Wyss Institute-launched startup company will develop probiotics that have potential to enhance athletic performance. Today the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University announced that its athlete microbiome-based technology will be commercialized by Fitbiomics Inc., a recently formed startup company, to develop highly validated probiotics based on elite athletes’ microbiomes, which could improve athletic performance and, conceivably, even overall…
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New study projects polypill to be cost-effective compared to the standard of care for secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease, with potential to save lives and money. Heart attacks and strokes are collectively the leading cause of death in most low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) worldwide. Treatment with four drugs – aspirin, a statin, an angiotensin converting-enzyme (ACE)-inhibitor, and a beta…
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PTSD Linked to Increased Risk of Ovarian Cancer

Women who experienced six or more symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at some point in life had a twofold greater risk of developing ovarian cancer compared with women who never had any PTSD symptoms, according to a new study from researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Moffitt Cancer Center. The findings indicate that having higher levels of PTSD…
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Vertex Pharmaceuticals has struck a deal to acquire local diabetes-focused startup Semma Therapeutics, marking another substantial pivot for the company as CEO Jeff Leiden‘s tenure comes to a close. Vertex (Nasdaq: VRTX) announced Tuesday it will pay $950 million for the preclinical Cambridge startup, which is developing a cell therapy for type 1 diabetes, which affects around a million Americans. The…
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Since the early 1990s, chemotherapy followed by an autologous stem cell transplant has been the standard of care for high-risk neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer that starts in nerve cells outside the brain, especially in the tissues of the adrenal glands, and sometimes the neck, chest, or pelvis. Before children receive chemotherapy to destroy the neuroblastoma, some of their healthy blood stem…
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Organ-on-a-chip study reveals mechanism that destroys and replaces nearby blood vessels, driving malignancy. Pancreatic cancer is one of the most insidious forms of the disease, with an average of only 9 percent of patients alive five years after diagnosis. One of the reasons for this dismal outcome is that pancreatic cancer cells are able to escape from tumors and enter…
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Achieving or maintaining a healthy body weight is one key to preventing cardiovascular disease. But even experts don’t agree on the best way to achieve that goal, with some recommending eliminating carbohydrates and others emphasizing reducing fats to lose weight. Few studies have investigated the effects of these specific macronutrients on cardiovascular health. Get more HMS news here In a…
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Pioneering Microbiome Findings Shed Light on Aspiration

When children have respiratory infections, clinicians tend to blame gastroesophageal reflux, based on the assumption that bacteria-laden stomach contents rise into the mouth and are then aspirated. As a result, clinicians often recommend a type of anti-reflux surgery called fundoplication to treat these infections. Yet, despite undergoing this procedure, many patients don’t improve. A new study by Rachel Rosen, MD, MPH, and her…
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Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)—the accumulation of liver fat in people who drink little or no alcohol—is increasingly common around the world, and in the United States, it affects between 30 and 40 percent of adults. Currently, there are no approved drugs for the treatment of NAFLD, which is predicted to soon become the main cause of chronic liver problems…
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Pancreas on a Chip

Harvard scientists have combined organ-on-a-chip and stem-cell technologies to make a powerful tool for diabetes research and beta-cell transplantation. By combining two powerful technologies, scientists are taking diabetes research to a whole new level. In a study led by Harvard University’s Kevin Kit Parker and published in the journal Lab on a Chip on Aug. 29, microfluidics and human, insulin-producing beta…
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