co-director of the Ludwig Center at MIT, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. He is…
Read More
About one out of every six genes loses one of its two alleles in the average cancer, representing a profound difference between cancer and normal cells that has not been sufficiently exploited therapeutically. In the case of genes that are essential to cell survival, if we can inhibit the allele remaining in the cancer cells while leaving the other allele functionally intact, we might kill the cancer cells without harming normal cells. This paper represents the first systematic exploration of which common alleles in the population might be exploited in this fashion.
Read More
In order to understand our biology, researchers need to investigate not only what cells are doing, but also more specifically what is happening inside of cells at the level of organelles, the specialized structures that perform unique tasks to keep the cell functioning. However, most methods for analysis take place at the level of the whole cell. Because a specific…
Read More
Novartis’s gene therapy unit AveXis has signed a manufacturing deal to help produce a novel genetic COVID-19 vaccine candidate being developed by U.S. researchers in Massachusetts, a spokeswoman for the Swiss drugmaker confirmed on Thursday. Massachusetts General Hospital and Massachusetts Eye and Ear are developing a vaccine candidate that relies on adeno-associated viral (AAV) vector technology to produce immunity. The…
Read More
The National Science Foundation (NSF) would get a sweeping remake—including a new name, a huge infusion of cash, and responsibility for maintaining U.S. global leadership in innovation—under bipartisan bills that have just been introduced in both houses of Congress. Many scientific leaders are thrilled that the bills call for giving NSF an additional $100 billion over 5 years to carry…
Read More