ISB News

Drs. Nitin Baliga and James Park

How Glioblastoma Resists Treatment – and Ways to Prevent It

Glioblastoma is one of the deadliest and most aggressive forms of primary brain cancer in adults and is known for its ability to resist treatment and to recur. ISB researchers have made breakthrough discoveries in understanding the mechanisms behind acquired resistance, focusing on a rare and stubborn group of cells within tumors called glioma stem-like cells.

A New Path Toward Microbiome-Informed Precision Nutrition

ISB researchers have developed a novel way to simulate personalized, microbiome-mediated responses to diet. They use a microbial community-scale metabolic modeling (MCMM) approach to predict individual-specific short-chain fatty acid production rates in response to different dietary, prebiotic, and probiotic inputs.

STEM Program Models for Students from Historically Marginalized Communities

A new study unveils important insights and actionable protocols into providing equitable STEM experiences for high school students from historically marginalized communities. The research highlights the transformative power of informal STEM learning and the ease with which many organizations could provide these opportunities.

Autoimmune Disease and Pregnancy: ISB Study Challenges Prevailing Wisdom, Unveils Nuances

An ISB-led study showed nuanced pregnancy outcomes for pregnant individuals with autoimmune disease. The findings reinforce that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, and provides important new avenues for further investigation.

ISB Researchers Find a Chink in the Armor of Tuberculosis Pathogen

By using a computer model to understand the adaptions of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), the pathogen that causes tuberculosis, researchers at ISB have identified a network within Mtb that allows it to tolerate and resist drug therapies. This work is published in Cell Reports.

Lifestyle coaching improves cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease trial.

Personalized Coaching Decreases Cognitive Decline in Early-Stage Alzheimer’s Disease Patients

Supplementing the standard of treatment for Alzheimer’s disease patients with personalized lifestyle coaching leads to less cognitive decline compared to standard of treatment alone, according to an ISB-led two-year study. The results were published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Building a Better BMI

ISB researchers have constructed biological body mass index (BMI) measures that offer a more accurate representation of metabolic health and are more varied, informative and actionable than the traditional, long-used BMI equation. The work was published in the journal Nature Medicine. 

How Immune Cells ‘See’ and Respond to Mutations in Cancer Cells

In a just-published paper in the journal Nature, a collaborative team of researchers from ISB, UCLA, PACT Pharma, and beyond analyzed T-cell responses in melanoma patients who were treated with different immune checkpoint inhibitors, and how those responses evolved over time.

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.

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.

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. 

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. 

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.