Travis J Bernardo, PhD

Science and medical writer. Inveterate molecular biologist and data geek.

Immunotherapy and diabetes: A game of hide and seek?

Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) are an emerging type of cancer immunotherapy that uses the immune system to attack cancer cells. However, in some patients they cause the immune system to attack healthy cells, leading to autoimmune diseases. When pancreatic beta cells are attacked, this can lead to type 1 diabetes. In a case report published in Diabetes Care, researchers from Osaka University provide insight into this unintended consequence of ICIs.

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Cholesterol leash: Key tethering protein found to transport cellular cholesterol

Despite its less-than-stellar reputation in the news, cholesterol is an essential molecule for living things. It serves as the building block for hormones and helps give shape to the membranes that enclose cells and their internal parts. Consequently, many diseases arise from defects in the proper transport of cholesterol. Now, researchers at Osaka University have shed new light on one of the key pathways used to transport cholesterol inside of cells.

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Even flies like a familiar song

The ability to learn and speak language depends heavily on the sounds and language we experience during early infancy. While this may sound self-evident, we still do not understand exactly what happens neurologically as a developing infant learns how to speak. In a study published in eLife, researchers at Nagoya University devised a new neurological model in fruit flies that may illuminate this process -- and made some key discoveries about insect mating along the way.

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Strength in numbers: Worldwide study finds new genetic risk factors for stroke

Stroke is a serious disease affecting blood flow to and from the brain, and is the second leading cause of death worldwide. Stroke is characterized by a sudden onset of neurological dysfunction, caused by a blood clot or hemorrhage in a cerebral artery. While many genetic variants and lifestyle behaviors have been identified as risk factors for stroke, the genetic basis for the disease is unknown.

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Helpful B cells lend a hand to developing neurons

Several neurological disorders, including autism and schizophrenia, are thought to be driven in part by the failure of myelin to properly surround axons during development. In a study published in Nature Neuroscience, researchers at Osaka University have added an unexpected piece to the developmental puzzle, showing that immune cells may play a key role in helping myelin to form around newly minted neurons.

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Funding to Tackle Children's Blood Cancers, One Fish at a Time | Around Campus | Intranet

Childhood cancer research faces a significant funding gap compared to research for adult cancers. St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a national charitable organization, seeks to fill that gap through its awarding of grants to promising researchers. This year, the foundation awarded $22 million worldwide; among grant recipients was Dr. Arpan Sinha, a third-year fellow in pediatric hematology/oncology at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore (CHAM).

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