Research Press Releases

MAY 2019

HIV prevention drug can curb the epidemic for high-risk groups in India

A new study by an international research team suggests that making pre-exposure prophylaxis available to men who have sex with men and people who inject drugs in India may be a cost-effective way of curbing the HIV epidemic in that country.


Mass General researchers develop 3D "mini-gut" model to study autoimmune response to gluten in celiac and non-celiac patient tissue

In pursuit of a novel tool for the research and treatment of celiac disease, scientists at the Mucosal Immunology and Biology Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital have validated the use of intestinal organoids.


Novel artificial intelligence method predicts future risk of breast cancer

Researchers from two major institutions have developed a new tool with advanced artificial intelligence (AI) methods to predict a woman’s future risk of breast cancer.


Feeling valued, treated with respect appear most important for job satisfaction in academic medicine

A survey of physicians in the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Medicine finds that feeling valued, being treated with respect and working in a supportive environment were the factors most strongly associated with job satisfaction.


Ragon Institute study identifies viral peptides critical to natural HIV control

Investigators at the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard have used a novel approach to identify specific amino acids in the protein structure of HIV that appear critical to the ability of the virus to function and replicate. They also found that the immune systems of individuals naturally able to control HIV infection target these amino acids with pathogen-killing CD8 T cells.


Adverse events during first years of life may have greatest effect on future mental health

A Massachusetts General Hospital study has found evidence that children under 3 years old are most the vulnerable to the effects of adversity – experiences including poverty, family and financial instability, and abuse – on their epigenetic profiles, chemical tags that alter gene expression and may have consequences for future mental health.


April 2019

Tumor-selective angiotensin blockers may improve response to cancer immunotherapy

A research team led by investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has found that combining a specialized version of an antihypertension drug with immune checkpoint blockers could increase the effectiveness of cancer immunotherapies.


Mass General study finds women pay more for over-the-counter moisturizers

A study from dermatologists at Massachusetts General Hospital finds significant, gender-based price discrepancies in facial moisturizing products at three top online retailers – Amazon, Target, and Walmart.


Got resistance?

A Harvard undergraduate student working with biomedical researchers at Harvard Medical School’s Blavatnik Institute has designed a computer program can rapidly and accurately predict resistance to the most commonly used tuberculosis drugs.


Mass General receives $200 million to advance research into complex diseases

Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) today announced it has received the largest gift in the hospital’s history – $200 million – to endow the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard.


Fishing for cures: New zebrafish model identifies drugs that kill pediatric cancer cells

A new animal model developed by Massachusetts General Hospital investigators promises to be less expensive, easier to use and to improve personalized therapies for cancers and potentially other diseases.


Parents using both e-cigarettes and traditional cigarettes may be more motivated to quit

A study by MassGeneral Hospital for Children researchers finds that parents who use both traditional cigarettes and e-cigarettes may be more receptive to smoking cessation interventions than parents who only smoke traditional cigarettes.


Studies identify mechanism key to removal of protein aggregates from cells

Massachusetts General Hospital investigators have discovered the mechanism by which cells sense dysfunction of the proteasome – a cellular component that degrades unneeded or defective proteins – and respond by editing the amino acid sequence of a key sensing protein.


MGHfC researchers use RNA sequencing to discover novel genes and pathways in celiac disease

Researchers at MassGeneral Hospital for Children have discovered novel genes and pathways related to early stages in the development of celiac disease and the ongoing inflammation and comorbidities associated with the condition..


Calculating genetic risk for obesity

By analyzing millions of DNA variations in the human genome, researchers have developed a “polygenic score” for obesity, a quantitative tool that predicts an individual’s inherited risk for becoming overweight.


CRISPR base editors can induce wide-ranging off-target RNA edits

A Massachusetts General Hospital research team reports that several of the recently developed CRISPR base editors, which create targeted changes in a single DNA base, can induce widespread off-target effects in RNA, extending beyond the targeted DNA.


Study: Wellness programs do little to improve health, lower spending

Workplace wellness programs have been touted as a powerful tool that can make employees healthier and more productive while reducing health care spending, but the results of a new Harvard study suggest such interventions yield unimpressive results in the short term.


Scientists create molecular tool to remove toxic protein from neuronal models of dementia

Harnessing a probe used to image the brain in diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease and related forms of dementia, scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital have successfully cleared patient-derived brain cells of an abnormal protein associated with dementia and other neurogenerative disorders.


Mass General study provides insight into use of critical care resources

A study by Massachusetts General Hospital investigators has found wide variation in the use of different hospital units – intensive care or general medical units – to deliver a type of advanced respiratory support called non-invasive ventilation.


Mitochondrial permeability plays a key role in aging, recovery from ischemic injury

The ability of molecules to pass through the membrane of mitochondria – the cellular structures that convert nutrients into energy – may determine whether or not autophagy, a cellular process that removes damaged and dysfunctional molecules and cellular components, is beneficial or detrimental to the health of an organism.


Deep stimulation improves cognitive control by augmenting brain rhythms

A new study that could improve the therapeutic efficacy of deep-brain stimulation (DBS) for psychiatric disorders shows how DBS is applied to a specific brain region improves patients' cognitive control over their behavior.


No U.S. commercial laboratories fully meet guidance for non-invasive prenatal screening

A new study that could improve the therapeutic efficacy of deep-brain stimulation (DBS) for psychiatric disorders shows how DBS is applied to a specific brain region improves patients' cognitive control over their behavior.


Older women benefit significantly when screened with 3D mammography

Mammography remains an effective method for breast cancer screening in women ages 65 and older, with the addition of a 3-D technique called tomosynthesis improving screening performances even more.


Despite risk of birth defects, HIV drug should be considered for women in South Africa

Although a woman’s use of the HIV drug dolutegravir at conception may increase the risk of often-fatal neural tube defects in her child, a new study suggests that the risk may be offset by the drug’s ability to decrease deaths among women and prevent HIV transmission to their children and sexual partners.


MARCH 2019

Low-dose radiation therapy improves delivery of therapeutic nanoparticles to brain tumors

A new study led by Massachusetts General Hospital investigators finds that radiation therapy may increase the uptake of therapeutic nanoparticles by glioblastomas, raising the possibility of using both growth-factor-targeted and immune-system-based therapies against the deadly brain tumor.


Brain scans help unravel the neurobiology of functional neurological (conversion) disorder

An investigation led by a team of researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital departments of Neurology, Psychiatry and Radiology has found altered connectivity among brain regions that handle sensorimotor, emotional and cognitive signaling in patients with functional neurological disorder, a common condition involving neurologic symptoms that have no readily apparent physical cause.


Encapsulating human stem-cell-derived beta cells with immune-repelling protein prolongs function and survival

Encapsulating human stem-cell-derived beta cells in microcapsules made with an immune-cell-repelling protein restored glucose metabolism in diabetic mice and protected the cells from immune system attack, preventing the buildup of fibrotic tissue that has plagued previous trials of encapsulated beta cells.


C.elegans roundworms "harvest" an essential coenzyme from the bacteria they consume

A study conducted in C. elegans nematode roundworms may lead to improved treatment of a rare human genetic disorder that causes severe neurological symptoms leading to death in early childhood.


Investigational obesity drug oxytocin weakens the brain's reward signals for food

The hormone oxytocin reduces communication between brain areas involved in the cognitive, sensory and emotional processing of food cues that people with obesity demonstrate when they look at high-calorie foods, according to a presentation by a Massachusetts General Hospital investigator.


Immunotherapy of precancerous skin lesions may prevent squamous cell carcinoma

A study led by a Massachusetts General Hospital investigator finds that a treatment previously shown to clear the precancerous skin lesions called actinic keratosis now appears to reduce the chance that the treated skin will develop squamous cell carcinomas, the second most common form of skin cancer.


Many who recover from addiction still have chronic health problems, diminished quality of life

A study from the Massachusetts General Hospital Recovery Research Institute shows that more than a third of individuals who consider themselves in recovery from an alcohol or other substance use disorder continue to suffer from chronic physical disease.


Study finds that parents often permit e-cigarette use in homes and cars with children

A study led by MassGeneral Hospital for Children researchers finds that parents who use e-cigarettes were more likely than those who smoke only traditional cigarettes to permit e-cigarette use inside both homes and cars.


Largest-ever study identifies gene regions associated with sleep duration

A study led by investigators from Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of Exeter Medical School has identified 76 new gene regions associated with sleep duration.


Mass General-led study provides new insights into the role of aging in heart failure

A team led by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators has found that activity of an important signaling pathway increases with aging and with heart failure and that inhibiting that pathway can improve cardiac function in mouse models.


Major genetic study confirms that many genes contribute to risk for Tourette's syndrome

A meta-analysis of multiple studies into the genetic background of Tourette’s syndrome – a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by chronic involuntary motor and vocal tics – finds that variants in hundreds of genes, working in combination, contribute to the development of the syndrome and suggests that Tourette’s is part of a continuous spectrum of tic disorders.


FEBRUARY 2019

Atlas of acute myeloid leukemia cell types may lead to improved targeted therapies

A research team led by Massachusetts General Hospital investigators has assembled a detailed atlas of bone marrow cells from patients with acute myeloid leukemia, an aggressive blood cancer that usually leads to death within five years of diagnosis.


Insomnia-associated gene regions suggest underlying mechanisms, potential treatment targets

An international research team led by investigators from Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of Exeter Medical School has identified 57 gene regions associated with symptoms of insomnia.


Novel antibody-drug conjugate shows promise against metastatic triple-negative breast cancer

In a clinical trial led by Massachusetts General Hospital investigators, treatment with the experimental drug sacituzumab govitecan produced a significant treatment response in patients with difficult-to-treat metastatic triple-negative breast cancer.


International medical graduates care for Medicare patients with greater health care needs

A study by a Massachusetts General Hospital research team indicates that internal medicine physicians who are graduates of medical schools outside the U.S. care for Medicare patients with more complex medical needs than those cared for by graduates of American medical schools.


Study finds how getting enough sleep reduces cardiovascular disease risk

Massachusetts General Hospital investigators have discovered one way that sleep protects against cardiovascular disease by preventing the buildup of arterial plaques called atherosclerosis.


Drinking and drug-use dreams in recovery tied to more severe addiction history

Vivid dreams involving drinking and drug use are common among individuals in recovery. A study from the Massachusetts General Hospital Recovery Research Institute finds these relapse dreams are more common in those with more severe clinical histories of alcohol and other drug problems.


Mass General study identifies brain cells that modulate behavioral response to threats

A team of investigators from the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Regenerative Medicine has identified a population of brain cells that appears to play a role in calibrating behavioral responses to potentially threatening situations.


Interaction between immune factors trigger cancer-promoting chronic inflammation

A Massachusetts General Hospital research team has identified interaction between two elements of the immune system as critical for the transformation of a protective immune response into chronic, cancer-promoting inflammation.


HPV infection may be behind rise in vocal-cord cancers among young non-smokers

A Massachusetts General Hospital research team finds that the remarkable recent increase in vocal-cord cancer in young adults appears to be the result of infection with strains of human papilloma virus that also cause cervical cancer and other malignancies.


Marijuana smoking linked to higher sperm concentrations

Men who have smoked marijuana at some point in their life had significantly higher concentrations of sperm when compared with men who have never smoked marijuana, according to new research led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and conducted in the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Clinic.


Excess immune cell pruning of synapses seen in neural cells derived from patients with schizophrenia

A study led by Massachusetts General Hospital investigators finds evidence that the process of synaptic pruning, a normal part of brain development during adolescence, is excessive in individuals with schizophrenia. The study is the first to directly observe excessive synaptic pruning in cells from patients with schizophrenia.


Study predicts worsening of opioid overdose crisis, limits of focusing on prescription opioids

A study from investigators at the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute for Technology Assessment projects that the opioid overdose epidemic in the U.S. is likely to increase in coming years, and that measures based on restricting access to prescription opioids will have a minimal impact in reducing overdose deaths.


JANUARY 2019

Study supports physical activity as a preventive strategy against depression

A team led by Massachusetts General Hospital investigators has used a novel research method to strongly support physical activity as a preventive measure for depression.


More People in Recovery from Substance Use Problems are Quitting Smoking than Ever Before

A study from the Massachusetts General Hospital Recovery Research Institute finds that people who entered recovery from drug or alcohol use problems in the past 10 years have quit smoking in greater numbers than their cohorts in the 1980s and 90s.


Urine testing of people with HIV for tuberculosis can save lives and be cost-effective

Screening all hospitalized patients with HIV for tuberculosis using urine tests would improve life expectancy and be cost-effective in Malawi and South Africa, according to an international study led by Massachusetts General Hospital investigators.


Researchers Use Deep Learning to Improve Access to Sleep Diagnostics

A new deep learning approach can automatically analyze and score sleep tests as effectively as sleep technologists, according to researchers from Georgia Tech’s School of Computational Science and Engineering and the Neurology Department of Massachusetts General Hospital.


"Happiness" Exercises Can Boost Mood in those Recovering from Substance Use Disorder

Brief, text-based, self-administered exercises can significantly increase in-the-moment happiness for adults recovering from substance use disorders, report researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital Recovery Research Institute.


Antihypertension Drug Losartan May Improve Treatment of Ovarian Cancer

A new study from a Massachusetts General Hospital research team has found that the hypertension drug losartan, which targets the angiotensin signaling pathway, may improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy agents used to treat ovarian cancer.


JAMA Report Outlines Recommendations for Evaluation and Management of Penicillin Allergy

A review article by a team led by Massachusetts General Hospital physicians recommends best practices for evaluation of reported penicillin allergies and provides clinicians with guidance and tools to help determine appropriate procedures based on the severity of previously reported reactions.


MGHfC study details development of functional skills in persons with Down syndrome

A new study from investigators at MassGeneral Hospital for Children and colleagues in the Netherlands provides important answers for expectant parents who learn their child will be born with Down syndrome.


Study details poverty, lack of health insurance among female health care workers

A study carried out by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania finds that low wages and poor benefits leave many female health care workers living below the poverty line.



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