News Archive

 

Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research Launches Fellowships in Computational Biology with Pfizer Central Research

February 4, 2000

The Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research today announced a new program for Computational Biology, a scientific discipline regarded by researchers as critical to advancing gene research. The Computational Biology Fellows Program at the Whitehead Institute, with funding and scientific support from Pfizer Central Research, will begin with two Fellows, who will conduct independent research at the interface of biology, computer science, and mathematics.

Recombinant Protein May Play Key Role in Treating Immunocompromised Patients

January 17, 2000

In a promising new advance in vaccine development, scientists have identified a protein fragment that is exceptionally potent in eliciting an immune response against infected cells and cancer cells. When scientists injected a vaccine containing this fragment into mice lacking a healthy immune system, the animals were able to mount a cellular immune response despite their compromised immune system.

Tracing the Evolution of Sex Chromosomes

October 29, 1999

Of the 46 human chromosomes, 44 are members of identical pairs. But two—the X and the Y—stand apart because they have no perfect match. Nevertheless, evolution has charged these two genetic loners with the critical task of sex determination: embryos with two X chromosomes develop into females, while embryos with an X and a Y chromosome develop into males.

New DNA Chip Method Could Improve Cancer Diagnosis

October 14, 1999

One of the biggest challenges in cancer treatment is choosing the right regimen for a given patient. Treatment strategies work differently for different tumors. In choosing effective treatments with minimal side effects, oncologists rely heavily on biopsy reports that diagnose the tumor type involved. However, even today, cancer diagnosis is done the old-fashioned way: by observing morphological changes in biopsies under the microscope. The method suffers from serious limitations because cancer cells that look similar under the microscope can follow different clinical courses and respond differently to therapy. Now, in a new study reported in Friday's Science,a team of Whitehead-led researchers reports the first systematic and objective approach for identifying and classifying tumor types.

Scientists Discover New Candidate Drugs for Treating HIV Infection

October 1, 1999

Scientists have achieved a major step toward finding a new class of oral drugs to treat HIV infection. They have identified a class of compounds that prevent HIV infection by stopping the virus at its port of entry into the cell. Unlike currently used drugs that target HIV at other points during its life cycle — after it has already infected the cell — these compounds lock into a vulnerable "pocket" in the HIV's coat protein, preventing its fusion with cell membranes and thereby its ability to enter and infect cells.

Scientists Discover Protein that May Provide a New Target for Obesity Therapy

September 23, 1999

Scientists at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. have identified a protein in the small intestine that plays a key role in the uptake of dietary fat into the body. The scientists report in the September 24 issue of Molecular Cell that the protein, called fatty acid transporter protein-4 (FATP4), may constitute a novel target for anti-obesity therapy in humans.

Transformation of Normal Human Cells into Cancer Cells

July 28, 1999

Researchers led by Dr. Robert A. Weinberg of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research have made the first genetically defined human cancer cells, according to a report published in the July 29 issue of Nature. This achievement brings scientists one step closer to understanding the complex process by which human cells become cancerous.

Transmitting Infertility from Father to Son

July 1, 1999

Genetic studies at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research have shown that some boys will be infertile as adults because they have inherited a genetic defect from their fathers through a commonly used method of assisted reproduction known as intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

New Gene May Help Scientists Understand More About How the Body Grows

April 3, 1999

Scientists at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and Genetics Institute, Inc. have identified a new gene called derriere that plays a key role in the development of the frog embryo from the neck down, including the neural tube and the muscles flanking the spinal cord. Embryos lacking derriere gene function developed normal heads but only had disorganized tissue where the trunk and tail should have been. Scientists conclude that derriere controls the formation of the posterior regions of the embryo-that is, the entire body from the neck down.

Demystifying Cancer: Physicians, Cancer Researchers, and Web Experts Offer Two-day Symposium for Patients, Families, Health Care Providers, and the General Public

March 23, 1999

To help people decipher the bewildering maze of cancer information on the World Wide Web and to empower patients and families to work as effective partners with their health care providers, four Boston-based organizations are offering a unique two-day program called "Demystifying Cancer." This program will take place at Boston's Museum of Science on Friday and Saturday, April 9 and 10.

Whitehead Receives $35 Million Grant from National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)

March 12, 1999

The Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Medical Research will receive approximately $35 million from the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), National Institutes of Health, to participate in the first year of the definitive, full-scale effort to sequence the human genome.

“SOMs” Help Analyze Thousands of Genes

March 12, 1999

Using a sophisticated computer algorithm, a team of scientists at the Whitehead Institute has designed a new technique to analyze the massive amounts of data generated by DNA microarrays, also known as DNA chips. This technique will help scientists decipher how our 100,000 genes work together to keep us healthy and how diseases result when they fail.

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