by Jackson Weirfigures by Jasmin Joseph-Chazan Why is cancer so difficult to cure? Why do available treatments only help a subset of patients? Why are some cancers more aggressive than others? These are questions that clinicians, scientists, and the public have pondered for generations. As it turns out, the answers are complicated because cancer biology is complicated. Luckily, new tools and technologies are helping us … Continue reading Dissecting cancer complexity across space and time
by Molly Sargen figures by Daniel Utter Water makes up 60-75% of human body weight. A loss of just 4% of total body water leads to dehydration, and a loss of 15% can be fatal. Likewise, a person could survive a month without food but wouldn’t survive 3 days without water. This crucial dependence on water broadly governs all life forms. Clearly water is vital … Continue reading Biological Roles of Water: Why is water necessary for life?
Before cells divide, they have to unwind their chromosomes, copy of all of their DNA, and then wrap the DNA backup into chromosomes. When this process happens, cells often lose a little bit of DNA from the tips of their chromosomes. An enzyme, called telomerase, can help repair chromosomes by adding that DNA back onto the ends. Scientists are interested in telomerase because inhibiting it … Continue reading Cellular Secrets: Getting a look at how cells repair DNA
Hi, I’m Leah – a cell biologist and a triplet, originally from Frankfurt, Germany. Having shared a womb with my two brothers probably genetically predestined me to become a scientist, as I wanted to learn more about the fascinating ways in which organisms grow, develop, and reproduce. In my current postdoc work at the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge, MA, I am driven by my passion … Continue reading Leah Bury
3D printing is poised to become a major technological advancement in treating injuries and illnesses that cause tissue damage. For scientists, creating artificial tissue with 3D printing has been a challenge. As the 3D printed structure grows in size, cells often move and compromise the tissue’s structural integrity. New work from Oxford University addresses this problem. By encasing cells in nanoliter sized droplets of fat molecules, researchers are able … Continue reading Scientists Learn to 3D Print Cells One Drop at A Time
What is the difference between a normal cell and a cancer cell? The answer lies in their DNA. Cancer results from the accumulation of genetic mutations, which trigger uncontrolled cell growth. Cancer’s mutated DNA can reveal its presence early on in the disease. Like leaving fingerprints at a crime scene, tumor cells release small pieces of DNA into the bloodstream. This “circulating tumor DNA” can now … Continue reading Catching Cancer: Blood Test for Early-Stage Diagnosis