When normal cells experience DNA damage, they present proteins on their outer surfaces that serve as a “kill me” signal to both T cells and natural killer (NK) cells, members of the immune system that come and destroy the labeled cells. Some cancer cells, however, have figured out how to clip those proteins off of their surfaces, allowing them to…
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The inextricable link between our brains and our bodies has been gaining increasing recognition among researchers and clinicians over recent years. Studies have shown that the brain-body pathway is bidirectional — meaning that our mental state can influence our physical health and vice versa. But exactly how the two interact is less clear. A new research center at MIT, funded…
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Remembrance of Viral Encounters Past

How does the immune system remember and recognize viral invaders it has encountered in the past? A trio of newly published studies of people infected with SARS-CoV-2, vaccinated against the virus, or both, are providing tantalizing new clues about the factors that influence the speed and magnitude of the immune system’s response to subsequent infection with variants of SARS-CoV-2. These…
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Alzheimer’s disease is marked by a loss of functional neurons in the brain. But what causes this loss? A new study reveals that people with Alzheimer’s have an abundance of newly acquired mutations in their neurons — more than people of the same age without Alzheimer’s, and enough to disable genes important to brain function. “Cells have repair pathways to…
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Scientists at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and the University of Massachusetts Medical School have developed a machine-learning model that can analyze millions of SARS-CoV-2 genomes and predict which viral variants will likely dominate and cause surges in COVID-19 cases. The model, called PyR0 (pronounced “pie-are-nought”), could help researchers identify which parts of the viral genome will be less…
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Scientists at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and the University of Massachusetts Medical School have developed a machine-learning model that can analyze millions of SARS-CoV-2 genomes and predict which viral variants will likely dominate and cause surges in COVID-19 cases. The model, called PyR0 (pronounced “pie-are-nought”), could help researchers identify which parts of the viral genome will be less…
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Antibiotics have saved countless lives since they were introduced in the 1940s, curing infections and making procedures like chemotherapy and surgeries safer. But their effectiveness is waning. As bacteria evolve, many have become resistant to antibiotics. An estimated 1.27 million people died worldwide in 2019 from infections caused by drug-resistant bacteria, according to a landmark study published in The Lancet. It’s…
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The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and Northpond Ventures announced today that Northpond Labs, the venture capital firm’s research- and development-focused affiliate, has signed an agreement to support a second Wyss project and accelerate its development toward commercialization. Established in 2020 with the involvement of Harvard’s Office of Technology Development, the five-year strategic research alliance created The Laboratory…
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