Cell Race Organizers Hope to Accelerate Sepsis Research

Sepsis is a deadly condition that impacts more than a million Americans each year. And yet we still don’t know  that much about what causes it or how to prevent it. One Massachusetts General Hospital researcher believes that the answer can be found in the movement of white blood cells in the body, and he’s developed a unique way to learn more about how cells move– a winner-take-all cell race. Learn more about the race and how you can support Dr. Daniel Irimia’s work here.

BOTSOGO: Improving Cancer Care and Advancing Research in Botswana


By Milo Goodman
Research Institute Communications Intern

The Botswana Oncology Global Outreach (BOTSOGO) is a collaborative program between the Botswana-Harvard AIDS Institute Partnership (BHP) and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) that works to increase education about, access to, and quality of cancer care in Botswana.

The program, which was established in 2011, was co-founded and is co-directed by Dr. Jason Efstathiou of MGH and Dr. Scott Dryden-Peterson of Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

By assisting medical professionals in Botswana and conducting on-site clinical research, BOTSOGO aims to create a comprehensive cancer control plan for the country.

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How Social Media Can Distort and Misinform When Communicating Science

Great article about the challenges of science communication (or lack thereof) in the age of social media….

“Social media has been transformative in how it has democratized communication. But it’s a double-edged sword: social media allows scientists to correct misinformation by communicating their findings with public audiences to promote an understanding of complex issues. Equally dangerously, though, social-media activism has the potential not only to distort public understanding of these critical issues but also to disrupt governmental support and policy regulations.”


Fascinating Findings from Massachusetts General Hospital: Recent Research on Alzheimer’s, Patient Navigators and the Wage Gap

By Milo Goodman
Research Institute Intern

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the chance to read about some extremely interesting research studies that were recently conducted by investigators at Mass General.

Out of the dozens I’ve encountered, three have stood out to me in particular: research on sex-based income disparities among physicians, a study on the development of a polygenic risk score to determine one’s chances of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia, and research on the importance of patient assistance for cancer screening rates.

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Working to Improve the Accuracy of Proton Beam Treatments

Proton beam treatment works by bombarding the tumor with a stream of high-speed protons that kill the tumor cells.

The treatment is designed to target only the affected area, thus reducing collateral damage to the tissue surrounding the tumor. The tricky part is making sure that the protons hit their mark.

The protons are only effective when they hit the tumor at certain target points and at a certain power level.

Individual tissues and bone density vary between individuals, and if patients lose or gain weight in between treatments, the position of the tumor can change enough to affect the treatment. Thus, it is not easy to confirm that the proton beam hit the target as intended and the damage to surrounding tissue has been minimized.

Grogg and her colleagues at Massachusetts General Hospital hope to use complementary imaging techniques to make the proton treatments more precise. “We want to make sure that we are putting the protons exactly where they are supposed to be,” she explains.