Blogs

A cancer drug that wears many hats

Leah Eisenstadt, July 1st, 2015

Nearly a decade ago, the FDA approved the drug lenalidomide to treat patients with deletion-5q myelodysplastic syndrome (del(5q) MDS), a cancer of the myeloid cells in the bone marrow that form several types of blood cells. In this condition, some bone marrow cells are missing a portion of chromosome 5 – hence, the “del(5q)” – on one copy of their genome (the human genome has two copies of each chromosome, one from each parent), and this deletion causes malignant cells to grow unchecked.

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Five (more) questions for David Root

Veronica Meade-Kelly, June 12th, 2015

Four years ago, David Root talked with us about the fundamentals of RNA interference (RNAi) technology. But, since then, the group that Root oversees – Broad’s erstwhile RNAi Platform – has taken on a new identity: it’s now known as the Genetic Perturbation Platform (GPP).

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Wall of sticky notes fuels genomics at Broad

Leah Eisenstadt, June 3rd, 2015

The Broad Institute is designed for collaboration. Visitors will notice walls of glass that promote transparency, “living rooms” with casual seating for informal meetings, and writable, “whiteboard walls” stocked with dry erase markers for spontaneous brainstorming sessions. Some of these writable walls sport chemical formulas or structures and others detail new hypotheses.

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Five Questions with Jay Bradner

Paul Goldsmith, May 29th, 2015

As associate director of the Broad’s Center for the Science of Therapeutics (CSofT), award-winning hematologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and a recognized pioneer in open-source drug discovery (not that he would admit to it), Jay Bradner is something of a rock star in the field of chemical biology.

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Teaming up on metastatic prostate cancer

Angela Page, May 21st, 2015

“The pervading wisdom is that there’s no clear role for doing clinical genomics in prostate cancer,” said Eliezer Van Allen, a research associate at the Broad Institute, instructor of medicine at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. “That’s because when we look at the data, we just don’t see much to target.” But that wisdom is based on investigations of primary prostate cancer.

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GTEx: Useful expression for cancer research

Veronica Meade-Kelly, May 20th, 2015

This month, the Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx) Project, which set out five years ago to create a comprehensive atlas and open database of gene expression and gene regulation across human tissues, published several papers reporting on findings from its two-year pilot phase.

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Broad researchers receive HHMI honors

Amanda Dykstra Esposito, May 19th, 2015

Four faculty members of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard are among 26 top biomedical researchers nationwide who will become Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigators this fall. Levi Garraway, Pardis Sabeti, Michael Laub, and Tobias Walther will receive long-term, flexible funding from HHMI, providing them the freedom to explore and follow their research ideas through to fruition.

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Five Questions for Kristin Ardlie

Veronica Meade-Kelly, May 7th, 2015

The Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx) project started five years ago with the goal of creating a comprehensive atlas and open database of gene expression and gene regulation across human tissues. This week, the researchers spearheading the NIH-funded effort released five papers reporting on the pilot phase of the project.

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A Sirt-ain role for cellular differentiation

Angela Page, April 30th, 2015

The epigenome is a collection of physical “amendments” to DNA—things like proteins around which the double helix is wrapped like thread on a spool and chemical tags on the DNA of specific genes that can make them hard to access. This collection of epigenetic factors works together to help give each cell in the body its specific identity by regulating which genes are expressed—it’s a big reason why skin cells don’t get confused with blood cells and why bone cells are full of calcium instead of fat.

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Broad In Focus: Tom Green, Software Engineering Manager

Leah Eisenstadt, April 30th, 2015

For the past seven years, software engineering manager Tom Green has guided the development and maintenance of software tools that support the Genetic Perturbation Platform at the Broad Institute, where he can be found working with a team of software engineers or consulting with scientists conducting experimental screens. Two decades ago, however, Green was living without electricity or running water in the jungles of Nicaragua, a houseguest of locals in the remote village of Karawala on the Caribbean coast, doing a very different kind of research.

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