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STAT

STAT reporter Annalisa Merelli writes that the 2023 Lasker Award has been given to Prof. James Fujimoto, research affiliate Eric Swanson SM ’84 and David Huang PhD ’93 for their work advancing the diagnosis of eye disease. Fujimoto, Swanson and Huang developed “optical coherence tomography (OCT) — the first noninvasive technology allowing doctors to see high-resolution images of the retina.”

The New York Times

Prof. James Fujimoto, research affiliate Eric Swanson SM ’84 and David Huang PhD ’93 have won this year’s Lasker Award for their work inventing optical coherence tomography, which can “detect conditions like macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy earlier than previous methods, preventing blindness,” reports Noah Weiland and Cade Metz for The New York Times. “O.C.T. now is commonly used in ophthalmology offices, where the patient simply rests a chin and forehead against an instrument for a brief scan,” write Weiland and Metz. “The method, invented in 1991, offers a staggering amount of detail about the retina.”

The Boston Globe

Prof. James Fujimoto, research affiliate Eric Swanson SM ’84 and David Huang PhD ’93 have been honored with the Lasker Award for their work for their work inventing “imaging technology that revolutionized how ophthalmologists diagnose diseases of the eye," reports Jonathan Saltzman for The Boston Globe. The scientists were recognized for developing “optical coherence tomography, or OCT, the first technology that enabled doctors to see a two- and three-dimensional cross-sectional image of the retina,” Saltzman explains. “This painless scan takes less than 10 minutes, and is now the standard of care for diagnosing retina diseases.”

Popular Science

Researchers at MIT and elsewhere have developed a medical device that uses AI to evade scar tissue build up, reports Andrew Paul for Popular Science. “The technology’s secret weapon is its conductive, porous membrane capable of detecting when it is becoming blocked by scar tissue,” writes Paul. 

The Boston Globe

Michal Caspi Tal, a principal research scientist in the department of biological engineering, speaks with Boston Globe reporter Kay Lazar about her research aimed at better understanding why some people develop chronic illness after infection with Lyme disease and Covid-19. “Long Covid and chronic Lyme share so many features that it’s uncanny,” said Tal. “This is a solvable problem. This is not rocket science. This just needs to be looked at with fresh eyes.”

Forbes

Prof. Daniela Rus, director of CSAIL, writes for Forbes about Prof. Dina Katabi’s work using insights from wireless systems to help glean information about patient health. “Incorporating continuous time data collection in healthcare using ambient WiFi detectable by machine learning promises an era where early and accurate diagnosis becomes the norm rather than the exception,” writes Rus.

Forbes

In an article for Forbes, research affiliate John Werner spotlights Prof. Dina Katabi and her work showcasing how AI can boost the capabilities of clinical data. “We are going to collect data, clinical data from patients continuously in their homes, track the symptoms, the evolution of those symptoms, and process this data with machine learning so that we can get insights before problems occur,” says Katabi.

Forbes

Michael Goldberg PhD '08 founded Surge Therapeutics, a company developing a hydrogel immunotherapy treatment aimed at reducing the risk of surgically-removed cancers returning, reports India Rice for Forbes. “Broadly speaking, immunotherapy is a range of cancer treatments that aim to strengthen the immune system’s ability to fight cancer,” explains Rice. “But what makes Surge’s solution different is that it’s applied during surgery as opposed to other immunotherapies that are delivered weeks before or weeks after surgery.”

NPR

Prof. Jon Gruber speaks with Boston Public Radio hosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagen about the economics behind the Ozempic phenomenon, an antidiabetic drug being used to manage weight loss. “This is very new phenomenon and I think we are just starting to grapple with it,” says Gruber. “I think one positive aspect… it will put pressure on Congress to once again think more seriously about broader price of drug reform.”

Vox

Prof. Kevin Esvelt and his students have found that language-generating AI models could make it easier to create pandemic potential pathogens, reports Kelsey Piper for Vox.

Axios

MIT researchers and an undergraduate class found that chatbots could be prompted to suggest pandemic pathogens, including specific information not commonly known among experts, reports Ryan Health for Axios. The MIT researchers recommend "pre-release evaluations of LLMs by third parties, curating training datasets to remove harmful concepts, and verifiably screening all DNA generated by synthesis providers or used by contract research organizations."

Science

Science reporter Robert F. Service spotlights how Prof. Kevin Esvelt is sounding the alarm that “AI could help somebody with no science background and evil intentions design and order a virus capable of unleashing a pandemic.” 

HealthDay News

Prof. Bruce Walker and his team have found that CD8+ T cells can allow HIV patients to control the virus without the use of medications, reports Alan Mozes for HealthDay. “About one in 300 people are able to control HIV without the need for medications,” says Walker. “[It appears] that it is the CD8+ T cell response that achieves this control.”

HealthDay News

A study led by Steven Hyman, director of the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute, found that the AKAP11 gene has a significant impact on a person’s risk for bipolar disorder, reports Kirstie Ganobsik for HealthDay. “This work is exciting because it's the first time we've had a gene with large-effect mutations for bipolar disorder," says Hyman.