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Gut microbiome remains stable after COVID-19 vaccination

5 March 2024

Our gut microbiome is home to a diverse mix of microorganisms that are delicately balanced to preserve many aspects of our health including digestion, immunity and even our mental wellbeing. There are known factors that can impact our microscopic companions such as diet, lifestyle, antibiotic use and environmental...

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Researchers uncover an unexpected job for the ancient family of chaperone proteins

23 January 2024

We all go through times when we are not on track, feeling a little blue and out of our usual form. These are the times when we need a little warmth from those close to us – some extra support, a helping hand. The same goes for the proteins in our cells. Proteins are the workhorses in our cells and have numerous tasks to...

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Researchers redesign future mRNA therapeutics to prevent potentially harmful immune responses

6 December 2023

Researchers from the Willis and Thaventhiran labs have discovered that misreading of therapeutic mRNAs by the cell’s decoding machinery can cause an unintended immune response in the body. They have identified the sequence within the mRNA that causes this to occur and found a way to prevent ‘off-target’ immune responses to...

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Innovative approach reveals a dual ‘Google Map’ of RNAs and proteins within cells

30 November 2023

You might imagine the cells in your body as quite static. In reality, they are hives of activity and contain cocktails of different molecules. Just like us, these different molecules in our cells all have a job. Just like us, those jobs span a wide range of roles and take place in designated spaces – instead of offices or...

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Mitochondrial damage: the missing piece in understanding the side-effects from antipsychotics?

6 September 2023

Researchers from the MRC Toxicology Unit, in collaboration with the MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit in Cambridge, have uncovered why individuals who are prescribed some antipsychotic drugs can develop movement disorders. How these side-effects might develop was not clear – until now - and it is all linked to damage to the...

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Microbiome: The Kingdom of the Gut

24 August 2023

The work of the Patil lab is featured in this story by the University of Cambridge. It explores how Cambridge scientists are trying to get a grasp on the basic rules these bacteria play by, in the hope of understanding not only what’s going on in there, but how we might be able to use our microbiome to our advantage.

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Tracing toxic ‘tyre dust’ pollution in the air to assess human exposure

20 July 2023

When you think of traffic pollution, what comes to mind? Exhaust fumes? What about miniscule pieces of tyre rubber floating around in the atmosphere? Tyre wear particles make up a significant portion of air pollution in UK cities and is only projected to increase over the next decade. In fact, it is estimated that about 1...

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Searching for new anti-cancer compounds in bacteria

30 June 2023

Cancer is something that has impacted all of us either directly or indirectly and is a leading cause of death globally. As a result, there is an urgent and ongoing need to discover and develop new treatments to tackle this disease more efficiently. Interestingly, most of the small-molecule drugs that have been approved as...

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‘Ageing’ immune cell levels could predict how well we respond to vaccines

27 June 2023

Researchers from the MRC Toxicology Unit have identified a signature in the blood that could help predict how well an individual will respond to vaccines. The discovery, published today in the journal Nature Communications, may explain why, even among vulnerable patient groups, some individuals have better responses to...

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People with obesity lose immunity gained from COVID-19 vaccination more rapidly

11 May 2023

The protection offered by COVID-19 vaccination declines more rapidly in people with severe obesity compared to those with normal weight, researchers from the MRC Toxicology Unit and collaborators within the Universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh have found. The study suggests that people with obesity are likely to need...

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