Leukemias involving reshuffling or rearrangement of the mixed lineage leukemia (MLL) gene, known as MLL-rearranged or MLL-r leukemias, account for 70 to 80 percent of acute leukemias in infants under one year old. In these blood cancers, a subset of acute myeloid and acute lymphoid leukemias (AML and ALL), the MLL gene breaks and reattaches to the wrong section of the chromosome. Such…
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The distance from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to Stanford, California can be measured in miles or kilometers, but Harvard undergraduate student Esther Elonga measures that journey in adventures. “I like the fact that life is like a Choose Your Own Adventure,” said Elonga, who is also a researcher at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. “Just go.…
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Speech problems such as stammering or stuttering plague millions of people worldwide, including 3 million Americans. President Biden himself struggled with stuttering as a child and has largely overcome it with speech therapy. The cause of stuttering has long been a mystery, but researchers at Tufts University are beginning to unlock its causes and a strategy to develop potential treatments…
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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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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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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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