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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.
To advance research at the intersection of COVID-19 and cancer, The Andy Hill CARE Fund has awarded ISB Assistant Professor Dr. Wei Wei a $100,000 grant to study chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), one of the most commonly diagnosed leukemias in the Western world that mainly affects older individuals.
Daniel Chen, an undergraduate researcher in ISB’s Heath Lab and junior at the University of Washington, has been awarded a prestigious Goldwater Scholarship. Chen has been a key member of ISB’s COVID-19 Immune Response Study.
While scientists have long studied bacterial infections, less attention has been paid to how the host immune response affects bacterial gene expression in the body. In a just-published paper in PNAS, ISB researchers detailed how the bacterium Salmonella conceals itself from the host immune system.
Findings from the ISB-Swedish COVID-19 Immune Response Study suggest that treatments aimed at arresting the infection at the stage of moderate severity may be most effective. The team studied 139 patients and found that mild COVID-19 is very distinct from the moderate or severe forms of disease, which appear surprisingly similar.
ISB and Swedish Medical Center launched a study to follow hundreds of patients who contract COVID-19 to learn why those infected have drastically different outcomes. “Each of the COVID-19 patients has a unique lesson to teach us about how the medical and scientific community can respond most effectively to this pandemic,” said ISB President Dr. Jim Heath, who co-leads the study.