Custom-Built Molecule May Improve On Its Natural Counterpart
Monday, February 22, 2021
Ten years ago, a young woman from Chicago came to the National Institutes of Health with a rare genetic condition. A mutation in her DNA was making her metabolic system malfunction, causing levels of fat molecules called triglycerides in her blood to skyrocket far out of the normal range. This triggered inflammation in her pancreas, a painful and potentially life-threatening condition known as pancreatitis. She couldn’t understand why there wasn’t any kind of treatment to help her.
IRP senior investigator Alan T. Remaley, M.D., Ph.D., took on the challenge with the help of Anna Wolska, Ph.D., a research fellow in his lab. Dr. Remaley leads the Lipoprotein Metabolism Section in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), where he and Dr. Wolska study lipoproteins, small particles that transport fats such as cholesterol and triglycerides through the bloodstream to be broken down and used by cells for energy. Their efforts to help that young woman ultimately led to the discovery — published last January — of a new strategy for reducing triglycerides in order to treat serious ailments like pancreatitis and heart disease.
Narrower Research Focus Could Aid Treatment for Autoimmune Diseases
Tuesday, March 10, 2020
Police pursuing a dangerous criminal rely on witness descriptions of the suspect’s specific traits — height, weight, hair color, tattoos — to pick out the perpetrator from a vast population of mostly innocent individuals. Scientists can likewise distinguish between highly similar cell types using cutting-edge laboratory procedures. Using such techniques, IRP researchers have identified a particular variety of cell in a specific stage of its life cycle as a primary culprit behind the autoimmune disease known as lupus.
Five Questions with Dr. Nehal Mehta
Thursday, August 29, 2019
Most Americans know someone who has been affected by heart disease. Despite its status as the leading cause of death in the U.S. today, rates of heart disease have actually been steadily falling since they hit their peak in 1968. In fact, between 1970 and 2005, the life expectancy of the average American increased over 70 percent due in part to reductions in heart disease-related deaths.
Research conducted by IRP scientists has played a key role in curbing the heart disease epidemic by helping identify now well-known risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, obesity, and physical inactivity. However, not all risk factors are so commonly known. A 2017 study by IRP Lasker Clinical Research Scholar Nehal Mehta, M.D., M.S.C.E., revealed that untreated psoriasis — a chronic, relapsing, inflammatory skin disease — is linked to an elevated risk for premature coronary artery disease. Dr. Mehta’s research demonstrated a strong link between psoriasis-induced skin inflammation and and inflammation of the blood vessels, a precursor to heart disease. Through this study, the largest ongoing study of individuals with psoriasis to-date, Dr. Mehta’s team has concluded that controlling psoriasis-associated skin disease could be an important means of reducing cardiac risk in this population.
Tuesday, January 22, 2019
While many people think staving off aging means drinking seaweed smoothies and swallowing fish oil supplements, the key to extending life increasingly appears to be not putting things in our mouths. In yet another example of the anti-aging powers of eating less — what scientists call caloric restriction — IRP researchers have identified the specific aging-induced cellular and molecular changes in arteries that are curbed by substantially reducing calorie intake.
Tuesday, November 27, 2018
The human genome comprises roughly three billion base pairs and around 20,000 protein-coding genes, according to recent estimates. That’s a lot of information crammed into the tiny nucleus of a cell, and it doesn’t even include the many genes that do not produce a protein or the fact that most genes come in multiple flavors that vary in different individuals. Add to that the phenomenon of an identical gene being either more or less active in two different people and you can quickly end up with genomic datasets that would overload nearly any computer. Fortunately for IRP senior investigator Daniel Levy, M.D., the NIH IRP has one of the few computer systems in the world that can handle this mountain of information.
Tuesday, May 29, 2018
Barbra Streisand knows how to command an audience, whether she’s behind a microphone, a camera, or a podium. After a storied career beguiling theater-goers, Streisand’s new goal is not just to warm hearts but to save them from disease as well.
Friday, February 9, 2018
At the start of his third term in 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s blood pressure was an alarmingly high 188/105—or, more accurately, alarming by today’s standards. But back then, nobody knew that high blood pressure was related in any way to cardiovascular disease (CVD). As a result, the nation was completely blind-sided when Roosevelt died of a stroke four years later.
The link between hypertension and CVD is now common knowledge due to a research program launched in 1948 called the Framingham Heart Study, now in its 70th year. To kick off American Heart Month this February, the Framingham Study’s current director, IRP Senior Investigator Daniel Levy, M.D., gave a lecture on February 1, titled “Unraveling the Mysteries of Cardiovascular Disease: Lessons from NHLBI’s Framingham Heart Study.”
Friday, December 4, 2015
Sometimes you have to go to the president. John S. Millis, chairman of the President's Panel on Heart Disease, and National Heart and Lung Institute (NHLI) Director Theodore Cooper met on June 27, 1972 with President Richard Nixon to review the Heart Research Agreement between the U.S. and U.S.S.R. Read more...