Campus & Community

Research in brief

2 min read

Low-dose aspirin proven to offer inflammation protection

Researchers at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital and colleagues have demonstrated for the first time in humans in a randomized clinical trial that low-dose aspirin – dosages equivalent to one baby aspirin (81 mg) – trigger the body to generate its own anti-inflammatory compounds that help fight unwanted inflammation. This finding has implications for heart disease, arthritis, and many other diseases, that are now recognized to be associated with inflammation. This research, which is published in the October 2004 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, demonstrates that aspirin also generates “good” anti-inflammatory compounds necessary to fight disease.

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Long-sought key to hearing may be found in protein

Researchers at Harvard Medical School and their colleagues report in the Oct. 13 issue of the journal Nature’s advanced online edition that they have identified a protein deep in the inner ear that they believe translates sound into the nerve impulses used by the brain.

The discovery could help scientists investigate normal hearing and inherited forms of deafness, which typically involve other protein pieces of the same acoustic apparatus.

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Gene mutation discovery may lead to leukemia treatment

Researchers at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) have made a breakthrough discovery, identifying a common mutation in T-cell acute lymphocytic leukemia (T-ALL), an important form of cancer in children and adolescents. The effects of the mutated gene, called NOTCH1, can be inhibited by a type of drug designed to treat Alzheimer’s disease patients, providing researchers with hope that they can now halt this form of leukemia with a new, very specific therapy.

Because these drugs have already been under development for several years, a clinical trial to test it in leukemia patients will be possible in the near future. The current research will appear in the Oct. 8 issue.

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