In order to grow and thrive, cells need sugar. A repertoire of cellular mechanisms turn unwieldy molecules of glucose and fructose into versatile building blocks for making useful molecules such as lipids, and energy to fuel necessary processes in the cell. But for any of these things to happen, the cells need to sense when sugars are present in the…
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Single-Shot COVID-19 Vaccine Protects Non-Human Primates

The development of a safe and effective vaccine will likely be required to end the COVID-19 pandemic. A group of scientists, led by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) immunologist Dan H. Barouch, MD, PhD, now report that a leading candidate COVID-19 vaccine developed at BIDMC in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson raised neutralizing antibodies and robustly protected non-human primates…
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Five Things to Know About the Ragon Institute

The Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard is a leading institution in infectious disease and immunology research and has been a crucial partner of Massachusetts General Hospital since its inception. The Ragon has long been recognized as a leader in HIV/AIDS research, but since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Ragon researchers have pivoted to apply their expertise to SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19. Here…
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Proteins within blood plasma serve as biomarkers for cancer and can play an important role in risk assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and drug development. Researchers typically face a choice in studying the set of all proteins in a patient’s plasma, known as the proteome: either they choose to measure the levels of a small, a priori (determined from reasoning) known subset of proteins…
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A Recipe for Cell Fitness

What ratio of ingredients makes a healthy cell? Researchers know which components are required for proper function, but they’re still working to understand what happens when there’s too much of one protein or not enough of another. As a graduate student in Gene-Wei Li’s lab, Darren Parker PhD ’20 spent years tweaking the recipe for a bacterial cell, adding more…
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A Master Regulator of Kidney Health?

End-stage kidney disease often begins with injury to podocytes. These highly specialized cells are a critical part of the glomeruli, clusters of capillaries that serve as the filtration units in our kidneys’ tightly-packed nephrons. As their name suggests, podocytes extend tiny foot processes to intermingle with the capillaries and filter the blood, maintaining the proper water and salt balance. Key…
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Today’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of the first CAR T-cell therapy for mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) represents a key advance for patients with relapsed or treatment-resistant forms of the disease, say Dana-Farber Cancer Institute investigators who helped conduct the decisive clinical trial of the therapy. Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center (DF/BWCC) will be a certified treatment center for…
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As scients continue searching for treatments to some of the most complex diseases and conditions, they’re increasingly looking to our gut. The human gut microbiome contains trillions of bacteria that play important roles for the proper functioning of our bodies. But those bacterial colonies went relatively unexplored until recently, when new computational tools made it possible to understand their makeup…
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Type 1 diabetes occurs when a person’s own immune system destroys insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. In recent years, scientists have learned how to grow large volumes of replacement beta cells, but the researchers are still trying out many options to protect these cells against the immune attack. Joslin Diabetes Center researchers now have found an unusual strategy that…
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COVID-19 Vaccine Trial Launches

A candidate vaccine for preventing COVID-19 is advancing to a 30,000-participant phase 3 trial starting July 27, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital will play two key roles in the trial. The phase 3 COVE study will evaluate mRNA-1273, a vaccine candidate against COVID-19 manufactured by Moderna. The study will enroll participants at locations throughout the United States, with Brigham and…
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