MAY 2017

Intestinal microbial population may predict response to biologic therapy for inflammatory bowel disease

Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard have found that analysis of a patient's gut microbiome—the microbial population of the gastrointestinal tract—may predict the likelihood of successful treatment for inflammatory bowel disease with biologic drugs that target immune system activity.

Study shows that more than half of eligible U.S. travelers are not receiving measles immunization

A study led by Massachusetts General Hospital investigators found that 53 percent of individuals seeking pre-travel consultations at clinics across the country who were eligible to receive the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine were not vaccinated during the clinic visit.

Research staff appreciation day

Despite dreary weather, hundreds of Massachusetts General Hospital's research staff members enjoyed the annual Research Staff Appreciation Day lunch and ice cream celebration.

Study helps smokers quit and never look back

Like so many previous monumental moments in her life, Ellen Czahar, assistant and surgical coordinator in the MGH Orthopædics Department, wanted to document it with a snapshot. The empty pack of cigarettes marked the last pack she would smoke as she embarked on a happier, healthier way of life.

Molecular imaging reveals mechanism for resistance to immune checkpoint blockade

Massachusetts General Hospital investigators have identified a surprising mechanism for resistance to immune checkpoint blockade, finding in mouse models of cancer that an antibody-based drug designed to block the immunosuppressive molecule PD-1 is removed from its target T cells by macrophages within minutes of administration.

Anti-hypertension DASH diet may reduce the risk of gout

A study led by Massachusetts General Hospital investigators suggests that following a diet known to reduce the risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease may also reduce the risk of gout.

Hypoxia reverses mitochondrial disease in mouse model

The next stage of a Massachusetts General Hospital team's investigation into the therapeutic potential of the hypoxia response—the body's reaction to reduced levels of oxygen in the blood—to treat mitochondrial disease has produced findings that are promising but also reveal some limitations.

Dietary gluten is not linked to heart risk in non-celiacs

A study led by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center and Massachusetts General Hospital revealed that dietary gluten is not associated with heart disease risk in people without celiac disease.

Silent seizures recorded in the hippocampus of two patients with Alzheimer's disease

Massachusetts General Hospital investigators have identified silent, seizure-like activity in the hippocampus—a brain structure significantly affected in Alzheimer's disease—in two patients with Alzheimer's disease and no known history of seizures.

New study shows care management program reduced health care costs in Partners Accountable Care Organization

Researchers at Partners HealthCare published a study showing that Partners Pioneer ACO not only reduces spending growth, but does this by reducing avoidable hospitalizations for patients with elevated but modifiable risks.

New imaging method may predict immunotherapy response early

A noninvasive PET imaging method that measures granzyme B, a protein released by immune cells to kill cancer cells, was able to distinguish mouse and human tumors that responded to immune checkpoint inhibitors from those that did not respond early in the course of treatment.

APRIL 2017

Standing up for science

"Science is the scaffolding, the power, the engine that drives society forward. It represents progress and knowledge and answers," said Peter L. Slavin, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital president, at an April 22 rally.

Warren Triennial honors pioneer in cancer immunology

The 2017 Warren Triennial Prize—the most prestigious research prize awarded by Massachusetts General Hospital—was presented on April 5 to James P. Allison, PhD, professor and chairman of Immunology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Nanodiamond-enhanced MRI: a new platform for a range of diagnostic and therapeutic applications

A team of investigators based at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital has devised a means of tracking nanodiamonds noninvasively with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), opening up a host of new applications.

Enzyme treatment reduces alcohol-induced liver damage in mouse models

Massachusetts General Hospital investigators report that an intestinal enzyme previously shown to keep bacterial toxins from passing from the gastrointestinal system into the bloodstream may be able to reduce or prevent the liver damage caused by excess alcohol consumption.

Effects of alcoholism on the brain's reward system appear to be different in women than in men

A collaborative study between researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston University School of Medicine has found evidence implying that alcoholism may have different effects on the reward system in the brains of women than it does in men.

Pretreatment HIV, immune activation levels determine their persistence during treatment

A study led by a Massachusetts General Hospital investigator finds that pretreatment viral levels and immune activation appear to determine the extent of HIV persistence and inflammation during antiretroviral treatment.

Macrophages shown to be essential to a healthy heart rhythm

A Massachusetts General Hospital-led research team has discovered that the immune cells called macrophages are also essential to the healthy functioning of the heart, helping conduct the electric signals that coordinate the heartbeat.

Mass General researchers provide evidence linking "leaky gut" to chronic inflammation

With the help of genetically engineered mice, scientists at the Massachusetts General Hospital are moving closer to establishing the role that increased intestinal permeability, sometimes called a "leaky gut," plays in chronic inflammatory conditions.

RNA sequencing applied as a tool to solve patients' diagnostic mysteries

In a new study, a team led by researchers from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Massachusetts General Hospital and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke adds RNA sequencing to the diagnostic toolkit to identify disease-causing mutations buried inside the genome.

Marathon risk for non-runners

People who suffer heart attacks or cardiac arrests in the vicinity of an ongoing major marathon are more likely to die within a month due to delays in transportation to nearby hospitals, according to newly published research from Harvard Medical School.

Urine test may be able to diagnose obstructive sleep apnea in children with Down Syndrome

A study from Massachusetts General Hospital investigators raises the possibility of identifying children with Down syndrome who may also have obstructive sleep apnea without the need for expensive and inconvenient sleep studies.

Collagen-targeting PET probe may improve diagnosis and treatment of pulmonary fibrosis

A PET imaging probe developed by Massachusetts General Hospital investigators appears able to diagnose and stage pulmonary fibrosis—an often life-shortening lung disease—as well as monitor the response to treatment.

Regular aspirin use is associated with lower cancer mortality

Long-term, regular aspirin use was associated with reduced risk of death from several different kinds of cancers, according to data presented at the AACR Annual Meeting 2017.

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