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Research Advancements of 2014

At Johns Hopkins Medicine, cutting-edge research paves the way for clinical excellence. Our researchers continually push the boundaries of what is known in their fields. Here are some notable highlights from this year:

2014 Research Highlights from Johns Hopkins Medicine

At Johns Hopkins Medicine, our quest to prevent and treat disease begins with world-class biomedical research. Research is at the core of Johns Hopkins Medicine, and this video features some of the year’s groundbreaking discoveries, a potential blood test for early cancer detection to lubricants for arthritic joints and mapping the human proteome to clues about autism and mental illnesses.

  1. Researchers identified a new gene that regulates sleep in fruit flies, offering insights into insomnia.
  2. An initial catalog of all of the proteins in the human body was unveiled as a resource for scientists in every biomedical field. 
  3. Brightly colored cell engulfing its dying neighbor

    By getting normal cells to behave like Pac-Man, researchers hope to one day design cells that can aid the immune system in eating “junk,” like cancer cells. 

  4. In an effort to prevent blocked arteries, researchers found a molecule that successfully stopped abnormal cholesterol production and improved blood vessel health in mice. 

  5. Some who suffer a heart attack also experience dangerous, off-kilter heart rhythms during attempted resuscitation, but scientists found that giving a sedative to heart cells before treatment might help.

  6. Working with human nerve cells and fruit flies, researchers identified and then shut down a biological process that appears to trigger one form of Parkinson’s disease

  7. Scientists identified what causes brain disintegration in Huntington’s disease and found that diets rich in the amino acid cysteine helped mice with the disease. 

  8. An experimental anticancer compound reversed behaviors associated with schizophrenia in adolescent mice. 

  9. Blue and yellow nerve cells

    New findings suggest that a genetic variation linked to schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and severe depression wreaks havoc on connections between nerve cells in the developing brain.

  10. Disordered metabolism might be common to several autism spectrum disorders — and could be treatable with dietary supplements. Mice with a rare type of autism improved when fed a synthetic oil, and the symptoms of young men with autism were eased after taking a chemical derived from broccoli sprouts

  11. A new drug tested on mice gives hope to patients with an inherited form of intellectual disability that had been considered untreatable. 

  12. A third hormone has been identified as critical in the development of type 2 diabetes.

  13. DNA shed by tumors could be used for noninvasive screening for early-stage cancers, to monitor tumor responses to treatment and to help explain why some cancers are resistant to therapies.

  14. Modified bacteria were injected directly into tumors in animals and humans and seemed to spur the immune system to shrink the tumors.

  15. Researchers engineered long-lasting lubrication for delivery to specific spots throughout the body to ease the pain of arthritis and keep artificial joints working smoothly.

  16. Bright retina cells that were grown in a dish

    In laboratory tests, researchers created miniature 3-D retinas whose cells are capable of responding to light just like those in healthy retinal tissue.