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The iconic MIT home page Spotlight features a daily-changing image and design that focuses on advances in research, technology and education taking place at the Institute. Though some Spotlights do run multiple days - for example Friday's spot usually runs through the weekend, we work very hard to maintain the daily-changing tradition. We've combed our servers and have compiled a digital archive of the Institute home page through the years - well over 2000 images. Enjoy!
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Freshly squeezed vaccinesToday’s Spotlight features an image courtesy of SQZ Biotech, colorized by Christine Daniloff/MIT. As cells pass through the CellSqueeze device at high speed, narrowing microfluidic channels apply a squeeze that opens small, temporary holes in the cells’ membranes. As a result, large molecules antigens, in the case of this study can enter before the membrane reseals.

MIT researchers have shown that they can use a microfluidic cell-squeezing device to introduce specific antigens inside the immune system’s B cells, providing a new approach to developing and implementing antigen-presenting cell vaccines.

Such vaccines, created by reprogramming a patient’s own immune cells to fight invaders, hold great promise for treating cancer and other diseases. However, several inefficiencies have limited their translation to the clinic, and only one therapy has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

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The MIT home page Spotlight showcases the research, technology and education advances taking place at the Institute every day.

What makes it as a Spotlight image is an editorial decision by the MIT News Office based on factors that include timeliness, promotion of MIT's mission, the balance of interest to both internal and external audiences, and appropriateness.

We do welcome ideas and submissions for spotlights from community members, but please note we are not able to accommodate all requests. We are unable to run event previews or promotions as spotlights; for those looking to promote an event, we are happy to include your listing as an event headline on the homepage (when space is available). For more information, e-mail the spotlight team.

Request a Spotlight or Event Headline, here.
Moving out

Moving out

Today’s Spotlight uses an animated gif made with stills courtesy of Michelle Chen. The animation shows a time‑lapse confocal visualization of the dynamics of an extravasating tumor cell (green) from a blood vessel (purple). The entire process, which has been sped up in this animation, typically occurs over four hours.

Cancer cells metastasize in several stages — first by invading surrounding tissue, then by infiltrating and spreading via the circulatory system. Some circulating cells work their way out of the vascular network, eventually forming a secondary tumor.

While the initial process by which cancer cells enter the bloodstream — called intravasation — is well characterized, how cells escape blood vessels to permeate other tissues and organs is less clear. This process, called extravasation, is a crucial step in cancer metastasis.

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