IRP Research Highlights a Novel Target to Stop Viral Infections
Wednesday, July 28, 2021
On July 28, health providers, researchers, patients, advocates, and governments across the globe observe World Hepatitis Day. Like this year’s theme, ‘Hepatitis Can’t Wait,’ IRP researchers are wasting no time utilizing the unique resources at the National Institutes of Health to identify innovative ways to combat the virus.
IRP Distinguished Investigator T. Jake Liang, M.D., for example, has focused his life’s work on understanding how hepatitis viruses infect, replicate, and persist in cells. The viruses he studies, hepatitis B and C, together affect more than 10 percent of the worlds’ population and are the most common causes of chronic liver disease and liver cancer. The two viruses were originally discovered in the 1980s by another IRP scientist, Harvey J. Alter, M.D., who shared the Nobel Prize in Medicine for that work in 2020. Nearly three decades later, Dr. Liang’s lab at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) worked with scientists at the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) to develop a novel test to screen thousands of molecules using a technology called high-throughput screening, which led to the discovery of several compounds with the potential to block hepatitis C infection.
Treatment Approach Could Combat Obesity and Its Consequences
Tuesday, July 20, 2021
When your phone or laptop is low on power, you simply connect it to a charger and find the nearest electrical outlet, but the process of restoring lagging energy production in our cells is not nearly as simple. However, a new IRP study has identified a promising approach for doing just that, which could lead to new treatments for obesity and related metabolic ailments like heart disease and diabetes.
IRP Research Leads to First FDA-Approved Therapy for Merkel Cell Carcinoma
Tuesday, May 4, 2021
May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Skin cancers are the most common cancer in the U.S., affecting as many as five million people every year. Yet the rarest of these cancers is also one of the deadliest. Merkel cell carcinoma affects about 3,000 Americans each year, and until recently a lack of effective treatments meant only half of patients survived five years or longer after diagnosis. The median survival was nine months.
This bleak outlook changed radically in 2017 with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of a new immunotherapy drug called avelumab. Developed through a collaboration between IRP researchers and the pharmaceutical company EMD Serono, Inc., and marketed as Bavencio, avelumab was the first treatment approved specifically for Merkel cell carcinoma.
Biowulf Lends Massive Computing Power to NIH Research Efforts
Monday, August 3, 2020
Nations around the world are bringing every weapon in their arsenals to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic: vaccines, new and existing therapeutics, personal protective equipment like face masks, and enough hand sanitizer to fill the Atlantic Ocean. The NIH community is contributing to this unprecedented effort with a tool that no other research institution can claim: Biowulf, the world’s most powerful supercomputer solely dedicated to biomedical research.
IRP Investigators Begin Hundreds of New Coronavirus-Related Studies
Monday, June 15, 2020
Within just a few months after COVID-19 began spreading in the United States, IRP researchers had already made numerous important contributions to the fight against the deadly virus. Scientific knowledge about the disease continues to expand at a unprecedented pace, and the IRP will continue to play a major role in this effort over the coming months and years. In fact, nearly 300 new intramural research projects related to the novel coronavirus are currently starting up or have already begun.
Alteration Helps Prospective Drug Persist Longer in Rodents’ Bodies
Tuesday, February 4, 2020
Even the best construction crew cannot repair a building if it is called away from the site before it can begin its work. Similarly, while the body’s ability to cleanse itself of chemicals can prevent the buildup of toxins, it can also stymie the therapeutic effects of medications. IRP researchers recently found that modifying a prospective treatment for heart failure to help it persist longer in the body boosted its beneficial effects in mice.
NIH Investigator Recognized for Insights into Drug Resistance in Cancer
Tuesday, October 8, 2019
The National Academy of Sciences, a private society established in 1863, is made up of the United States’ most distinguished scientific scholars, including nearly 500 members who have won Nobel Prizes. Members of the NAS are elected by their peers and charged with the responsibility of providing independent, objective advice on national matters related to science and technology in an effort to further scientific innovation in the U.S.
IRP Senior Investigator Michael Gottesman, M.D., is one of four IRP researchers who were elected to the Academy over the past two years. At the NIH, Dr. Gottesman plays two very different but equally important roles, serving as Deputy Director for Intramural Research while also leading the Laboratory of Cell Biology at the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
Tuesday, February 26, 2019
What does a postbac actually do in the NIH IRP? Maybe you have an image of someone mixing colorful chemicals together like a mad scientist (which sometimes isn’t too far from the truth).
Although I am not creating any diabolical concoctions, I am kept quite busy running tests to examine whether our treatments reverse the effects of lung fibrosis, a thickening and scarring of lung tissue. Here’s what a typical week looks like for me.
Thursday, January 24, 2019
“That machine? You’re gonna have to get up close and personal with it,” Josh, my fellow postbac, told me. I looked at this small metal contraption and nodded, trying to appear as if I understood, while thinking: he just means that people spend so much time sectioning organs on the microtome that it’s like spending an extended amount of time with a loved one, right?
Fast forward a few days, and I find myself breathing warm, moist air onto a paraffin-embedded mouse lung to soften the wax, just before I slice four-micrometer sections of mouse lung tissue that will later be stained and examined under a microscope. “He wasn’t kidding,” I muttered.
Thursday, December 13, 2018
It was picture day, and I sat stiffly in front of a wrinkly blue curtain, nervously patting my hair into place. “You can smile, but just make sure no teeth are showing,” the person taking my picture told me. I laughed at that, and she also laughed, adding, “Everyone gets a good chuckle out of that one,” as she snapped my photo. A few days later, I picked up my photo, printed (not so) nicely with a vertical stripe running down my face. I didn’t even notice. I thought, this is real, as I proudly held up my official NIH ID badge.