Reviving Cells after a Heart Attack

Extracellular vesicles (EVs) — nanometer-sized messengers that travel between cells to deliver cues and cargo — are promising tools for the next generation of therapies for everything from autoimmune and neurodegenerative diseases to cancer and tissue injury. EVs derived from stem cells have already been shown to help heart cells recover after a heart attack, but exactly how they help…
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As people grow older, certain genetic mutations in hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) — which give rise to blood and immune cells — can eventually cause cancer or predispose people to cardiovascular disease. Now, two teams of scientists at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston Children’s Hospital, and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have each discovered a set…
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Scientists have created an unprecedented 3-dimensional structural model of a key molecular “machine” known as the BAF complex, which modifies DNA architecture and is frequently mutated in cancer and some other diseases. The researchers, led by Cigall Kadoch, PhD, of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, have reported the first 3-D structural “picture” of BAF complexes purified directly from human cells in their native states…
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The closer people are physically to one another, the higher the chance for exchange, of things like ideas, information, and even infection. Now researchers at MIT and Boston Children’s Hospital have found that, even in the microscopic environment within a single cell, physical crowding increases the chance for interactions, in a way that can significantly alter a cell’s health and…
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Sequencing RNA from individual cells can reveal a great deal of information about what those cells are doing in the body. MIT researchers have now greatly boosted the amount of information gleaned from each of those cells, by modifying the commonly used Seq-Well technique. With their new approach, the MIT team could extract 10 times as much information from each…
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Scientists are gratified when a clinical trial reveals whether one treatment — often an experimental therapy or drug combination — is superior to another. But researchers then often look more deeply into the data, searching for characteristics of tumors associated with a treatment’s effectiveness, or lack of it. In today’s world of precision medicine, identifying such potentially predictive characteristics —…
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One of the reasons people rarely recover from spinal cord injury is the scar tissue that develops, preventing nerve cells from reconnecting. But a new study from Zhigang He, PhD, of the F.M. Kirby Neurobiology Center at Boston Children’s Hospital, demonstrated a way to minimize scar cell formation in adult mice after a spinal cord injury. The study, published in Nature, offers insights for new approaches to…
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A team of scientists has discovered a new way of targeting the pathogen that causes a deadly form of diarrheal disease. Led by researchers at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and elsewhere, the new study revealed that compounds used for malaria treatment also kill the intestinal parasite Cryptosporidium, a leading cause of diarrheal disease and death in children that…
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Floating in fluid deep in the brain are small, little-understood fronds of tissue. Two new studies reveal that these miniature organs are a hotbed of immune system activity. This activity may protect the developing brain from infections and other insults — but may also contribute to neurodevelopmental disorders like autism. This pioneering work offers an unprecedented, real-time view of the…
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