Could a century-old vaccine offer clues for designing the vaccines of tomorrow? Ofer Levy, MD, PhD, director of the Precision Vaccines Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, wants to find out. One of the world’s oldest and most widely used vaccines, the Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) tuberculosis vaccine may at first seem like an unlikely source of inspiration. Yet previous research suggests its effects may…
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Convenience-Sized RNA Editing

Last year, researchers at MIT’s McGovern Institute discovered and characterized Cas7-11, the first CRISPR enzyme capable of making precise, guided cuts to strands of RNA without harming cells in the process. Now, working with collaborators at the University of Tokyo, the same team has revealed that Cas7-11 can be shrunk to a more compact version, making it an even more viable…
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For most children and even some adults, swallowing pills or tablets is difficult. To make it easier to give those medicines, researchers at MIT and Brigham and Women’s Hospital have created a drug-delivering gel that is much easier to swallow and could be used to administer a variety of different kinds of drugs.   The gels, made from plant-based oils…
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Children with congenital heart disease (CHD) often have neurodevelopmental impairment. Until fairly recently, this was thought to stem from complications of cardiac surgery or reduced oxygen supply to the brain due to the heart defect. Now we know that some babies with CHD have impaired brain development in utero because of low oxygen supply to the fetal brain or as part of the…
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The lab was bustling with activity, with everyone working together on a team project comprised of many moving parts. Once one person finished a step of the experiment, it was whisked off to the next person. There was no time to lose. During MIT’s Independent Activities Period (IAP) in January of 2022, several members of the Boyer Lab were hard at work — among…
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Fluorescent sensors, which can be used to label and image a wide variety of molecules, offer a unique glimpse inside living cells. However, they typically can only be used in cells grown in a lab dish or in tissues close to the surface of the body, because their signal is lost when they are implanted too deeply.   MIT engineers…
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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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Whenever a football player struts in celebration after making another bone-crushing hit, it’s hard not to wonder what the jarring clash of heads did to their brain. Same when watching a soccer defender repeatedly thumping headers upfield or a hockey center skating gingerly away from a bruising body check. After 15 years of research into the toll of repeated head…
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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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