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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Teaching a computer to behave like a zebrafish wasn’t Martin Haesemeyer’s goal. In fact, the research associate in the labs of Florian Engert, professor of molecular and cellular biology, and Alexander Schier, the Leo Erikson Life Sciences Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology, was hoping to build a system that worked differently than zebrafish with an eye toward comparing how…
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Traumatic brain injuries, as well as infectious diseases such as meningitis, can lead to brain swelling and dangerously high pressure in the brain. If untreated, patients are at risk for brain damage, and in some cases elevated pressure can be fatal. Current techniques for measuring pressure within the brain are so invasive that the measurement is only performed in the…
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More than 30 million adults in the United States suffer from debilitating pain, stiffness, and swelling in their joints caused by osteoarthritis, which results from the breakdown of cartilage, the connective and cushioning tissue between our bones. There are medications that can treat the symptoms, prevent cartilage from breaking down and, in some cases, even restore function to the joints. But getting…
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Molecules called ketone bodies may improve stem cells’ ability to regenerate new intestinal tissue. MIT biologists have discovered an unexpected effect of a ketogenic, or fat-rich, diet: They showed that high levels of ketone bodies, molecules produced by the breakdown of fat, help the intestine to maintain a large pool of adult stem cells, which are crucial for keeping the…
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The Lyme pre-exposure prophylaxis (Lyme PrEP) being developed by MassBiologics at UMass Medical School may be headed to a Phase I clinical trial as soon as next year and brought to market in 2022, according to an article in Stat. Lyme PrEP provides a monoclonal antibody that protects against the disease, said Mark Klempner, MD, executive vice chancellor for MassBiologics and professor…
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Somerville biotech Finch Therapeutics Group Inc. could be one of the first local startups hoping to use natural bacteria to fight chronic diseases to bring a product to the market, and it’s aiming to treat two very different conditions: clostridium difficile and autism. Finch Therapeutics Group Inc. nabbed $53 million in new financing this week from investors including OCV Partners and…
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Every year, more than 250,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with breast cancer. When detected early, patients with the most common form—which tests positive for hormone receptors (HR+) and negative for the HER2 receptor—usually respond well to treatment. But for those in advanced stages, few treatment options existed until the recent emergence of a new class of drugs known…
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Can Pomegranate Juice Protect the Infant Brain?

When it comes to protecting the newborn brain, taking steps to mitigate risk before birth may be critical. Some newborns, such as those with intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), are at heightened risk. Being able to intervene before birth to aid in protecting the newborn brain may prevent the often-devastating effects of brain injury. In ongoing investigations, clinical researchers from Brigham…
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