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New Developments in Cancer Treatment

New Developments in Cancer Treatment: Five Major Advances

Unveiling the Potential Cancer Cures

In recent years, the medical community has been excitedly exploring a variety of experimental drugs and treatments that could revolutionize cancer care. Among the most promising is AOH1996, an experimental drug capable of annihilating numerous types of cancerous tumors.

Although cancer survival rates have doubled in the last four decades in the UK, approximately 167,000 people still succumb to the disease annually. This statistic highlights the need for more effective treatments and quicker access to specialists, bypassing lengthy GP waiting lists.

Progress is being made, though, with significant advancements in the field.

Kevin Harrington, a notable figure in biological cancer therapies, is hopeful that new approaches will result in better outcomes. “In 20 years, we should cure many more cancer patients, using smarter and kinder treatments,” he predicts.

Yet, finding a universal cure is unlikely, explains Dr. Claire Bromley of Cancer Research UK, because “cancer is not a single disease.” There are over 200 varieties, each with its subtypes, so a multifaceted approach is needed to defeat cancer across the board.

Below are some of the most exciting breakthroughs:

AOH1996: The Tumor Annihilator

Named in honor of a young girl who died of a rare cancer, AOH1996 has shown the potential to wipe out solid tumors while sparing healthy cells. Developed in the US, this pill targets a specific protein that’s essential for tumor growth.

This drug has potential applications in 70 types of cancer, including breast, prostate, and brain cancers. It’s now in phase 1 human trials in the UK, but full approval may still be five to ten years away.

Immune System Supercharging

Immunotherapy, harnessing the immune system to fight cancer, has changed cancer treatment. Cancers can turn off immune cells, but new drugs known as “checkpoint inhibitors” are being developed to prevent this.

A recently developed drug, relatlimab, targets a different off-switch protein, broadening the effectiveness of immunotherapy. One such drug, Opdualag, has received FDA approval for advanced melanoma. Expect more approvals in the years to come.

Vaccines: Curing and Preventing Cancer’s Return

Cancer vaccines, a novel concept, could potentially cure advanced cancers and prevent recurrence. These vaccines train the immune system to fight both the initial cancer and any stray cells, possibly using mRNA technology.

More than 20 mRNA-based vaccines targeting challenging cancers were in trials by 2021, with a UK government agreement to provide up to 10,000 precision vaccines by 2030.

Flash Radiotherapy: A Cutting-Edge Alternative

Flash radiotherapy, delivering radiation at a speed a thousand times faster than conventional methods, lessens damage to normal cells. This technique could be used for hard-to-kill cancers, like those in the brain or lungs, although it might take up to a decade to become routine.

Cancer-Infected Super-Viruses

Engineered viruses, created to infect only cancer cells, represent a new frontier in treatment. The viruses cause the tumors to self-destruct while prompting a full-body immune response.

Therapeutic viruses, like RP1, RP2, and RP3, are being designed for different tumor types. Trials have shown promise in advanced cancers that resisted other treatments. NHS patients might have access to these therapies within the next three to five years.

These advancements mark an exciting era in cancer research, offering hope for future treatments that are not only more effective but also more compassionate. While there may never be a single cure for all types of cancer, these innovative approaches may bring us closer to winning the battle against this complex and devastating disease.

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Exploring the Potential Benefits of Vitamin B in COVID-19 Cases

Disclaimer: The following article is based on a news report from Yahoo News published on August 27, 2020. The information provided does not constitute medical advice. It is essential to consult with a healthcare professional before making any changes to your diet or considering supplements. The COVID-19 situation is constantly evolving, and new research may have emerged since the publication of the article. Please refer to reliable sources such as the CDC and WHO for the most up-to-date information on COVID-19.

Exploring the Potential Benefits of Vitamin B in COVID-19 Cases

As the medical community focuses on finding ways to combat the severe immune response known as a cytokine storm in COVID-19 cases, experts in the field of nutrition are examining the potential of certain vitamins to prevent or mitigate this reaction. While early recommendations emphasized the role of vitamin C and vitamin D in strengthening the immune system, a new study published in the journal Maturitas suggests that vitamin B may also play a significant role.

The study, conducted by researchers from the University of Oxford, United Arab Emirates University, and the University of Melbourne, highlights the importance of vitamin B in cell functioning, energy metabolism, and immune function. The authors propose that vitamin B contributes to the activation of both the innate and adaptive immune responses, reduces pro-inflammatory cytokine levels, improves respiratory function, maintains endothelial integrity, prevents hypercoagulability, and may even reduce hospital stay duration.

Although the study did not directly analyze the effects of vitamin B on COVID-19 patients, the researchers believe that existing evidence on its functions suggests potential benefits. They emphasize that vitamin B not only helps build and maintain a healthy immune system but also has the potential to prevent or reduce COVID-19 symptoms and treat SARS-CoV-2 infection. However, they caution that poor nutritional status can make individuals more susceptible to infections, emphasizing the importance of a balanced diet for optimal immune function.

Vitamin B complex consists of eight essential types, including B-2 (riboflavin), B-6, and B-12. These vitamins play crucial roles in various bodily functions, such as eyesight, red blood cell growth, digestion, energy levels, heart health, and brain function. Food sources rich in B vitamins include red meat, beans, milk, cheese, broccoli, spinach, avocados, and brown rice.

It is worth noting that deficiencies in vitamin B, particularly vitamin B12, can have serious consequences, leading to a shortage of healthy red blood cells that are essential for fighting infections. Symptoms of vitamin B deficiency can range from fatigue and dizziness to muscle weakness and personality changes.

While some experts agree that vitamin B may have potential benefits in COVID-19 cases by improving immune system function and potentially reducing the severity of cytokine storms, further research is necessary to establish definitive conclusions. It is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before considering any supplements or making changes to your diet.

The COVID-19 pandemic is an evolving situation, and new information and research may have emerged since the publication of the article. For the latest updates and guidance on COVID-19, it is advisable to refer to reputable sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

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Scientists discover a ‘very important’ protein that can prolong our lives and fight cancer


KLF1 amino acid?

amino acids

Amino acids are organic compounds that contain both amino and carboxylic acid functional groups. Although over 500 amino acids exist in nature, by far the most important are the alpha-amino acids, from which proteins are composed. Only 22 alpha amino acids appear in the genetic code of all life. Wikipedia


What does the KLF1 gene do?

KLF1 controls globin gene switching by directly activating beta-globin and indirectly repressing gamma-globin gene expression. A search for mutations in erythroid transcription factors showed mutations in the promoter or coding sequence of EKLF in 21 of 24 persons with the In(Lu) phenotype

Scientists discover a ‘very important’ protein that can prolong our lives and fight cancer

Scientists discover a ‘very important’ protein that can prolong our lives and fight cancer
Amidst remarkable strides in the past few decades to find ways to extend healthy human lifespans, a recent breakthrough marks another “very important” milestone.

Scientists from Taipei Medical University in Taiwan uncovered a genetic modification in mice that can superpower cancer-killing cells by two to seven times and extend their lifespan by up to 20 per cent.

To further amplify the results from last year’s groundbreaking study, they have now successfully replicated the same extraordinary outcomes from their previous research in ordinary mice through a single transplant of blood stem cells.

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The new findings, published in the scientific journal Cold Spring Harbor Protocols, are “very important,” said Che-Kun James Shen, lead researcher of the study, who believes that could have profound implications for human health.

“We hope to apply [them] in the near future, and I think if it works, they can go for clinical trials probably next year or by the end of this year,” he said to Euronews Next.

The researchers had first identified an amino acid – a protein called KLF1 – that when changed, “maintains all the healthy characteristics of the young age”.

This includes “better motor function, improved learning, and memory, but also better anti-cancer cells,” said Shen, adding that the mice’s hair “was also much more darker and shiny”.

One of the critical marks of ageing, fibrosis – a process characterised by the accumulation of fibrous tissue that leads to impaired organ functioning – had also proved to be significantly reduced.

But the latest findings show that the research team have now succeeded in transferring the benefits of the KLF1 amino acid – which plays a significant role in the transcription of genes across different blood cell types – to non-mutant mice thanks to stem cell transplants.
Reducing cancer risk and fighting off cancer cells

Stem cell transplants are a standard therapeutic approach for specific types of blood cancers. And building upon this initial breakthrough, Shen’s team of scientists hope to reduce the risk of cancer resurgence and superpower the cancer-killing cells by genetically modifying human stem cells with KLF1.

While eliminating cancer in itself is a promising prospect, Shen’s gene intervention could also have the potential to extend the human lifespan.

Researchers have previously pinpointed many genetic variants that increase the lifespan of mice. Nevertheless, a significant portion of these variants solely benefitted female mice, and there was no known method to transfer the advantages from mutant mice to wild (normal) mice.

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“Females always have these kinds of advantages, but in this mouse model, there is no gender bias,” said Shen.

Most importantly, he adds, “many of the previous mouse models showed side effects, but with our mice, we have not seen any”.

The trials with KLF1 have proven successful when testing with different genetic backgrounds of mice, indicating no specific genetic backgrounds influenced the results.

In other words, the benefits from the research could be universal, suggesting a broader impact.

“I think the model will likely work on all humans,” Shen told Euronews Next.

“And you don’t have to do a complete bone marrow transplantation, only a partial substitution of 30 or 20 per cent will suffice to make the mice cancer resistant”.

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The enhanced cancer-killing abilities observed in the mutant mice are due to various biological changes that occur after the gene manipulation.

But the investigators found that the ability of certain cancer-killing cells, such as the T cells and natural killer (NK) cells carrying the amino acid substitution “all have higher cancer cell killing ability, 2 to 7 fold higher, than the wildtype mice [normal mice].”

When the team realised that the genetic modification of the amino acid was “only expressed in blood cells,” they tried injecting certain types of blood cells from the mutant mice into wild mice with promising results.

Does this mean that cancer-fighting bone marrow transplantations can be carried out in humans soon? Shen is hopeful that it could soon be a reality.

“I think ethically, it has to be taken care of, but yeah, that’s what we are trying to do,” says Shen, adding they are already working to capitalise on their findings to enhance cancer therapies for humans.

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Pesky Mosquitoes:

Innovative ‘Chemical Camouflage’ Developed by Israeli Scientists Fends Off Mosquitoes

Israeli scientists have developed an innovative new approach to repelling mosquitoes, potentially reducing the transmission of mosquito-borne diseases worldwide. The novel ‘chemical camouflage,’ which uses indole, a compound found in various plants and animals, shows promise in keeping these bothersome pests at bay.

The method relies on indole, an aromatic heterocyclic organic compound. Indole is present in many substances, including the essential amino acid tryptophan and indigo dye, and is produced by numerous bacteria. Interestingly, indole is also a constituent of human sweat and is suspected to play a role in mosquito attraction.

However, recent research has shown that higher concentrations of indole can confuse or repel mosquitoes. The scientists from Israel have leveraged this discovery and developed a system that uses indole as a form of ‘chemical camouflage,’ masking our natural human scent and making us less attractive to mosquitoes.

In this newly developed system, the indole is incorporated into a cellulose matrix. The cellulose, a common and safe material often found in plants, serves as a slow-release medium for the indole. When the cellulose absorbs moisture from the air or skin, it releases the indole gradually, providing a long-lasting repellent effect.

While further research and testing are needed, this development is an exciting step forward in the fight against mosquito-borne diseases like malaria, dengue, and Zika virus. If successful, the indole-cellulose system could be used in wearable devices, patches, or other mosquito repelling products, providing a practical and efficient solution to a global problem.

The researchers’ innovative use of a common compound in a new context is a testament to the ongoing advancements in the field. The ‘chemical camouflage’ approach could not only change our fight against mosquitoes but might also lead to insights and advancements in managing other pests.

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Heart Condition Successfully Reversed:

Heart Surgery

Major Breakthrough: Previously Considered “Irreversible”

A recent study has reported on three remarkable cases where patients with potentially fatal heart failure experienced spontaneous reversal of their symptoms. The condition, known as transthyretin cardiac amyloidosis, is caused by the accumulation of toxic proteins in the heart. Previously considered irreversible, with a high mortality rate within four years of diagnosis, this study challenges that notion.

The research, published in The New England Journal of Medicine and conducted by a team including University College London (UCL) researchers, highlighted the cases of three men aged 68, 76, and 82 who were diagnosed with the condition but later showed signs of recovery. Heart scans confirmed that the buildup of amyloid proteins had cleared.

Lead author of the study, Marianna Fontana from UCL, commented, “We have seen for the first time that the heart can get better with this disease. That has not been known until now and it raises the bar for what might be possible with new treatments.”

Researchers also discovered that the three men had antibodies specifically targeting the amyloid proteins, unlike other patients whose condition progressed as expected. While it is not conclusively proven whether these antibodies caused the recovery, the data strongly suggests their involvement and opens up the potential for recreating similar antibodies in the lab as a therapeutic approach, according to Julian Gillmore from UCL.

Transthyretin cardiac amyloidosis is characterized by the accumulation of transthyretin, a blood protein, and can be hereditary or non-hereditary. Current treatments focus on alleviating symptoms of heart failure, such as fatigue, leg or abdominal swelling, and shortness of breath, but do not address the underlying amyloidosis.

Advancements in imaging techniques have facilitated the diagnosis of an increasing number of individuals with the disease over the years. In this study, researchers examined the records of 1,663 patients diagnosed with the condition after one patient, aged 68, reported an improvement in symptoms. Two additional cases were identified, and all three patients’ recoveries were confirmed through blood tests and imaging techniques like echocardiography.

Furthermore, analysis of heart muscle tissue from one patient revealed an unusual inflammatory response surrounding the amyloid protein deposits in the heart, which was absent in biopsies from patients whose condition had not reversed.

Upon further investigation, researchers identified antibodies in the three patients that specifically bound to the protein deposits in the heart. Scientists believe these proteins could be utilized to develop therapies that suppress the production of toxic and adhesive proteins.

Jon Spiers, chief executive of the Royal Free Charity, hailed this work as not only a significant breakthrough in understanding cardiac amyloidosis but also an opportunity to explore more effective treatment options.