Seeking signs of ancient life, NASA’s Perseverance rover landed on Mars on February 18th, 2021. When might humans be able to visit the red planet? The answer is complicated, as Mark Shelhamer and Christopher Wanjek explained in their virtual Demystifying Medicine lecture on February 23rd.
NIH’s Undiagnosed Diseases Program Grows Into a Worldwide Model
BY MICHAEL TABASKO, OD
Zarko Stanacev had suffered debilitating symptoms for more than a decade. What started out as episodes of hearing loss and severe headaches escalated to periodic seizures and meningitis. The attacks rendered him nearly comatose, confined him to a wheelchair at times, and cloaked him in profound fatigue. Without answers, the prospect of his living a normal life seemed out of reach. When his own doctors failed to figure out what was wrong, the NIH Undiagnosed Diseases Program saved him.
Paul Turner’s and Matthew Laub’s WALS Lectures on Phage Therapy
BY SUBHASH VERMA, NCI
Antibiotic resistance (AR) looms as one of the biggest public health crises of our time. But the use of bacteriophages (phages) to treat AR infections caused by bacteria offers a glimmer of hope. Phages are naturally-occurring viruses that invade bacterial cells and replicate. And phages are everywhere; one can assuredly find them in a lake, sewage water, or farm.
During his medical training, Sean Agbor-Enoh became aware that the standard method of detecting organ rejection—a tissue biopsy—was problematic. By the time a biopsy revealed that the organ was being rejected, it was often too late to save the lung. He has dedicated his career to finding better ways to prevent organ-transplant rejection.
In 1954, six-year-old “Tommy” Lingenfelter visited the NIH Clinical Center to have his heart evaluated by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s (NHLBI’s) cardiac-surgery team. His parents were told that he might not live past 18 years old. But after two successful heart-valve replacement surgeries—one in 1958 and another in 2006—and a long-lasting association with NIH, he lived more than 50 years beyond what was expected. Sadly, Walter Thomas Lingenfelter died on March 2, 2021, just a few weeks shy of his 73rd birthday.
Meet your recently tenured colleagues: Grégoire Altan-Bonnet (NCI-CCR), Bevil Conway (NEI), Cari Kitahara (NCI-DCEG), Eros Lazzerini Denchi (NCI-CCR), Susan M. Lea (NCI-CCR), Sung-Yun Pai (NCI-CCR), Udo Rudloff (NCI-CCR), Leorey N. Saligan (NINR), and Lei Shi (NIDA)
Read about scientific advances and discoveries by NIH scientists: engineered immune cells may prevent cancer spread; new way to test for deadly brain disease; adolescents may develop addictions faster than young adults; bacteriophage treatment rescues mice from multi-drug resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae; mosquito protein may inhibit some dangerous viruses; and more.
In April 1986, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident in northern Ukraine exposed millions of people in the surrounding region to ionizing radiation, a known carcinogen. The scope of radioactive contamination was well-documented, but the technology to study the genomic and molecular effects on those exposed did not exist at the time. Scientists from NCI led two international studies that shed new light on how radiation exposure affects human DNA.
Tips for Keeping Hazardous Waste Out of the Sanitary Sewers
BY CRAIG UPSON, OD
The valuable research and support activities performed at NIH produce an array of waste products. Whether they are hazardous or nonhazardous, all must be managed appropriately. It’s the responsibility of everyone at NIH to know what can and cannot go down the drain.