News from the Broad

The Broad Institute is committed to open sharing not only of its scientific data and tools, but also information and news about our progress towards achieving our mission. Below are just a few highlights from the Broad scientific community.
  • NEJM articles address state of clinical genomic testing

    June 1st, 2015

    Of the more than 80 million known genetic variants, few are well understood for their roles in human health and disease. To overcome this gap in knowledge, large consortia studies need to share data across traditional boundaries — a hard task when there are few standards in place to harmonize those data. In a special report in the New England Journal of Medicine, Broad institute member and Clinical Research Sequencing Platform (CRSP) clinical director Heidi Rehm and colleagues describe the NIH-funded ClinGen program, which aims to be an authoritative central resource for defining the clinical relevance of genomic variants for use in precision medicine and research. GenomeWeb wrote about the report, which was among a set of papers published by the journal that addressed the promises and challenges of clinical genomic testing.

  • New study leverages bacteria to detect liver cancer in mice

    May 30th, 2015

    Taking advantage of the liver’s ability to collect microbes, a team led by Sangeeta Bhatia of the Broad Institute and MIT, and Jeff Hasty of the University of California, San Diego, designed a synthetic bacterium to accumulate in – and detect – liver metastases, a pressing clinical need. The team used a safe and widely used probiotic E. coli strain to develop an orally administered diagnostic that can noninvasively indicate the presence of liver metastases by producing easily detectable signals in urine. Appearing in Science Translational Medicine, the study demonstrates the potential for programmable probiotics in diagnostic and, potentially, therapeutic cancer applications. Read coverage of the study in The Scientist and U.S. News and World Report to learn more.

  • Single-cell analysis hits its stride

    May 21st, 2015
    Advances in technology and computational analysis enable scale and affordability, paving the way for translational studies
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  • Gerstner Family Foundation commits $10 million to Broad Institute to overcome cancer drug resistance

    May 18th, 2015
    New gift from the Gerstner Family Foundation will help identify the mechanisms that drive cancer drug resistance and pave the way for new treatments
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  • Study explores role of BCL11A in neurodevelopment

    May 12th, 2015

    Fetal hemoglobin, which is normally replaced by adult hemoglobin a few months after birth, can ameliorate symptoms of beta-thalassemia and sickle cell anemia. Boosting fetal hemoglobin by inhibiting the transcription factor BCL11A holds therapeutic promise, but BCL11A's role in the body isn’t fully understood. To study its in vivo effects, a team led by Broad associate member Vijay Sankaran, Mark Daly, co-director of the Broad’s Medical and Population Genetics Program, and Zdenek Sedlacek of University Hospital Motol (Czech Republic) identified and characterized three patients with an autism spectrum disorder and developmental delay who harbored deletions of the BCL11A gene. The study, appearing in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, provides evidence of BCL11A’s role in neurodevelopment and suggests caution when developing BCL11A-targeting therapies.