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immunofluorescent image of a tumor

Immuno-Pep Squad

Nature

The immune system’s ability to detect nascent tumors requires the presentation of protein fragment (peptide) antigens that it can recognize. Due to limitations in how samples are collected and studied, researchers have difficulty identifying peptide presentation patterns specific to cancer. However, an ongoing Jacks Lab/White Lab collaboration, originally begun as a hallway conversation between colleagues, shows the power of combining engineered mouse models with mass spectrometry to better profile the collection of immunopeptides on the surface of cancer cells. The researchers' latest paper, published in Nature, reveals new tumor antigens potentially useful for immunotherapies and understanding of immune response.

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Inside Passage

Science Translational Medicine

The Irvine Lab is developing an intranasal vaccine that can bypass multiple barriers in the nasal cavity and activate a frontline defense against mucosally-transmitted pathogens. Such immunization strategies are much needed across the infectious disease landscape but are limited by poor uptake across mucosal surfaces. In a paper appearing in Science Translational Medicine, the researchers describe how they use the naturally-occurring protein albumin to chaperone vaccine components across the mucosal lining and into the nasal-associated lymphoid tissues where they can generate an effective immune response. The work is also featured in the 2022 Image Awards exhibition.

Vaccine Technology Gets a Boost

MIT News

Biodegradable core-shell microparticles developed by Jaklenec and Langer Lab researchers could be used to administer self-boosting vaccines or combination cancer therapies. Their latest study, published in Science Advances, characterizes the particles' cargo release mechanism and degradation over time, which control the release profile. This project was featured in the 2020 Image Awards exhibition.

Cross-Presented and Accounted For

MIT Koch Institute

By processing fragments of tumor cells and pathogens and presenting them as antigens, dendritic cells can train T cells to mount an immune response. The Spranger and White Labs have developed a method that, for the first time, surveys the number and types of antigens cross-presented by dendritic cells. In a study published in the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer and supported in part by the Frontier Research Program, researchers found the original location of a protein had a profound impact on whether it would be cross-presented by a dendritic cell. The results could help researchers develop new strategies for patients and tumor types that do not respond well to immune checkpoint blockade therapies.

2022 Symposium in Review

MIT Koch Institute

Videos from the 20th Annual Cancer Research Symposium, “Ten Years at the Koch Institute,” are now available. Take a tour through keynote talks by Ned Sharpless, Francis Collins, and Matthew Vander Heiden, a panel on the future of convergent science, and research presentations by Koch Institute faculty and alumni.

Liver on a Chip

MIT News

A liver tissue model developed by the Bhatia Lab, in collaboration with Boston University's Chen Lab, allows researchers to precisely trace the steps involved in liver regeneration. A recent study, published in PNAS, describes the identification of certain growth factors and molecules that contribute to cells entering the cell cycle. This work presents a complementary approach to the lab's other 3D liver models featured in the 2016 and 2021 Koch Institute Image Awards exhibitions.
 

Langer Wins BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award

MIT News

Robert Langer, David H. Koch (1962) Institute Professor, has won the prestigious BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Biology and Biomedicine category. He shares the award with Dr. Katalin Karikó and Dr. Drew Weissman  in recognition of their contributions to messenger (mRNA) therapeutics and delivery technology, which enabled the rapid development SARS-CoV-2 vaccines and promises to expand to other therapeutical areas, including cancer, autoimmune and neurodegenerative disorders, enzyme deficiencies, and other viral infections. In particular, Langer is cited for his work enabling the repackaging mRNA and other macromolecule therapeutics for their delivery into cells.

The PIs That Bind

MIT News

KI members Graham Walker, Michael Hemann, Michael Yaffe, Jiazhu Chen, Sangeeta Bhatia and biologist Sebastian Lourido have been awarded a Bose Research Grant, which supports vanguard research efforts. Their project, “Addressing Critical Human Health Problems with a Special Heme-binding Peptide” uses a recently discovered plant peptide that binds and sequesters a molecule critical in hemoglobin oxygen binding in a new way.

Directed Evolution

Instigators of Change 

Angela Belcher spoke with the Instigators of Change podcast about how her career has evolved from working on batteries and solar cells to developing new tools for cancer diagnostics and environmental remediation. Highlights include the story of how the Koch Institute's early-years boot camps and speed dating sessions helped spark her passion for fighting ovarian cancer, and her top tips for team-building and getting inventions to market.
 

Immuno-Pep Squad

Nature

The immune system’s ability to detect nascent tumors requires the presentation of protein fragment (peptide) antigens that it can recognize. Due to limitations in how samples are collected and studied, researchers have difficulty identifying peptide presentation patterns specific to cancer. However, an ongoing Jacks Lab/White Lab collaboration, originally begun as a hallway conversation between colleagues, shows the power of combining engineered mouse models with mass spectrometry to better profile the collection of immunopeptides on the surface of cancer cells. The researchers' latest paper, published in Nature, reveals new tumor antigens potentially useful for immunotherapies and understanding of immune response.

Phenotype Phenomenon

MIT News

The Weissman Lab has produced the first map tying every human gene to its function in a cell. In a study published in Cell, researchers used the map to explore the effect of genes with previously unknown functions, investigate the response of mitochondria to stress, and screen for genes that cause chromosomes to be lost or gained.