Iron gives blood its red color. The metal is essential to life, but it can be toxic because of its oxidative properties. Remarkably, we receive relatively little of our daily iron needs through diet. By far the majority of the iron we need is recycled. According to current thinking, as red blood cells age, large phagocytes residing in the spleen capture them, digest the cell structures, and recycle iron. A new paper from CSB published in Nature Medicine shows that most red blood cell disposal actually occurs in the liver, especially when demands for disposal increase (as they do in many physiologic and pathophysiologic situations). Moreover, specialized white blood cells consume old red blood cells in the circulation before migrating to the liver to shuttle iron for storage and new red blood cell production. The process buffers against dangerous fluctuations in iron availability, keeping the body in balance.
The MGH Center for Systems Biology (CSB) was established as one of the five
thematic interdisciplinary Centers
at MGH. It is home to over 200 researchers in 12 PI groups. The mission of the Center is to analyze at a systems level how biological molecules, proteins and cells interact in both healthy and diseased states.
Through a multidisciplinary approach that combines clinical insight with powerful technologies, CSB faculty pursue systems-level research that is at once fundamental, and yet immediately linked to the diagnosis and treatment of human disease. While these approaches are generalizable to many diseases, the Center has particular strengths in complex human conditions such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, autoimmune disease, and renal disease. This goal is enabled by particular faculty expertise in genomics, chemical biology, physiology, bioimaging, and nanotechnology.
The Center has close links with the HMS Department of Systems Biology, clinical departments at MGH, other MGH thematic centers, MIT, and the Broad Institute.
Quantitating drug-target engagement in single cells in vitro and in vivo.
Nat Chem Biol. 2016;:ePub - PMID: 27918558
Endothelial cells produce bone morphogenetic protein 6 required for iron homeostasis in mice.
Single-cell RNA-seq supports a developmental hierarchy in human oligodendroglioma.
Nature. 2016;539(7628):309-313 - PMID: 27806376
Molecular Pathways: Receptor Ectodomain Shedding in Treatment, Resistance, and Monitoring of Cancer.
Clin Cancer Res. 2016;:ePub - PMID: 27895032
Today, the Swiss Cancer League
awarded its most prestigious research prize to Dr. Mikael Pittet
from the Center for System Biology at MGH, Boston. Dr. Pittet has done fundamental work in the field of immuno-therapies, in particular investigating the myeloid cells contribution. Immunotherapies - the treatments that support the body's immune system in the suppression of cancer cells - are a mainstream hope in the current fight against cancer.
2016-11-02: Bradley Bernstein, MD, PhD
, the Bernard and Mildred Kayden Endowed MGH Research Institute Chair, of the Center for Systems Biology, have received a Pioneer Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for Epigenetic Plasticity in Tumor Initiation and Evolution
. The Pioneer Award is one of the NIH’s High-Risk, High-Reward Research Awards, supported by the Common Fund, and challenges investigators at all career levels to pursue new research directions and develop groundbreaking, high-impact approaches to a broad area of biomedical or behavioral science. These awards encourage creative, outside-the-box thinkers to pursue exciting and innovative ideas in biomedical research. Congratulations, Brad!
2016-10-07: Divya Pathania, PhD
was selected to receive Translational Research Award
for Lymphoma-D3 project at MGH Clinical Research Day. Congratulations, Divya!