Stanford Medicine magazine explores the molecules in us

What if the one-size-fits-all approach to pain treatment could be abandoned in favor of non-addictive medications and other therapies as individualized as how each patient experiences pain? What would you say to finding a molecule capable of preventing the vicious circles of DNA from helping cancer to become resistant to treatment?

Too good to be true? Ruth O’Hara, PhD, doesn’t think so.

The new number of Stanford Medicine The magazine explores these and other research efforts to understand and harness molecules to fuel medical discoveries and innovations that could radically change our approach to healing.

Artwork by Jeffrey Decoster

“We are uniquely positioned to translate promising findings into the clinical setting,” O’Hara, Senior Associate Dean for Research and Lowell W. and Josephine Q. Berry Professor of Stanford Medicine, said in the issue.

“The potential we see in areas like cancer immunotherapy, for example, is beyond exciting. I’m a cautious person, but I think we’re seeing one of the most fundamental biomedical revolutions in real time. .”

Articles in this issue’s thematic kit, “Molecules of Life: Understanding the World Within Us,” include:

“Human Biology in Its Most Basic Form”: An in-depth look at the importance of molecules in and around us, and how new technologies and research approaches are accelerating discoveries in ways that could revolutionize the practice of medicine and medical care.

Artwork by Jeffrey Decoster

‘Imaging is exploding’: Three researchers explain how cryogenic electron microscopy, or cryo-EM, enables detailed imaging of molecules that helps explain how proteins work – insights needed to better inform disease-targeting drug designs.

“Unraveling Molecular Mysteries”: In a letter to the readers, Lloyd Minor, MD, dean of the Stanford School of Medicine, says Stanford Medicine’s unwavering commitment to basic science has resulted in “some of the most transformational biological breakthroughs of the past seven decades. .”

“My favorite molecule”: a dozen Stanford Medicine researchers explain what interests them in terms of molecules as well as what fascinates and surprises them in their tiny objects of study.

Stanford Medicine magazine explores the molecules behind human biology and how understanding them fuels medical discovery and innovation.
Sergiu Pasca, MD, is a pioneer in culturing cells to model parts of the brain. Photo by Timothy Archibald.

‘Vicious circles’: Two researchers find that seemingly harmless circles of free-floating DNA, or extrachromosomal DNA, are actually deadly culprits that help cancerous tumors evade treatment in some patients.

“Reforming pain”: Pain experts are taking various approaches to individualizing pain remedies, including designing new, effective, non-addictive medications, developing online pain management courses, and evaluating pain management. usefulness of psychedelics.

“A Gift of Hope”: A chronicle of the cancer immunotherapy breakthrough made possible by a mother’s donation after the death of her young daughter from a rare brain cancer.

“The Mind-Mucus Connection”: Understanding the similarities between neurotransmission and mucus hypersecretion is helping scientists find targeted drug treatments for patients whose mucus overproduction becomes life-threatening.

Starla Gay, Juanita Waugh, Lenora Williams-Omenka and Chiquita Tuttle (left to right) help create a program to support black women with breast cancer. Photo by Timothy Archibald.

Also in this issue, “Here Come the Assembloids” describes a new type of brain model that gives scientists unprecedented insight into human brain development, marking a new era in brain research. In a related video, neuroscientist Sergiu Pasca, MD, who created the model, explains the science behind it.

“A Guide Through the Cancer Maze” highlights the efforts of a group of black women with experience of breast cancer to create a program that helps others navigate their treatment and recovery journeys.

And in “Putting Patients First in Prescription Opioid Regulation,” psychologist Keith Humphreys, PhD, president of Stanford-Lancet Commission on the Opioid Crisis, calls on disparate groups to put aside their differences and work together to find solutions to the crisis.

Read the full issue of Stanford Medicine online magazine here. Printed copies of the magazine are sent to subscribers. Readers can request a printed copy by emailing [email protected].

Top image by Jeffrey Decoster

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