Nancy Fliesler

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  • March 17, 2016
  • 07:50 AM

One-two punch: Small peptides attack ovarian cancer cells and their environment

by Tom Ulrich in Vector, a Boston Children's Hospital blog

ovarian cancer psaptides

Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer death among women. Tumors often remain silent until they have spread; as a result, many women go undiagnosed until the disease has already advanced. Ovarian cancer cells often develop resistance to chemotherapy with taxanes and platinum agents, leaving few therapeutic options for women with advanced disease.

Two small peptides could present a new approach to ovarian cancer and potentially other tumors. Derived fro........ Read more »

Wang S, Blois A, El Rayes T, Liu JF, Hirsch MS, Gravdal K, Palakurthi S, Bielenberg DR, Akslen LA, Drapkin R.... (2016) Development of a prosaposin-derived therapeutic cyclic peptide that targets ovarian cancer via the tumor microenvironment. Science Translational Medicine, 8(329). PMID: 26962158  

  • August 27, 2013
  • 10:30 AM

Can we bypass the bypass to treat diabetes?

by Nancy Fliesler in Vector, a Boston Children's Hospital blog

Research shows that gastric bypass surgery, aside from inducing weight loss, resolves type 2 diabetes. Though weight loss and improved diabetes often go hand-in-hand, patients who undergo gastric bypass usually end up seeing an improvement in their type 2 diabetes even before they lose weight. But why? To investigate, a research team led by Nicholas [...]... Read more »

Saeidi N, Meoli L, Nestoridi E, Gupta NK, Kvas S, Kucharczyk J, Bonab AA, Fischman AJ, Yarmush ML, & Stylopoulos N. (2013) Reprogramming of intestinal glucose metabolism and glycemic control in rats after gastric bypass. Science (New York, N.Y.), 341(6144), 406-10. PMID: 23888041  

  • August 26, 2013
  • 10:30 AM

Bacteria use pain as a weapon

by Nancy Fliesler in Vector, a Boston Children's Hospital blog

It’s bad enough that invasive infections are painful. New work suggests that pain is only a means to an end for virulent bacteria: It’s how they suppress our immune system. Previously, the pain from invasive infections like meningitis, necrotizing fasciitis, urinary tract infections, dental caries and intestinal infections was thought to be due to the [...]... Read more »

Chiu IM, Heesters BA, Ghasemlou N, Von Hehn CA, Zhao F, Tran J, Wainger B, Strominger A, Muralidharan S, Horswill AR.... (2013) Bacteria activate sensory neurons that modulate pain and inflammation. Nature. PMID: 23965627  

  • August 21, 2013
  • 11:30 AM

Strenghthening newborns’ immune systems: A secret in the plasma

by Sarah Lewin in Vector, a Boston Children's Hospital blog

There’s something different about newborns’ blood. In babies less than 28 days of age, the immune system still hibernates—making newborns more susceptible to life-threatening infections and less responsive to many vaccines. Ofer Levy, MD, PhD, and his colleagues at Boston Children’s Hospital have done extensive work toward understanding the newborn immune system, and now they’ve [...]... Read more »

  • August 20, 2013
  • 11:30 AM

A Lego-like approach to vaccine design

by Tom Ulrich in Vector, a Boston Children's Hospital blog

A good vaccine should confer robust, long-lasting immunity against a given pathogen without causing side effects. Striking this balance has fueled a long-standing debate over whole-cell and acellular vaccines. Whole-cell vaccines rely on killed or weakened pathogens. Acellular or subunit vaccines contain only defined sets of antigens known to stimulate an effective immune response against [...]... Read more »

Zhang F, Lu YJ, & Malley R. (2013) Multiple antigen-presenting system (MAPS) to induce comprehensive B- and T-cell immunity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 110(33), 13564-9. PMID: 23898212  

  • August 19, 2013
  • 11:30 AM

Is obesity on the rise among children with sickle cell disease?

by Tom Ulrich in Vector, a Boston Children's Hospital blog

Ask many doctors about their image of a child with sickle cell disease (SCD), and they’ll describe a short, skinny child, perhaps almost malnourished. For decades, that image was accurate. That perception needs to change, though. A group of sickle cell specialists from hospitals in New England—members of the 11 institutions in the New England [...]... Read more »

Chawla A, Sprinz PG, Welch J, Heeney M, Usmani N, Pashankar F, & Kavanagh P. (2013) Weight status of children with sickle cell disease. Pediatrics, 131(4). PMID: 23460681  

  • August 15, 2013
  • 11:30 AM

Autism and Asperger’s are different… at least on EEG

by Nancy Fliesler in Vector, a Boston Children's Hospital blog

Is it Asperger’s syndrome or is it autism? Since there are no objective diagnostic measures, the diagnosis is often rather squishy, based on how individual clinicians interpret a child’s behavior. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, fourth edition (DSM-IV), early problems with language development are an indicator of autism; if there are behavioral symptoms [...]... Read more »

  • August 12, 2013
  • 12:00 PM

Finding the best stem cell for the job

by Sarah Lewin in Vector, a Boston Children's Hospital blog

Some people are born football players, others are made for basketball: Yi Zhang, PhD, reaches often for this metaphor as he explains his research with stem cell differentiation, recently published in Stem Cell Reports. Stem cells are well-known for their ability to differentiate, or transform, into different types of cells. Two types of stem cells—embryonic [...]... Read more »

  • June 28, 2013
  • 10:05 AM

This is your brain on a high-glycemic diet

by Andrea Mooney in Vector, a Boston Children's Hospital blog

Is there such a thing as food addiction? A study using brain imaging suggests that high-glycemic foods may trigger the same brain mechanism tied to substance addiction. A team led by David Ludwig, MD, PhD, director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital, found that consuming highly processed, rapidly digested [...]... Read more »

Lennerz BS, Alsop DC, Holsen LM, Stern E, Rojas R, Ebbeling CB, Goldstein JM, & Ludwig DS. (2013) Effects of dietary glycemic index on brain regions related to reward and craving in men. The American journal of clinical nutrition. PMID: 23803881  

  • June 21, 2013
  • 08:28 AM

Parvalbumin neurons—new insight into the workings of a superhero brain cell

by Parizad Bilimoria in Vector, a Boston Children's Hospital blog

Say you’re a scientist in a movie, and you want to find out what gives a superhero his powers. You’d investigate any special suits he wears, whether he drinks any potions and what they are, right? Real-life scientists are following the same strategy to understand a powerful group of specialized brain cells. Parvalbumin cells (PV-cells) [...]... Read more »

Cabungcal JH, Steullet P, Morishita H, Kraftsik R, Cuenod M, Hensch TK, & Do KQ. (2013) Perineuronal nets protect fast-spiking interneurons against oxidative stress. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 110(22), 9130-5. PMID: 23671099  

Spatazza J, Lee HH, Di Nardo AA, Tibaldi L, Joliot A, Hensch TK, & Prochiantz A. (2013) Choroid-Plexus-Derived Otx2 Homeoprotein Constrains Adult Cortical Plasticity. Cell reports. PMID: 23770240  

  • November 22, 2011
  • 11:54 AM

Avoiding the needle: Engineering blood vessels to secrete drugs

by Fliesler, Nancy in Vector, a Boston Children's Hospital blog

People who rely on protein-based drugs often have to endure IV hookups or frequent injections, sometimes several times a week. And protein drugs – like Factor VIII and Factor IX for patients with hemophilia, alpha interferon for hepatitis C, interferon beta for multiple sclerosis — are very expensive.

What if they could be made by people’s own bodies?

Combining tissue engineering with gene therapy, researchers at Children’s Hospital Boston showed that it’s pos........ Read more »

Fliesler, Nancy. (2011) Avoiding the needle: Engineering blood vessels to secrete drugs. Vector, A Children's Hospital Boston Blog. info:/

  • September 7, 2011
  • 09:40 AM

In diabetes, inflammation may be part of the solution, not the problem

by Nancy Fliesler in Vector, a Boston Children's Hospital blog

Low-grade inflammation caused by obesity is widely believed to contribute to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. But, as it turns out, inflammation activates two proteins that appear critical for maintaining good blood sugar levels. Reporting in Nature Medicine, endocrinology researcher Umut Ozcan demonstrates that activating either of these proteins artificially can normalize blood sugar in severely obese and diabetic mice.

That’s a completely new way of looking at diabetes, and su........ Read more »

Lee J, Sun C, Zhou Y, Lee J, Gokalp D, Herrema H, Park SW, Davis RJ, & Ozcan U. (2011) p38 MAPK-mediated regulation of Xbp1s is crucial for glucose homeostasis. Nature Medicine. PMID: 21892182  

  • August 23, 2011
  • 11:20 AM

Reducing unnecessary care: The SCAMPs manifesto

by Nancy Fliesler in Vector, a Boston Children's Hospital blog

We all know the problem: The cost of health care needs to come down. About five years ago, pediatric cardiologists at Children’s Hospital Boston realized it was critical to practice more cost-effectively. “Most of the money that is going to be removed from the federal budget to reduce budgetary deficits is going to come from health care in one fashion or another,” cardiologist-in-chief James Lock told an audience of senior Children’s physicians last month. “There&rs........ Read more »

Shojania KG, Sampson M, Ansari MT, Ji J, Doucette S, & Moher D. (2007) How quickly do systematic reviews go out of date? A survival analysis. Annals of Internal Medicine, 147(4), 224-33. PMID: 17638714  

Rathod RH, Farias M, Friedman KG, Graham D, Fulton DR, Newburger JW, Colan S, Jenkins K, & Lock JE. (2010) A novel approach to gathering and acting on relevant clinical information: SCAMPs. Congenital Heart Disease, 5(4), 343-53. PMID: 20653701  

Friedman KG, Kane DA, Rathod RH, Renaud A, Farias M, Geggel R, Fulton DR, Lock JE, & Saleeb SF. (2011) Management of pediatric chest pain using a standardized assessment and management plan. Pediatrics, 128(2), 239-45. PMID: 21746719  

  • August 18, 2011
  • 10:00 AM

More sick children are surviving. Are they ready for adult medicine?

by Nancy Fliesler in Vector, a Boston Children's Hospital blog

In the past few decades, what used to be considered medical miracles have become expected and everyday. More children are surviving prematurity, even extreme prematurity. Congenital heart defects are routinely repaired, leukemia has largely become curable, and conditions like sickle cell disease and cystic fibrosis have become manageable chronic conditions with a greatly increased life expectancy.

That’s created a new problem: young adults entering an adult healthcare system that isn&rs........ Read more »

  • August 16, 2011
  • 09:30 AM

Boosting the “good” fat: Kids may lead the way

by Nancy Fliesler in Vector, a Boston Children's Hospital blog

Just as there’s good cholesterol and bad cholesterol, good carbs and bad carbs, there’s also good fat. Whereas white fat stores energy, padding our hips, thighs, arms and bellies, brown fat — studded with energy generators known as mitochondria – burns energy. Newborns have a ring of brown fat around their necks, helping them stay warm. By adulthood, it’s detectable in only 3 percent of men and 7.5 percent of women, with higher rates among younger and thinner peopl........ Read more »

Drubach LA, Palmer EL 3rd, Connolly LP, Baker A, Zurakowski D, & Cypess AM. (2011) Pediatric Brown Adipose Tissue: Detection, Epidemiology, and Differences from Adults. The Journal of Pediatrics. PMID: 21839465  

  • August 9, 2011
  • 03:45 PM

Toward a flu vaccine that endures through the seasons

by Tom Ulrich in Vector, a Boston Children's Hospital blog

Every year, the flu tries to outwit humanity. By shifting parts of its outer coat, the virus renders the flu vaccine from the previous year obsolete, bringing another season of misery. And every year, we fight back with a new vaccine, finding a new chink in the virus’s armor and giving ourselves another brief window of protection.

But if Stephen Harrison, chief of Children’s Division of Molecular Medicine, is right, we might be able to train our immune systems to look past the flu........ Read more »

Whittle, J., Zhang, R., Khurana, S., King, L., Manischewitz, J., Golding, H., Dormitzer, P., Haynes, B., Walter, E., Moody, M.... (2011) Broadly neutralizing human antibody that recognizes the receptor-binding pocket of influenza virus hemagglutinin. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1111497108  

  • August 8, 2011
  • 01:30 PM

It’s like X-ray vision, but not: Fluorescence imaging and diagnosing congenital kidney obstructions

by Tom Ulrich in Vector, a Boston Children's Hospital blog

When your doctor wants to see inside your body, he or she typically chooses from four options: traditional X-ray, computed tomography (CT), ultrasound, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). (Yes, there are other methods of clinical imaging, but we’ll stick to the most common for the moment).

Each method has its strengths and weaknesses, largely dependent on what your doctor is looking for. MRI and CT, for instance, give highly detailed pictures of anatomic structures and soft tissues, bu........ Read more »

  • July 21, 2011
  • 10:45 AM

Chest X-rays: Learning forbearance

by Nancy Fliesler in Vector, a Boston Children's Hospital blog

In emergency situations involving children, it’s tempting for doctors to do everything possible to get information, especially when anxious parents are at hand. Unfortunately, that can mean a lot of unnecessary imaging and radiation exposure, and sometimes fruitless exploratory surgery.

This has spurred a search for biomarkers that can reliably make or rule out a diagnosis, as in appendicitis, and the creation of decision rules about the need for imaging, as in minor head trauma and blu........ Read more »

  • July 15, 2011
  • 02:00 PM

Getting to the root of a hard-to-treat childhood leukemia

by Tom Ulrich in Vector, a Boston Children's Hospital blog

In the 40 years of the war on cancer, there is probably no greater success story than that of childhood leukemias. Once nearly uniformly fatal, some forms of acute lymphoblastic (ALL) and acute myeloid (AML) leukemias can now be cured in 80 or even 90 percent of cases.

The prognosis for the remaining 10 to 20 percent is not as good, especially if the cancer involves a reshuffling or rearrangement of the mixed lineage leukemia (MLL) gene. “We still only achieve about 50 percent success i........ Read more »

Bernt KM, Zhu N, Sinha AU, Vempati S, Faber J, Krivtsov AV, Feng Z, Punt N, Daigle A, Bullinger L.... (2011) MLL-Rearranged Leukemia Is Dependent on Aberrant H3K79 Methylation by DOT1L. Cancer Cell, 20(1), 66-78. PMID: 21741597  

Daigle SR, Olhava EJ, Therkelsen CA, Majer CR, Sneeringer CJ, Song J, Johnston LD, Scott MP, Smith JJ, Xiao Y.... (2011) Selective Killing of Mixed Lineage Leukemia Cells by a Potent Small-Molecule DOT1L Inhibitor. Cancer Cell, 20(1), 53-65. PMID: 21741596  

  • June 27, 2011
  • 12:00 PM

When reading genes, read the instructions first: Epigenetics and developmental disorders

by Tom Ulrich in Vector, a Boston Children's Hospital blog

While the genome’s As, Ts, Cs, and Gs hold the instructions for making proteins, how does a cell know when to read a gene? And could it relate to developmental disorders?

These gene-reading instructions are encoded in our epigenome, a set of factors that give our cells exquisite control over when and where to turn individual genes on and off. This control involves a delicate and complex dance between DNA and proteins called histones – DNA wraps itself around histones to create a c........ Read more »

Iwase S, Xiang B, Ghosh S, Ren T, Lewis PW, Cochrane JC, Allis CD, Picketts DJ, Patel DJ, Li H.... (2011) ATRX ADD domain links an atypical histone methylation recognition mechanism to human mental-retardation syndrome. Nature Structural , 18(7), 769-76. PMID: 21666679  

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