Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Ending the Odyssey

With an infusion of $43 million, the US National Institutes of Health aims to "clear a backlog of medical cold cases, using dazzling new tools now at the disposal of medical sleuths," the Los Angeles Times says.

NIH announced last week that it would be providing funding for the Undiagnosed Diseases Network, an expansion of the six-year-old Undiagnosed Diseases Program at the NIH Clinical Center being led by the National Human Genome Research Institute.

The new network will include Baylor College of Medicine; Duke University; Stanford University; the University of California, Los Angeles; Vanderbilt University Medical Center; and a Boston-based group of Boston Children's Hospital, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Massachusetts General Hospital.

UCLA's Stan Nelson tells the LA Times that the program aims to end the diagnostic odysseys that patients with rare diseases face. For example, Nelson was recently able to determine the genetic cause of why an infant was wracked by seizures.

"Now we have the tools in routine clinical practice where we can and should be able to figure it out," he adds.

The Scan

Machine Learning Helps ID Molecular Mechanisms of Pancreatic Islet Beta Cell Subtypes in Type 2 Diabetes

The approach helps overcome limitations of previous studies that had investigated the molecular mechanisms of pancreatic islet beta cells, the authors write in their Nature Genetics paper.

Culture-Based Methods, Shotgun Sequencing Reveal Transmission of Bifidobacterium Strains From Mothers to Infants

In a Nature Communications study, culture-based approaches along with shotgun sequencing give a better picture of the microbial strains transmitted from mothers to infants.

Microbial Communities Can Help Trees Adapt to Changing Climates

Tree seedlings that were inoculated with microbes from dry, warm, or cold sites could better survive drought, heat, and cold stress, according to a study in Science.

A Combination of Genetics and Environment Causes Cleft Lip

In a study published in Nature Communications, researchers investigate what combination of genetic and environmental factors come into play to cause cleft lip/palate.