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01 / 05
Life-Changing Cystic Fibrosis Treatment Wins $3-Million Prize

Nature | Health & Medical Care

Life-Changing Cystic Fibrosis Treatment Wins $3-Million Prize

“The triple-drug combination Trikafta has given a new lease of life to 90% of people with cystic fibrosis, an inherited disorder that affects the lungs and other organs. Now, the trio of researchers who spearheaded its development has won one of this year’s US$3-million Breakthrough prizes — the most lucrative awards in science.”

From Nature.

The Guardian | Accidents, Injuries & Poisonings

Blood Thinner Could Be Used to Treat Cobra Venom, Global Study Suggests

“Cobra bites are usually treated using antivenom administered through an intravenous drip, meaning the drug reaches the bloodstream rather than the tissue. Antivenom treatments are therefore ineffective in treating necrosis, the irreversible death of body tissue, which can lead to amputation or a loss of limb function. Treatment is also expensive, and it can take days for patients to get to a hospital.

The lead author of the study, Tian Du from the University of Sydney, said if human trials were successful, heparin – a blood thinner that can directly reach infected tissue – could be used on-site, most likely in combination with other drugs.

Du said after successful human trials, heparin, which is a World Health Organization-listed essential medicine, could be rolled out relatively quickly to become a cheap, safe and effective drug for treating cobra bites.

While she said it was unclear at this stage how much heparin would reduce tissue damage, she was hopeful that damage will be reduced by 50% to 100%, depending on the dosage and how quickly the drug is delivered.”

From The Guardian.

New York Magazine | Noncommunicable Disease

Immunotherapy Is Changing Cancer Treatment Forever

“Glioblastoma is the most common type of malignant brain cancer. It can strike at any age, and it’s uniformly fatal. Patients are often diagnosed in the emergency room after the tumor causes some somatic catastrophe, such as seizure, sudden loss of speech, or an inability to control the limbs on one side of the body. The median time from diagnosis to death is just over a year.

The first step in treating the disease hasn’t changed in decades: ‘maximal safe resection,’ a surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible while preserving neurological function. Because glioblastoma is so adept at infiltrating the brain, the surgeon almost always leaves cancer behind, which quickly starts growing again. Some patients respond to radiation or the chemotherapy drug temozolomide, but even that adds months rather than years to the average survival time. Roger Stupp, an expert in glioblastoma, told me the disease had proved to be ‘a graveyard of ideas.’ Decades of research have gone nowhere.

Within the past 20 years, however, a once unfashionable field called immunotherapy has upended all expectations in oncology. It proceeds from a simple premise: The human immune system is very good at attacking anything it registers as disease. If it could be turned against cancer, it could eliminate a tumor more thoroughly than a surgeon’s knife and more durably than the poison of chemotherapy.”

From New York Magazine.

Medical Xpress | Noncommunicable Disease

New Imaging Set to Accelerate Cardiovascular Medicine

“Two whole adult human hearts, one healthy and one diseased, have been imaged in unprecedented detail by researchers from UCL and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), providing an invaluable resource for better understanding cardiovascular disease.

The study, published in Radiology, is an atlas of the human heart that captures the anatomical structure of the whole organ down to 20 micrometers—half the width of a human hair. In certain areas imaging has been done to the cellular level.

The atlas will facilitate previously impossible research into both healthy and diseased hearts, clarifying anatomical structures and connections within the organ, with potential applications ranging from improving the treatment for arrythmia to creating more lifelike models for surgical training.”

From Medical Xpress.

The Guardian | Vaccination

First Asian Elephant Vaccinated in Fight against Deadly Herpes Virus

“An Asian elephant at Houston zoo in the US has received the first mRNA vaccine against herpes, which is the leading killer of Asian elephants calves in captivity.

Tess, a 40-year-old Asian elephant, was injected with the trial vaccine at the Texas zoo in June, after a spate of deaths in juveniles in zoos around the world from the elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV).

Dr Paul Ling, who researches herpes in humans at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, developed the elephant mRNA vaccine, which is designed to boost the immunity of young elephants.”

From The Guardian.