How cool is this: the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) laboratory that invented cryolipolisis or “Coolsculpting,” a popular non-surgical method for reducing fat under the skin, is developing a new form of the technology that can selectively reduce fat almost anywhere in the body using a safe, injectable ice solution or “slurry.” The technology, not yet approved for use in humans,…
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New research by Dorothy P. Schafer, PhD, reveals the molecular process in which synaptic connections in the brain are damaged in multiple sclerosis and how this contributes to neurodegenerative symptoms. The paper, published in Immunity, also shows how gene therapy may be used to preserve neural circuits and protect against vision loss in the disease. These findings suggest a path for…
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A Solid Vaccine for Liquid Tumors

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a deadly blood cancer that originates in the bone marrow and kills most of its victims within five years. Chemotherapy has been the standard AML treatment for over 40 years, and while it often causes the cancer to go into remission, it rarely completely eliminates the cancerous cells, which then lead to disease recurrence in…
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For 20 years, the U.S. government has urged companies, universities, and other institutions that conduct clinical trials to record their results in a federal database, so doctors and patients can see whether new treatments are safe and effective. Few trial sponsors have consistently done so, even after a 2007 law made posting mandatory for many trials registered in the database.…
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Targeting Rictor Sensitizes SMAD4-Negative Colon Cancer to Irinotecan

Deciphering molecular targets to enhance sensitivity to chemotherapy is becoming a priority for effectively treating cancers. Loss of function mutations of SMAD4 in colon cancer is associated with metastatic progression and resistance to 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), the most extensively used drug of almost all chemotherapy combinations used in the treatment of metastatic colon cancer. Here, we report that SMAD4 deficiency also…
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Harvard University stem-cell researchers led by Amy Wagers, the Forst Family Professor of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, are embarking on a major study of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Supported by research funding from Sarepta Therapeutics, under a multiyear collaboration agreement coordinated by Harvard’s Office of Technology Development (OTD), the project aims to use in vivo genome editing in mouse models of DMD to fully…
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Researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) have developed a tool to identify molecular receptors in worms that are involved in sensing pheromones related to mating, an advance that could speed up neuroscience research into pheromones by eliminating months of work. Associate professor of biology and biotechnology Jagan Srinivasan, doctoral candidate in biology Douglas K. Reilly, and researchers at Cornell University published…
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Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have developed a new way to alleviate problems caused by dysfunctional mitochondria, which are the “powerhouses” that produce energy in cells. Their discovery, reported in the journal Nature Biotechnology on January 13, could lead to a new treatment for rare diseases caused by “broken” mitochondria, but could also be used to develop novel therapies for more…
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With a dish of cells as a canvas, Anne Carpenter’s collaborators apply layers of color. Each one highlights a different cellular feature: A fluorescent blue dye to stain the nuclei. Orange to label the cell membranes. Red tints on the mitochondria. This approach, called “Cell Painting,” uses six biological dyes to stain eight major cell structures. Together, they create not just…
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