Atlas of Antiviral Defenses

As SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, continues to evolve, immunologists and infectious disease experts are eager to know whether new variants have grown resistant to the human antibodies that recognized and fought off the initial versions of the virus. Vaccines against COVID-19, developed based on the chemistry and genetic code of this initial virus, may confer less protection if…
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Long thought of as a generic alarm system, the locus coeruleus may actually be a sophisticated regulator of learning and behavior, an MIT team posits. Small and seemingly specialized, the brain’s locus coeruleus (LC) region has been stereotyped for its outsized export of the arousal-stimulating neuromodulator norepinephrine. In a new paper and with a new grant from the National Institutes…
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Current therapies for gum disease involve cleaning pathogenic bacteria away from the root of a patient’s teeth. But the bad bacteria always return after approximately three months, necessitating long-term management of the disease and consistent maintenance. Dr. Ning Yu, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Forsyth Institute, is working on a better treatment for periodontitis. “We are investigating the host…
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It can be difficult to get drugs to disease sites along the gastrointestinal tract, which spans the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small and large intestine, and anus. Invasive treatments can take hours as patients wait for adequate amounts of drugs to be absorbed at the right location. The same problem is holding back newer treatments like gene-altering therapies. Now the MIT…
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Although activating mutations of the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) membrane receptor occur in ∼10% of neuroblastoma (NB) tumors, the role of the wild-type (WT) receptor, which is aberrantly expressed in most non-mutated cases, is unclear. Both WT and mutant proteins undergo extracellular domain (ECD) cleavage. Here, we map the cleavage site to Asn654-Leu655 and demonstrate that cleavage inhibition of WT…
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Scientists have come up with a new way to get vaccinated against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, and it comes with a twist: No needles needed. This vaccine would instead be aerosolized so it could be inhaled by a patient. Researchers have tested this vaccination strategy in mice, and it elicited a strong immune response. A team led by researchers…
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Renal medullary carcinomas (RMCs) are rare kidney cancers that occur in adolescents and young adults of African ancestry. Although RMC is associated with the sickle cell trait and somatic loss of the tumor suppressor, SMARCB1, the ancestral origins of RMC remain unknown. Further, characterization of structural variants (SVs) involving SMARCB1 in RMC remains limited. The authors used linked-read genome sequencing…
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Research by scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Boston University School of Medicine may help to explain why cancer cells that spread to lymph nodes (LN) can resist attack by immune cells. Their studies found that an increased physical force—known as solid stress—in metastatic lymph nodes effectively disrupts the ability of immune system cells to infiltrate the lymph node…
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Researchers Discover How Hunger Boosts Learning about Food in Mice

Over the last decade, investigators at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) have been at the forefront of the effort to identify the small population of neurons deep within the brain that cause hunger, but precisely how these cells and the unpleasant feeling of hunger they cause actually drive an animal to find and eat food remained unclear. Now, a study published…
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