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Category: Cancer

Method for delivering immune system-stimulating drugs may enhance cancer immunotherapy | MIT News
January 10, 2022

Stimulating the body’s immune system to attack tumors is a promising way to treat cancer. Scientists are working on two complementary strategies to achieve that: taking off the brakes that tumors put on the immune system; and “stepping on the gas,” or delivering molecules that jumpstart immune cells. However, when jumpstarting the immune system, researchers have to be careful not to overstimulate it, which can...

3 Questions: Kristin Knouse on the liver’s regenerative capabilities | MIT News
December 15, 2021

Why is the liver the only human organ that can regenerate? How does it know when it’s been injured? What can our understanding of the liver contribute to regenerative medicine? These are just some of the questions that new assistant professor of biology Kristin Knouse and her lab members are asking in their research at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. Knouse sat down to discuss why the liver is so...

Measuring cancer cell state can reveal drug susceptibility | MIT News
December 10, 2021

Over the past few decades, scientists have made great strides in understanding the genetic mutations that can drive cancer. For some types of cancer, these discoveries have led to the development of drugs that target specific mutations. However, there are still many types of cancer for which no such targeted therapies are available. A team of researchers from MIT, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and other institutions is...

Engineers devise a way to selectively turn on RNA therapies in human cells | MIT News
November 20, 2021

Researchers at MIT and Harvard University have designed a way to selectively turn on gene therapies in target cells, including human cells. Their technology can detect specific messenger RNA sequences in cells, and that detection then triggers production of a specific protein from a transgene, or artificial gene. Because transgenes can have negative and even dangerous effects when expressed in the wrong cells, the...

A stealthy way to combat tumors | MIT News
November 19, 2021

Under the right circumstances, the body’s T cells can detect and destroy cancer cells. However, in most cancer patients, T cells become disarmed once they enter the environment surrounding a tumor.  Scientists are now trying to find ways to help treat patients by jumpstarting those lackluster T cells. Much of the research in this field, known as cancer immunotherapy, has focused on finding ways to stimulate those T...

Diagnosing cancer with a barcode-inspired test | MIT News
November 14, 2021

As Dana Al-Sulaiman peers into a microscope, a row of dots appears on a slide. These dots can help provide a cancer diagnosis. Al-Sulaiman was inspired by barcodes found on consumer products. “I got the idea from my PhD supervisor, who said, ‘in the future you’ll be able to scan a diagnostic test like you’re scanning a barcode.’ I initially thought it was the far future, but it’s closer than I thought,” says...

Hunting a “Jekyll-and-Hyde” molecule | MIT News
November 13, 2021

MIT chemical engineers have developed a way of swiftly screening compounds to determine their therapeutic potential for certain kinds of cancers. With a genetically engineered sensor and high-throughput technology, their method probes for changes in cellular concentrations of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), a specialized molecule known as an oxidant. “The regulatory pathways of some tumors depend on elevated levels of...

Modeling the mechanisms of metastasis | MIT News
November 8, 2021

Metastatic cancer is responsible for the vast majority of cancer mortality, but it is difficult for scientists to predict which cells will successfully complete their migration from primary tumor to eventual recolonization in a far-flung region of the body. Subject to a wide range of mechanical and physical forces in the bloodstream, circulating tumor cells can be trapped or damaged before they complete their journey....

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