A molecule with a green, unraveling ribbon.

“Despite the well-known differences in blood pressure between females and males, most clinical guidelines have the same thresholds for treatment. Taking a closer look at the fundamental, scientific basis for sex differences in blood pressure may eventually help clinicians think about blood pressure treatment in new ways.”

Jennifer Pluznick, associate professor of physiology, describing a study that found that a cell surface protein that senses odors and chemicals may be responsible for — and help explain — sex differences in mammalian blood pressure. In a report published in Science Advances, Pluznick and her Johns Hopkins team determined that tiny olfactory receptors found in various organs
of the body might also play a role in regulating blood pressure.


“These results are an important first step to understanding how to curtail HIV reservoirs in children toward ART-free remission and cure for more children living with HIV, ultimately changing the treatment paradigm for this infection that currently afflicts 1.7 million children around the world.”

Deborah Persaud, professor of pediatrics and Johns Hopkins Children’s Center physician-scientist, speaking about a study she co-led that showed four children born with HIV who were given antiretroviral therapy (ART) within the first 48 hours of life — rather than within weeks or months — continued to have undetectable levels of the virus for a year or more. As reported in Lancet HIV, the study indicates that giving ART to newborns can markedly reduce the HIV reservoirs that are barriers to cures.


“We believe we’ve discovered a biomarker that could potentially be used to detect ALS and FTD in their earliest stages — even before symptoms appear.”

Philip Wong, professor of pathology and neuroscience, describing how findings from a Johns Hopkins Medicine-led study in Nature Medicine may affect the progressively degenerative diseases amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Researchers have developed a fluid biomarker to detect a protein associated with an abnormality linked to people who develop ALS or FTD. Wong says the biomarker may steer patients into clinical trials for new therapies “when it might truly make a difference.”


“We know two missing copies of MUTYH greatly increases the risk of colon cancer, and now it appears that having only one missing copy may lead to a small increased risk of other cancer types.”

Oncologist Channing Paller, director of prostate cancer clinical research at Johns Hopkins and a faculty member with the Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, describing results published in JCO Precision Oncology. The study of biopsy samples from 350,000 patients investigated whether a single mutated copy of a gene associated with colorectal cancer might also play a role in developing other solid tumors. Researchers found a modest increase in susceptibility to adrenal gland cancers and pancreatic islet cell tumors, but not to prostate or breast cancer.


“As we age, the stiffness of our skin changes. That not only has physical implications, but it also has signaling implications and can lead to increases in new blood vessel growth or disruption of blood vessel function.”

Oncologist Ashani Weeraratna, associate director for laboratory research at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, describing how age-related changes contribute to higher rates of metastatic skin cancer in older people and may allow melanoma tumors to spread and resist cancer therapies. The study, published in Nature Aging, shows that increased stiffness in aging skin encourages the release of a protein that can help melanoma tumors grow and allow their cells to spread.