ISB News

In First-of-Its-Kind Trial, Scientists Use CRISPR to Treat Cancer

Scientists for the first time have used CRISPR to substitute a gene to treat patients with cancer. The remarkable findings were published in the journal Nature and presented at the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) 2022.

The Gut Microbiome’s Supersized Role In Shaping Our Metabolome

ISB researchers have shown which blood metabolites are associated with the gut microbiome, genetics, or the interplay between both. Their findings, published in the journal Nature Metabolism, have promising implications for guiding targeted therapies designed to alter the composition of the blood metabolome to improve human health.

ISB President Dr. Jim Heath

ISB Leading NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center to Study Sequential Targeted Inhibitors and Immunotherapies

The NCI awarded ISB a 5-year, $13 million grant to lead a comprehensive cancer center and study sequential combinations of targeted inhibitors and immunotherapies. The program is designed to determine if the treatments yield greater patient benefit when administered in sequence rather than as monotherapies or as simultaneously administered combinations.

Gut Microbiome Composition Predictive of Patient Response to Statins

New ISB research shows that different patient responses to statins can be explained by the variation in the human microbiome. The findings were published in the journal Med, and suggest that microbiome monitoring could be used to help optimize personalized statin treatments.

Risk Factors for Severe COVID-19 in Hospitalized Adults Differ by Age

A just-published study provides new information about which hospitalized COVID-19 patients are most likely to need mechanical ventilation or to die. The ISB-led work shows that vital signs and lab results at the time of hospital admission are the most accurate predictors of disease severity, more so than comorbidities and demographics.

Understanding, Preventing and Treating Long-Term Effects of COVID: RECOVER Study Enrolling Patients from Pacific Northwest

As part of a massive nationwide effort, ISB is leading a multi-site consortium for the NIH RECOVER (Researching COVID to Enhance Recovery) Initiative. The Pacific Northwest consortium is made up of ISB, Providence, Swedish, and University of Washington School of Medicine.

Jim Heath AACR Academy Fellow

Dr. Jim Heath Named Fellow of AACR Academy Class of 2022

Dr. Jim Heath was announced as a newly elected Fellow of the American Academy for Cancer Research (AACR) Academy Class of 2022. “I am honored and humbled to be recognized as part of this renowned group of researchers who have done so much to move our understanding of cancer forward,” Heath said.

Predicting ‘Long COVID’ At Initial Point of COVID-19 Diagnosis

Researchers have identified several factors that can be measured at the initial point of COVID-19 diagnosis that anticipate if a patient is likely to develop long COVID. They also found that mild cases of COVID-19, not just severe cases, are associated with long COVID. Their findings were published by the journal Cell.

Maternal COVID-19 Infection Increases Risks of Preterm Birth, Low Birth Weight and Stillbirth

An ISB-led study examined the electronic health records of more than 18,000 people with SARS-CoV-2 tests during pregnancy, and found that those who contracted COVID-19 while pregnant were more likely to have poor birth outcomes including preterm birth, small for gestational age, low birth weight, and stillbirth. 

Anna Kuchina

Dr. Anna Kuchina Joins ISB as Assistant Professor

Dr. Anna Kuchina has joined ISB as assistant professor, and is our newest faculty member. Kuchina comes to ISB after completing her postdoctoral training in the Seelig Lab at the University of Washington. In this Q&A, we delve into Kuchina’s research career to date, her research areas of interest, and much more. 

Baliga, Peterson and Srinivas

ISB Creates Algorithms To Accelerate Discovery of Efficacious Treatments for Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) is the world’s second leading infectious disease killer after COVID-19. Drug resistance to TB is a public health crisis. ISB researchers have developed algorithms to predict the efficacy of drugs in treating Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB), the causative agent for TB. These research findings were published in the journal Cell Reports Methods. 

Nir Barzilai on Health Span, Life Span and the New Science of Longevity

Longevity and aging researcher Dr. Nir Barzilai participated in a fireside chat conversation with ISB Co-founder and Professor Dr. Lee Hood. The two renowned scientists talked about Barzilai’s study of 750 centenarians, how aging research has changed over the years, and what exciting developments are coming. 

Microbiome and weight loss

Can You Lose Weight? Ask Your Microbiome

The strongest associations with weight loss success or failure – independent of BMI – are found in the genetic capacity of the gut microbiome. These new findings open the door to diagnostic tests that can identify people likely to lose weight with healthy lifestyle changes and those who might need more drastic interventions.

Drs. Jim Heath, Yapeng Su and Jihoon Lee

Metabolic Changes in Plasma and Immune Cells Associated with COVID-19 Severity, May Predict Patient Survival

Researchers from Institute for Systems Biology (ISB), Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and other organizations have uncovered underlying metabolic changes that regulate how immune cells react to COVID-19. These findings are associated with COVID-19 severity and may predict patient survival. The work was published in the journal Nature Biotechnology.

Wei Lab

New Technology Reveals Single Cancer Cells Have Different Appetites for Fatty Acids

A recently developed method by the Wei Lab at Institute for Systems Biology (ISB) and University of California, Riverside provides new insights into cancer biology by allowing researchers to show how fatty acids are absorbed by single cells. This work was published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Glioblastoma tumor slice and corresponding density map

Looking at Tumors Through a New Lens

To improve the efficacy of neoadjuvant immune checkpoint blockade against glioblastoma, researchers are looking for vulnerabilities in surgically removed tissues – a difficulty due to the vast differences within the tumor and between patients. To address this, ISB researchers and their collaborators developed a new way to study tumors.

Fireside Chat with NIH Director Francis Collins and ISB Co-founder Dr. Lee Hood 

ISB Co-founder Dr. Lee Hood hosted a fireside chat with NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins. The renowned scientists talked about their early careers and long friendship, the challenge of COVID-19, the preceding scientific work that led to the fast development of COVID vaccines, and much more. 

Genetic Switch May Predict Diatom Resilience in Acidified Oceans

Researchers from ISB’s Baliga Lab recently published a paper in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science, in which they identified a diatom-specific gene that may play a key role in predicting when diatoms might transition from a low/moderate to a high carbon dioxide environment.