Tag: Immune System

Image of yeast cells, some of which have been "unmasked"

Cloaking device helps pathogens evade immune system

May 12, 2006

A network of genes might help pathogenic fungi hide.

Signals for war

November 16, 2005

Your immune system is an army on full alert. How does it recognize the enemy when it's under attack?

Drug hunters

September 22, 2004

Ask Microbia CEO Peter Hecht if drug discovery is an art or science, and he’ll likely tell you that it’s both. Reflecting on the company’s short—yet remarkably productive—history, the former Whitehead postdoc is quick to attribute Microbia’s success to a convergence of science, people, and passion.

New Compound Library to Speed Drug Discovery

September 4, 2003

Making drugs is a difficult and costly business. Even before companies spend exorbitant amounts on clinical trials (most of which fail), they already have spent significant time and money identifying the best drug candidates for those trials. Brent Stockwell has developed a possible shortcut for this early drug-development stage.

Studies Shed Light on Gene Response to Bacterial Infections

July 24, 2003

Making a medical diagnosis today often relies on symptomology, bacterial cultures, stain tests, experience – and luck. But new research by systems biologists at Whitehead aims to offer physicians new diagnostic tools by uncovering important differences in the way immune cells respond to bacteria.

Researchers Zero in on New Drug Combination Strategy

July 15, 2003

The magic-bullet approach to drug discovery has fallen short in treating the majority of human ailments. Doctors often rely instead on combination therapies that harness the power of multiple drugs. Researchers recently reported the development of the first systematic approach to screen for novel combination drugs, identifying several new pairings with significant therapeutic promise.

Vaccine Technology Homes in on Cancer

November 21, 2002

Whitehead Institute Member Richard Young's lab has discovered a unique approach to vaccine development, which is now in phase II and III human clinical trials for the cancer-causing human papilloma virus.

Scientists Establish Link Between DNA Replication and Gene Expression

December 12, 2001

Faced with an infection, the human body’s first line of defense is to produce millions of antibodies to neutralize the infection. Orchestrating this defense is the human immune cell called the B cell, which has the amazing ability to produce an army of antibodies, each a replica of the other and each tailor made for a specific infectious agent. In fact, maternal and paternal copies of genes can produce antibodies that are not exact replicas, so the B cell must silence one of them to avoid disorders of the immune system. But how a B cell pulls off this stunt has been a mystery.

Researchers Identify Pathogen-specific Gene Response in Human Immune Cells

October 25, 2001

Using DNA microarray technology, researchers at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research have discovered that a type of human immune cell, known as a dendritic cell, initiates an immune response that is tailor-made for specific infectious organisms. The researchers found that dendritic cells turn on different sets of genes, or a signature pattern of gene response, depending on whether the organism is a bacteria, virus, or fungus. This study shows that even at the earliest stages of infection, the human body knows the nature of the infectious organism, or pathogen, and responds with a specific type of immune response to eliminate the pathogen.

AIDS: Taming the Modern Plague: High Schoolers Learn About Frontiers in HIV Research

February 15, 2001

At the Whitehead Winter Lecture Series for High School Students, approximately 140 students from 40 area schools—and four students travelling from Singapore for the program—will hear about scientists’ efforts toward creating better therapies to combat HIV.

Dangerous Beauty: Fungal Flowers Offer Clues to Biofilm Formation on Medical Implants

February 1, 2001

At first glance, yeast growing on a jello-like medium look breathtakingly beautiful—like gossamer flowers with radial spokes emanating from a central hub (see cover of Science). But a florid fungus can be a dangerous beauty, able to coat medical implants with thin films causing serious complications in patients with hip and valve replacements. In fact, every year thousands of deaths can be traced to fungal infections around medical implants.

Scientists Discover Potent Protein that Prevents HIV Infection

January 11, 2001

In a promising advance in the war against AIDS, scientists have designed a potent, new protein that can prevent HIV infection by blocking its entry into human cells. The protein, called 5-Helix and designed to bind to a region in the HIV coat protein gp41, is able to prevent a wide range of HIV strains from fusing to the cell membrane and thereby infecting it.

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