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Boston Herald

Researchers from MIT and elsewhere are investigating the “pathways, risk factors, and molecules” involved in the development of colorectal cancer, reports Rick Sobey for The Boston Herald. “The research team has uncovered contributing causes to this rise in early-onset cases, including: overweight/obesity, physical inactivity, poor diet, and alterations in the gut microbiome,” writes Sobey.

New Scientist

MIT scientists have found that a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease involving flickering lights and low-pitched sound could also help prevent cognitive problems after cancer treatment, reports Clare Wilson for New Scientist. The treatment is aimed at stimulating 40 Hz brainwaves, which are linked to memory processing. The results suggest targeting such “brainwaves may result in broader benefits for the brain, including increasing the activity of immune cells and, most recently, boosting its drainage system, which could help clear a toxic protein called beta-amyloid.”

Scientific American

MIT researchers have developed new technology that allows vaccines to be directly inserted into the lymph nodes to target two of the most common mutations in the KRAS gene, which cause roughly one third of all cancers, reports Jaimie Seaton for Scientific American. “The team modified the small vaccine components to include a fatty acid, which enables the vaccine to effectively hitch a ride on albumin, a common protein found throughout the body,” explains Seaton. “Albumin serves as a molecular shuttle bus, with pockets on its surface where fatty acids can bind to it.”

The Boston Globe

Researchers from MIT and elsewhere have developed an AI model that is capable of identifying 3 ½ times more people who are at high-risk for developing pancreatic cancer than current standards, reports Felice J. Freyer for The Boston Globe. “This work has the potential to enlarge the group of pancreatic cancer patients who can benefit from screening from 10 percent to 35 percent,” explains Freyer. “The group hopes its model will eventually help detect risk of other hard-to-find cancers, like ovarian.”


Prof. Ron Weiss co-founded Strand Therapeutics, a biotech company developing mRNA therapies, reports Emily Mullin for Wired. “The notion is that genetic circuits can really have significant impact on safety and efficacy,” says Weiss. “This begins to really open up the door for creating therapies whose sophistication can match the underlying complexity of biology.”


Carmen Martin-Alonso PhD '23 speaks with Zakiya Whatley on the Science podcast to discuss her recent research focused on developing new methods to improve liquid biopsies for cancer. “I think this is super, super promising for the field of oncology where having more sensitive ctDNA-based liquid biopsies could really transform patient management,” says Alonso. “And in the same way as radio label converse agents have transformed imaging, we think that priming agents could transform the utility of liquid biopsies.”


Prof. Canan Dagdeviren and her team have developed a wearable ultrasound patch that can be used to screen for breast cancer at home, reports Grace Browne for Wired. “Dagdeviren wants to give people the opportunity to know what’s happening inside their bodies every day, the same way we check the weather forecast,” writes Browne.

HealthDay News

A new analysis from MIT researchers has found that preventative screenings such as a colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy can reduce cancer rates more than previous analyses suggested, reports Ernie Mundell for HealthDay. “Prior colon cancer screening studies found that regular colonoscopy/sigmoidoscopy reduced that rate by 25% -- to 0.75%,” explains Mundell. “But the new analysis took into account the number of participants in a colon cancer screening trial who decided, for whatever reason, to skip screening. When these "non-adherent" folks were eliminated from statistical calculations, the actual percentage of people who went on to develop colon cancer over a 10-year span fell to just 0.5%.”


Forbes contributor William Haseltine spotlights how MIT researchers have developed a flexible ultrasound patch that can be used to help estimate bladder volume. “The applications for long-term therapeutic and regenerative medicine for the ultrasound patch are innumerable, only to be limited by the imagination of those implementing their use,” writes Haseltine. “Among the most forthcoming are situations where someone may be unable to visit their physician for a medically-administered ultrasound.”


Researchers at MIT and elsewhere have developed a new type of cancer treatment – a gel that can be used to deliver cancer drugs for solid tumors, reports WHDH. “It’s really transformative to try and help patients whose tumors are very resistant to therapy,” says Prof. Giovanni Traverso.

National Geographic

MIT researchers have designed a wearable ultrasound device that could help make breast cancer screening more accessible, reports Carrie Arnold for National Geographic.  “Early detection is the key for survival,” says Prof. Canan Dagdeviren. “Our humble calculation shows that this technology has the potential to save 12 million lives per year globally.”


Holly Metcalf, head coach for the MIT women’s openweight rowing team, speaks with Esteban Bustillos of GBH News about the Survivor Rowing Network, a program aimed at introducing the sport of rowing to cancer survivors. Metcalf is coaching two boats from the Survivor Rowing in the 2023 Head of the Charles Regatta. “What I love about being here is students are visionary. And big world problems, they want to solve them. So maybe here at MIT one of my students may have an answer to getting rid of cancer,” she said. “That’s here. It’s all about finding answers through collaboration and that’s what rowing is, it’s a collaboration of mind, of body.”

Scientific American

Researchers at MIT have designed “a wearable ultrasound scanner that could be used at home to detect breast tumors earlier,” reports Simon Makin for Scientific American. “The researchers incorporated the scanner into a flexible, honeycombed 3-D-printed patch that can be fixed into a bra,” explains Makin. “The wearer moves the scanner among six different positions on the breast, where it snaps into place with magnets, allowing reproducible scanning of the whole breast.”