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A tale of two strands: how DNA strand asymmetry affects damage, repair and mutation rates

12 June 2024

From snowflakes and sunflowers, to butterflies and humans, symmetry is abundant throughout nature . There is also an elegant symmetry to the double helix structure of DNA – the blueprint of life. Yet, many of the DNA’s functions are asymmetrical: only one strand is needed for certain cellular processes, and some key...

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New mouse model allows researchers to track immune cell behaviour during an immune response

24 May 2024

Researchers at the MRC Toxicology Unit have developed a new mouse model for tracking the behaviour of immune cells once an immune response is triggered. This could help scientists to understand how our immune system responds to different insults in more detail to develop new and improved immune therapies. Our body triggers...

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Computational approach to minimise off-target toxicity of CAR T-cell therapy targeting myeloma

2 May 2024

Multiple myeloma is a type of bone marrow cancer which impacts a type of white blood cell called plasma cells, which are essential for the production of antibodies. Myeloma remains incurable but a treatment called CAR-T cell therapy - a type of cancer immunotherapy - could be a promising new avenue for treatment, if...

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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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