Caption: The genome researchers collaborated with materials science engineers to create the arrays of microwells or compartments that each capture a single cell. Credit: UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering
Decoding the complete DNA genome in a single cell has been a major goal of technology developers. But the methods aren’t quite able to deal with that yet. So, for scientists to do this, they first need to make multiple copies of the DNA inside. Until now, the copying technology hasn’t been as accurate as scientists would like. If you think of the genome like a book, then our current copiers replicate certain chapters thousands of times, others just a few, and some not at all. As you can imagine, if you tried to read one of these copies, you’d be quite confused—and you certainly couldn’t rely on your reading for any medical purposes.
Now, NIH-funded researchers at the University of California, San Diego, have developed a new molecular technique that can accurately and uniformly copy the DNA inside a single cell . Using this technique, they’ve already made some surprising discoveries.
Caption: The new melanoma vaccine, which is implanted beneath the skin, is now being tested in human trials. Credit: Wyss Institute and Amos Chan
This aspirin-sized disk is the first therapeutic cancer vaccine implanted beneath the skin . We know it can eradicate melanoma in mice—the deadliest form of skin cancer—with impressive efficacy . Now, it’s being tested in human trials. Continue reading →
Once in a while a research publication reveals an entirely new perspective on a fundamental issue in biology or medicine. Today’s blog is about such a paper. The story, though complex, is very significant.
The choreography of human brain development is amazing, but quite mysterious. Today’s post highlights a study  that reveals the locations of some of the chemical choreographers that collaborate with DNA to orchestrate these fancy moves in the brain. Continue reading →
Caption: exRNA enveloped in a fatty bubble transmits messages between cells. Click here to view the video. Source: NIH Common Fund
When your email is interrupted or blocked, it creates havoc. Messages remain undelivered, stalling interactions between you and your friends, family, and colleagues at work. Likewise when communication fails between your body’s cells, disease can result. Scientists recently discovered a new group of molecules called extracellular RNA (exRNA) that appears to travel between cells to help them communicate. Now, NIH is encouraging researchers to explore the potential of these newly discovered messengers. Continue reading →
Credit: Sasan Azami-Soheily, National Human Genome Research Institute, NIH
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the completion of the Human Genome Project—a 13-year endeavor that I had the privilege of leading—the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC is launching an absolutely fantastic exhibit called “Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code.”