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Recent news about scientific and medical research from the Massachusetts General Hospital Research Institute.
Massachusetts General Hospital investigators have found that circulating tumor cell (CTC) clusters – which are more efficient in spreading cancer throughout the body than are single CTCs – can pass through capillary-sized blood vessels. Their findings suggest potential strategies to reduce clusters’ metastatic potential.
A team of Massachusetts General Hospital investigators has found no evidence that allergen immunotherapy carries a risk of infection. Although the sterility of these “allergy shots” has not been a concern, the organization that sets standards for the quality and safety of medications has proposed new guidelines that place them in the same category as preparations intended for intravenous or spinal administration.
A multi-institutional research team has estimated for the first time the number of children born with Down syndrome each year in Massachusetts over the past century, along with the numbers of pregnancies of a child with Down syndrome lost to either termination or miscarriage.
A study led by a Massachusetts General Hospital investigator finds significant racial disparities in the risk that patients being treated with the most commonly prescribed medication for gout will develop a serious, sometimes life-threatening adverse reaction, a risk that closely correlates with the frequency of a gene variant previously associated with that reaction.
One year ago, the National Institutes of Health launched REPRIEVE – The Randomized Trial to Prevent Vascular Events in HIV study, designed to investigate whether statin use can prevent cardiovascular disease in people living with HIV. To date, the trial has enrolled nearly 1,200 participants across approximately 85 trial sites.
Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital have identified a type of immune cell that appears to block the progress of melanoma and other cancers in lab models.
A Massachusetts General Hospital investigator has found that increased expression of the angiogenic factor VEGF-A promotes three common aging-related eye conditions – both versions of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and also cataracts – in a laboratory model.
A group of Massachusetts General Hospital investigators has identified key underlying biological processes that involve some of the hundreds of genes known to contribute to the risk of autism spectrum disorders.
Two companion papers from Massachusetts General Hospital research teams suggest that targeting multiple angiogenesis pathways simultaneously could help overcome the resistance to anti-angiogenic treatment inevitably developed by the devastating brain tumor glioblastoma.
The health care system has come a long way from the "doctor knows best" approach of decades ago, and the importance of involving patients in decisions about their medical care – particularly in situations when there is more than one treatment option – is broadly acknowledged.
A study from an international research team finds that familial hypercholesterolemia – a genetic condition that causes greatly elevated levels of LDL cholesterol throughout life – accounts for less than 2 percent of severely elevated LDL in the general population but also increases the risk of coronary artery disease significantly more than does elevated LDL alone.
A study from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers finds that the brains of young adult marijuana users react differently to social exclusion than do those of non-users.
Physicians in the Fireman Vascular Center at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) are now offering a new and less invasive method of treatment for carotid artery disease known as transcarotid artery revascularization, or TCAR.
The weight gain that can result from quitting smoking does not eliminate the reduction in cardiovascular risks associated with smoking cessation among patients with serious mental illness, at least not during the first year.
Sekar (“Sek”) Kathiresan, MD, has been selected to become the next Director of the Center for Human Genetic Research (CHGR) at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Kathiresan follows Dr. James Gusella, the founding director of CHGR, who established and built it into a world-class research center over the past decade.
A Massachusetts General Hospital research team investigating how the earliest stages of life might have developed has discovered a way the first living cells could have met a key challenge – maintaining a constant internal environment, a process called homeostasis, even when external conditions change
Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers have taken some initial steps toward the creation of bioengineered human hearts using donor hearts stripped of components that would generate an immune response and cardiac muscle cells generated from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), which could come from a potential recipient.
Combining optical coherence tomography (OCT) with another advanced imaging technology may more accurately identify coronary artery plaques that are most likely to rupture and cause a heart attack.
Researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Division of Infectious Diseases are investigating the mechanism by which several important pathogenic species of bacteria deliver proteins into the cells of the organisms they are infecting.
A study from a research team led by a MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC) physician finds that, within most families, the experience of having a member with Down syndrome is generally a positive one.
Over the past decade, studies have found that obesity and eating a high-fat, high-calorie diet are significant risk factors for many types of cancer. Now, a new study from MIT and Mass General reveals how a high-fat diet makes the cells of the intestinal lining more likely to become cancerous.
A team led by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators has found that the controlled induction of the hypoxia response, the body’s reaction to a reduced level of oxygen in the bloodstream, may relieve the symptoms of one of the most challenging groups of genetic disorders – mitochondrial diseases.
A new study led by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators finds that heart failure patients who underwent bariatric surgery to treat morbid obesity had a significant reduction in the risk of heart failure exacerbation – a dangerous, sudden worsening of symptoms – in the two years following surgery.
As the rate of obesity in the U.S. population has risen dramatically, more and more children are becoming overweight at younger and younger ages. Understanding the factors that contribute to childhood obesity and identifying ways to prevent its development are critical to stemming the historically high prevalence of childhood obesity and of associated health problems like type 2 diabetes.
Researchers have discovered that eliminating cells thought to aid tumor growth did not slow or halt the growth of cancer tumors.
A new survey finds that homeopathic medicines are primarily used by a small segment of the U.S. population for common, self-limited conditions such as the common cold or back pain.
The most modern clinical trial to compare the use of carotid-artery stenting with carotid endarterectomy for the prevention of strokes in asymptomatic patients with serious narrowing of the carotid artery finds no significant differences in outcomes between the two procedures over a period of up to five years.
The use of certain traditional chemotherapy drugs may expand the number of tumors that respond to one of today’s most promising cancer therapies – immune checkpoint blockade.
A clinical trial of an experimental drug for treatment-resistant major depression finds that modulation of the endogenous opioid system may improve the effectiveness of drugs that target the action of serotonin and related monoamine neurotransmitters.
Massachusetts General Hospital investigators may have uncovered a novel mechanism behind the ability of obesity to promote cancer progression.
Results from a Phase 1b/2 trial suggest that an investigational microbiome-based, oral therapeutic drug is effective for the treatment of recurrent C. difficile infection.
When metastatic tumors driven by drug-targetable genetic mutations become resistant to a targeted therapy drug, the usual practice is to biopsy a single metastatic lesion to test for new mutations that can guide the selection of next-line therapies. Investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Cancer Center and the University of Torino in Italy have found that this strategy may miss additional targetable mutations that arise in different metastases.
A new technique to model certain copy-number variants (CNVs) in the genome, using the CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing system, could facilitate the study of genomic disorders and opening a potential new approach to targeted treatments for those disorders.
Researchers at Massachusetts Eye and Ear/Harvard Medical School and the University of Crete have conducted a phase I/II clinical trial investigating the efficacy of statins (cholesterol-lowering medications) for the treatment of patients with the dry form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) — the leading cause of blindness in the developed world.
An investigation into the molecular mechanisms responsible for the most common type of benign skin lesion may lead to the first nonsurgical treatment for the growths called seborrheic keratoses, which in addition to being cosmetically unattractive are often worrisome to patients.
The use of proton radiotherapy to treat the most common malignant brain tumor in children is as effective as standard photon (x-ray) radiation therapy while causing fewer long-term side effects such as hearing loss and cognitive disorders, according to a study receiving online publication in Lancet Oncology.
Nanoparticles combine photodynamic and molecular therapies against pancreatic cancer
A nanoparticle drug-delivery system that combines two complementary types of anticancer treatment could improve outcomes for patients with pancreatic cancer and other highly treatment-resistant tumors while decreasing toxicity.
Mass General investigators may have uncovered a novel mechanism behind the ability of the diabetes drug metformin to inhibit the progression of pancreatic cancer.
Early weight loss in Parkson disease may signify a more serious form of the disease
A study led by a Mass General researcher finds evidence of an association between weight loss in patients with early Parkinson disease and more rapid disease progression.
A new engineered version of the gene-editing CRISPR-Cas9 nuclease appears to robustly abolish the unwanted, off-target DNA breaks that are a significant current limitation of the technology, reducing them to undetectable levels. In their report receiving advance online publication in Nature, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers describe how altering the Cas9 enzyme to reduce non-specific interactions with the target DNA may greatly expand applications of the gene-editing technology.
An analysis of medical records data from three Massachusetts health care systems finds no evidence that prenatal exposure to antidepressants increases the risk for autism and related disorders or for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
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