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Boston Magazine

Boston Magazine reporter Dana Guth writes that MIT researchers are programming harmless strains of E. coli bacteria to destroy tumor cells. Guth explains that the programmed bacteria could be ingested or injected and “could offer a new way to stave off liver cancer.”

Reuters

MIT researchers have developed a portable system that could produce biotech drugs on demand, reports Lisa Rapaport for Reuters. “The table-top machine has the potential to one day produce proteins to treat any number of a wide range of conditions like cancer, diabetes, heart attacks, and hemophilia,” writes Rapaport. 

Boston Magazine

A portable device developed by MIT researchers uses programmable yeast to create drugs on demand, reports Jamie Ducharme for Boston Magazine. The device “could be a lifesaver for doctors working in vulnerable conditions, such as the battlefield, a remote village, or even an ambulance,” writes Ducharme. 

Popular Science

Popular Science reporter Samantha Cole writes that MIT researchers have developed a laptop-sized, portable device that can produce biopharmaceuticals for doctors in remote locations. Cole explains that the device can “produce a single dose of treatment with a series of steps, using genetically engineered yeast cells as a mini 'factory' for a variety of customizable drugs.”

Boston Herald

Boston Herald reporter Lindsay Kalter writes that MIT researchers have developed a portable pharmacy that can manufacture biopharmaceuticals and modify treatments. “Instead of relying on a cocktail that already exists, you can reprogram the reactor on demand to customize the treatment,” says Prof. Timothy Lu. 

Slate

A new study co-authored by researchers at the Broad Institute examines how exposure to microbes during childhood can impact the development of immune systems, reports Elissa Strauss for Slate. The researchers found that “while our individual habits are a factor in autoimmune disorders, they’re hardly the only cause.”

HuffPost

Huffington Post reporter Carolyn Gregoire writes that MIT spinoff Synlogic is working on reprogramming gut bacteria to act as a living therapeutic. “It’s become really clear that the bacteria living in us and on us affect our bodies in a variety of different ways — in ways that we never imagined,” explains Prof. Timothy Lu. 

New Scientist

MIT researchers have developed a programming language that allows users to design DNA circuits for living cells, writes Andy Coghlan for New Scientist. “We take the same approach as for designing an electronic chip,” says Prof. Christopher Voigt. “Every step in the process is the same – it’s just that instead of mapping the circuit to silicon, it’s mapped to DNA.”

Nature

MIT researchers have developed a programming language for living cells, reports Erika Check Hayden for Nature. “What we’re finding over time is that biology isn’t this kind of mysterious unpredictable substrate; it just felt that way because we didn’t really have the tools to see what was going on,” Prof. Christopher Voigt says.

Bloomberg

Researchers at the MIT Media Lab have developed a new material, called bioLogic, that alters its shape with changes in humidity and opens ventilation ducts when the wearer starts sweating, writes Olga Kharif for Bloomberg Business. 

Guardian

MIT researchers have demonstrated that power plant emissions can be turned into liquid fuels using engineered microbes, reports Damian Carrington for The Guardian. Carrington explains that the process “uses bacteria to convert the waste gases into acetic acid - vinegar - then an engineered yeast to produce an oil.”

BBC News

Jane Wakefield reports for BBC News on a system developed by postdoctoral fellow Tal Danino in which bacteria are programmed to detect cancers in the liver. "It is a fascinating universe in our body and we can now program bacteria like we program computers,” Danino says.

WBUR

WBUR’s Deborah Becker and Lynn Jolicoeur report on the new MIT-MGH partnership aimed at developing better tools to treat disease. Prof. Arup Chakraborty hopes the collaboration will allow researchers to take risks. “Safe ideas are often not the transformative ones,” he says. 

Nature

Nature highlights the top science news of the week, including the new interdisciplinary center at MIT aimed at examining the microbiome. “The center will initially focus on inflammatory bowel disease, but organizers hope to eventually broaden the scope to diseases such as multiple sclerosis, arthritis and autism,” Nature reports. 

Popular Science

Loren Grush of Popular Science writes about a new type of antibiotic developed by MIT researchers that could help kill drug-resistant bacteria. “[T]he team developed their own gene-editing system, capable of turning off certain bacterial genes that spur antibiotic resistance,” Grush explains.