Blogs

From Barrett’s to cancer

Veronica Meade-Kelly, July 20th, 2015

What: A new study by researchers from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital suggests that esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) progresses differently than previously suspected.

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Development in reverse: A better model of human induced pluripotency

Leah Eisenstadt, July 16th, 2015

What: Studying the reprogramming process in human cells is now easier and more reliable, thanks to work by a team of scientists led by Broad Institute researcher Tarjei Mikkelsen. The team designed an improved method for generating human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells in the lab that reduces variability. The system enables a high-resolution look at the intermediate cellular and molecular changes taking place as somatic cells are reprogrammed to become iPS cells, something much more difficult to study before this new model.

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Letting the knowledge flow: Firehose, FireBrowse & FireCloud

Raleigh McElvery, July 13th, 2015

It's been said that getting an education from MIT is like taking a drink from a fire hose. At the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard a similar ethos prevails, and is particularly evident in the aptly named cancer analysis pipeline, Firehose.

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Unraveling an age-old antibiotic mystery

Angela Page, July 9th, 2015

In the 1950s, an early clinical study compared the efficacy of a bactericidal antibiotic, which kills bacteria, to a combination with a bacteriostatic antibiotic, which only stops bacterial cell growth. The study revealed that the bactericidal antibiotic was not as effective at killing bacteria when used in combination with the bacteriostatic antibiotic. The bacteriostatic drug seemed to have a dominant effect, but the underlying biological mechanisms of this phenomenon were never unraveled.

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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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