During cancer therapy, tumor heterogeneity can drive the evolution of multiple tumor subclones harboring unique resistance mechanisms in an individual patient. Previous case reports and small case series have suggested that liquid biopsy (specifically, cell-free DNA (cfDNA)) may better capture the heterogeneity of acquired resistance. However, the effectiveness of cfDNA versus standard single-lesion tumor biopsies has not been directly compared…
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Ancient DNA has allowed us to begin tracing the history of human movements across the globe. Narasimhan et al. identify a complex pattern of human migrations and admixture events in South and Central Asia by performing genetic analysis of more than 500 people who lived over the past 8000 years (see the Perspective by Schaefer and Shapiro). They establish key phases in…
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The director of the University’s Global Observatory on Pollution and Health will be recognized at the Rodale Institute’s Organic Pioneer Awards. Global Observatory on Pollution and Health Director Philip Landrigan, M.D., will be honored for his pioneering work in the health of children and the effects of toxic chemicals on their brains and nervous systems. Philip Landrigan, M.D. (Gary Wayne…
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While the vast majority of the 1.8 billion people infected with the TB bacterium never experience active disease, an estimated 5 to 15 percent do develop full-blown infections—roughly half of them within 18 months of exposure. Why do some people develop overt disease soon after infection, while others harbor silent infections for decades and remain apparently healthy? It’s a question…
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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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Alzheimer’s disease (AD), a progressive neurodegenerative disorder, is the most common untreatable form of dementia. Identifying molecular biomarkers that allow early detection remains a key challenge in the diagnosis, treatment, and prognostic evaluation of the disease. Here, we report a novel experimental and analytical model characterizing epigenetic alterations during AD onset and progression. We generated the first integrated base-resolution genome-wide…
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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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Growth rate and metabolic state of bacteria have been separately shown to affect antibiotic efficacy. However, the two are interrelated as bacterial growth inherently imposes a metabolic burden; thus, determining individual contributions from each is challenging. Indeed, faster growth is often correlated with increased antibiotic efficacy; however, the concurrent role of metabolism in that relationship has not been well characterized.…
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