Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital have designed a 3D lung-on-a-chip model of the distal lung and alveolar structures. The goal is to better understand respiratory diseases, including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, influenza, pneumonia and, most recently COVID-19. The team currently is studying how COVID-19 viral particles travel through airways and impact pulmonary cells. This new chip model enables…
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Dr. Angela Ho and Christina Gallo (PhD in Pharmacology student and member of the Ho/Beffert lab) recently received grants from the National Institute on Aging the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Ho received a R21 grant from NIA/NIH. The project’s goal is to determine the specificity of the cell-permeable APP mimetic peptide to disrupt the APP-Mint interaction and reduce Ab…
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New research led by a team at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) points to a promising strategy to boost tumors’ intake of cancer drugs, thereby increasing the effectiveness of chemotherapy treatments. The group’s findings are published in Nature Nanotechnology. Getting enough anticancer drugs into a tumor is often difficult, and a potential strategy to overcome this challenge involves binding the medications to…
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Antibodies are a vital part of our immune system, but they don’t just appear when they’re needed. They are made in immune cells called B cells. Most B cells, known as B2 cells, produce antibodies in response to a pathogen or a vaccine, providing defense and immunity against infections. But a small subset of long-lived B cells, known as B1…
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Plotting the End of Lyme Disease

As people weary of being cooped up during a pandemic winter look forward to a summer outside, residents across the northeastern United States are once again confronted with a familiar virulent pathogen lurking in the woods and fields. Unlike coronavirus, however, this dangerous microorganism doesn’t float through the air—it enters the body through the bite of a tick. Lyme disease…
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For all animals, eliminating some cells is a necessary part of embryonic development. Living cells are also naturally sloughed off in mature tissues; for example, the lining of the intestine turns over every few days. One way that organisms get rid of unneeded cells is through a process called extrusion, which allows cells to be squeezed out of a layer…
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Histones are rapidly loaded on the HSV genome upon entry into the nucleus of human fibroblasts, but the effects of histone loading on viral replication have not been fully defined. We showed recently that ATRX is dispensable for de novo deposition of H3 to HSV genomes after nuclear entry but restricted infection through maintenance of viral heterochromatin. To further investigate the roles…
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Improving the Efficacy of Therapeutic Cancer Vaccines

Over the past several decades, researchers have worked to develop vaccines that support the treatment of cancer. There are currently two FDA-approved vaccines that prevent cancer: the HPV vaccine and the Hepatitis B vaccine. However, only one dendritic cell-based vaccine (Sipuleucel-T) has been approved by the FDA to treat existing cancer (others are still in clinical trials) and the overall…
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The human immune system doesn’t just protect our health, it reflects it. Each encounter with a potential disease-causing agent causes the body to produce specific immune agents — proteins known as antibodies and T-cell receptors — tailor-made to recognize and destroy the invader. Tasked with preventing re-infection, antibodies and T-cell receptors (TCR) from your previous encounters circulate throughout the body…
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