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This Week in Science: Sep 22, 2017

In Science Translational Medicine this week, US and German researchers publish data showing how neutrophils use a microRNA to protect against harmful lung inflammation. The work suggests that upregulating this miRNA — miR-223 — may be an effective strategy for treating acute respiratory distress syndrome. The scientists found that mice infected with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus could be protected against severe lung inflammation when treated with miR-233. Meanwhile, animals lacking the gene encoding the miRNA experienced severe lung inflammation after acute lung injury and were more likely to succumb to MRSA infections versus control animals. The team showed that miR-223 suppressed production of PARP-1, which is known to facilitate inflammatory responses, and that downregulating the protein in miR-233-deficient mice could attenuate lung inflammation.

Also in Science Translational Medicine, a pair of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Linköping University discuss the potential of single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) in personalized medicine, particularly for cancer. They highlight some of the challenges facing the clinical application of this technology, such as ensuring interoperability between the data collected on different platforms and financial costs, but "believe that there are strong incentives to clinically implement scRNA-seq for personalized medicine within the next decade."