In Finer Focus

Xiaowei Zhuang couldn’t believe what she was seeing. Utilizing super-resolution microscopy techniques she had developed, Zhuang, a Harvard University biophysicist and chemical biologist, was trying to fill in missing details of how neurons connect—particularly ambitious, considering the high density and small size of neural structures, which may measure in mere tens of nanometers (one nanometer […]

A Malaria Vaccine Clears Another Hurdle

Developing a malaria vaccine is a particularly knotty problem: Vaccines typically can target only one or a few antigens—proteins produced by infectious organisms, against which the host’s immune system mounts an attack. (A vaccine, which is full of these antigens, spurs immune cells to churn out antibodies that will patrol the body and, should the […]

Cutting Cancer’s Power

In this era of cancer genetics, we’ve come to think of cancer as something like a car. Runaway cell proliferation is driven by accelerators, or oncogenes, that are stuck on go—in collusion with broken brakes, or tumor suppressors, that can’t control a tumor’s pedal-to-the-metal growth. A lengthening procession of targeted therapies (Herceptin, Gleevec, Tarceva, Zelboraf) […]

Medication: Timely Reminders

It’s a sad fact of modern medicine that many diseases—cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s—remain difficult to treat. But for many of the most prevalent disorders, chronic diseases that affect large swaths of the population, there’s little mystery about what it takes to get better. Nutrition and lifestyle improvements can go a long way in keeping such diseases […]