Cancer is one of the most deadly diseases that leave most people hopeless. According to the National Institutes of Health, for every 100,000 people, there are 439.2 new cases of cancer every year. Meanwhile, for every 100,000 people, there are a total of 163.5 cancer deaths per year.
Researchers at the Salk Institute had a new discovery about the mechanisms of cancer. A cellular recycling process called autophagy—which was generally thought to fuel cancer’s growth—can actually lead to its death, thus preventing cancer before it starts.
In the paper published in the journal Nature, researchers investigated molecular tips called telomeres to find out how they are linked to cancer. The researchers likened the telomeres to the plastic tips at the ends of shoelaces. Those tips “keep the laces from fraying when we tie them,” similarly the telomeres protect the ends of chromosomes to “keep them from fusing when cells continually divide and duplicate their DNA.” However, while the loss of the plastic tips may lead to messy laces, losing the telomere may lead to cancer.
Every time the cells duplicate their DNA to divide and grow, their telomeres are slowly chipped away. The researchers explained that once the telomeres become too short “that they can no longer effectively protect chromosomes,” the cells stop dividing permanently.
However, due to cancer-causing viruses or other factors, cells may continue to divide. And because the telomeres are either too short or missing, the unprotected chromosomes undergo “crisis.” They can fuse and become dysfunctional, which may result in the initiation of some types of cancer.
The team dug deeper to understand this “crisis.” The typical response to this crisis is widespread cell death in order to stop the dangerous fused cells to become full-blown cancer.
To investigate this crisis and the resulting cell death, the research team used healthy human cells in experiments to compare the normally growing cells with the cells they forced into crisis. They then investigated the cellular mechanisms which occur during the crisis; such as apoptosis and autophagy.
Results revealed that when they prevented autophagy in the crisis cells, the cells replicated tirelessly. Additionally, they were fused and disfigured. The severe DNA damage in the cells indicates that they have become cancerous cells. This means that autophagy is an important early cancer-suppressing mechanism.
Previously, the so-called autophagy was generally thought of as a survival mechanism of cancer cells; A process that supports the unsanctioned growth of cancerous cells by eating other cells to recycle raw materials.
However, it seems that this understanding was wrong. The researchers claimed autophagy to be a “completely novel tumor-suppressing pathway.” They added the treatment programs that block the autophagy in order to curb cancer may have the opposite effect and unintentionally promote cancer instead.
Even the researchers were taken by surprise by the results of their study. “These results were a complete surprise. There are many checkpoints that prevent cells from dividing out of control and becoming cancerous, but we did not expect autophagy to be one of them,” said Jan Karlseder, a professor in Salk’s Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory and the senior author of the study.
Potatoes are considered staple food in almost every country. They can be added to many recipes or they can be simply boiled, mashed, baked, roasted, or fried by themselves. They are very delicious and contain a lot of vitamins and minerals, however, the uses of potatoes to do not stop at your plate. Here
1 Polish Silverware
You just noticed that the necklace you would be wearing in the evening party is discolored. No need to rush to the hardware store. The answer is just seating in your kitchen. Just boil some potatoes and after they are cooked, remove them and keep the water. Soak them in the water for 20-30 minutes, wipe properly, and voila!—you have a sparkling new necklace. And oh! You can just eat those boiled potatoes.
2 Remove Rust
The acid in potato is very effective in dissolving the rust from cast iron or old metallic tools and items. Just cut a slice and rub it to the rusty area. Leave it for about 30 minutes and use an abrasive to scrub. You can add salt or soap for better effects.
3 Polish Leather
The cleaning power of the oh so great potato does not stop with just cleaning metal and silverware, you can also use it on those made with leather materials such as bags and shoes. Just rub a slice directly to the leather. Leave for about five minutes, and wipe gently with a clean cloth and or brush.
4 Make Hot or Cold Compress
On cold winter days, it’s such a bliss to keep your hand warm with hot baked potatoes and slowly peel them to eat as they slowly get warm. Potatoes can hold temperatures, either hot or cold, for a long time. They are simply good hot or cold compress alternatives.
5 Skin Care
Time to update your beauty regimen with potatoes! Potatoes are useful in getting rid of oily skin, pimples, blackheads, and improve skin conditions. Make your own potato face mask by blending potatoes to form a paste. Or simply rub a slice in the affected area and leave for a few minutes for smoother, tighter skin.
6 Remove Eye Bags
Cucumbers are always the protagonists in removing eye bags and puffiness around the eyes but don’t you know that potatoes are a better solution. They work faster than any other vegetables in lightening dark circles.
7 An All-Around Cure for Minor Ailments
Our humble potato is so magical that it can be used to ease minor ailments such as spasms, joint pain, arthritis, body pain, heartburn, ulcers, migraine, constipation, and speeds up bruise healing. There are also studies which link potato juice to reduced risks of other diseases such as cancer.
8 Power Source
Potato batteries are common school projects of grade school kids as they possess energy which can easily be harnessed with wire. Although you cannot use them in high-voltage appliances, they can be used to power simpler electronics. You might find it too troublesome to save just a little amount in electricity bills but it would be very useful during unprepared power outages.
Chicken eggs are good, nutritional food sources on their own. However, if we can make them to be more useful, why not?
Scientists genetically modified chickens to produce human proteins in their eggs. This breakthrough can offer a new cost-effective method for producing high-quality drugs with cheaper ingredients.
Genetically Modifying the Chickens
According to the researchers, the project was initially aimed at creating high-quality proteins that can be used for scientific research. However, they soon found that drugs created using these proteins.
This is not the first time eggs have shown their usefulness in drug production. Previously, eggs were used to grow strains of viruses that can be used in vaccines. But this time, researchers at the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute tweaked the chickens themselves. They encoded the DNA of the chickens to produce human protein as part of the egg whites
In the study published in BMC Biotechnology, the researchers made sure the genetic modification did not have adverse effects on the chickens—they can lay eggs as normal. The proteins on eggs, on the other hand, can be harvested in high quantities using a simple purification.
High quantities of the proteins can be recovered from each egg system and there are no on the chickens themselves, which lay eggs as normal.
Researchers say the findings provide sound evidence for using chickens as a cheap method of producing high-quality drugs for use in research studies and, potentially one day, in patients.
Eggs are already used for growing viruses that are used as vaccines, such as the flu jab. This new approach is different because the therapeutic proteins are encoded in the chicken’s DNA and produced as part of the egg white.
Three Eggs for a Dose of Drug
The researchers focused on developing two types of protein. One is a human protein called IFNalpha2a which is important to the immune system. This protein has antiviral properties and can be used to fight against cancer. The second is the human and pig versions of a protein called macrophage-CSF which has therapeutic potential. It is being developed to stimulate damaged tissues to repair themselves.
A dose of drug only needs three eggs. The researchers have not produced a drug for patients yet. However, the study offers proof of a new feasible drug production method.
If researchers adapted the same method to produce other human proteins, it can greatly contribute to the production of many protein-based drugs. A few examples of these drugs are Avastin and Herceptin, which are used for treating cancer and other diseases.
Looking at how costly anti-cancer medicines are currently, this would certainly be a more economical substitute. It is less expensive than the current production method of similar drugs. Currently, the only way to produce these proteins is through mammalian cell culture techniques. This is not only very expensive, but it also produces a low yield.
“We are not yet producing medicines for people, but this study shows that chickens are commercially viable for producing proteins suitable for drug discovery studies and other applications in biotechnology,” said Professor Helen Sang, of the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute.
Different people have different merits. Some people have talent in singing. Some people are good at dancing. Some people have high intelligence. Some people are good at speaking and socializing. However, some people just have that ‘special’ poop that can be used to treat diseases.
Yes! You read it right. Poop, feces, stool, or whatever you call that certain human waste—can be used to treat intestinal disorders, and maybe even Alzheimer’s and cancer.
Feces as Cure in History
The use of feces for treating various stomach diseases is not a new concept. Medical literature in China from the fourth century reveal the usage of the so-called “yellow soup” or “golden syrup” in treating severe diarrhea and food poisoning. This golden syrup is made of fresh, dry or fermented stool mixed with water which is then drunk by the patient. Hey! Won’t they get sicker with the taste?
Ancient Bedouin groups in the Arabian dessert also eat fresh and warm camel feces to counter bacterial dysentery. The effectivity in camel feces on gastroenteritis was further confirmed by the German soldiers of the Afrika Korps during World War II.
Fecal Transplants Today
The use of feces in various gut problems has since been researched by doctors and clinicians. Fortunately, our scientists have developed ways so the fecal treatment doesn’t need to be so nasty. The fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) nowadays can be administered as fecal enemas or by mouth in the form of a capsule.
Previous studies reveal that using FMT is more cost-effective than antibiotics in curing gut diseases. Unlike antibiotics, fecal transplant stops the disease from coming back and also prevents patients from developing antibiotic resistance. Using FMT in gut diseases has a success rate of up to90 percent.
Fecal Transplants to Counter Other Diseases
A recent study published in Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology reveals that human feces might be the new panacea in treating other diseases such as diabetes, asthma, allergies, Alzheimer’s, cancers, multiple sclerosis, and heart diseases which are with changes to gut bacteria.
“The last two decades have seen a growing list of medical conditions associated with changes in the microbiome — bacteria, viruses, and fungi, especially in the gut,” Dr. Justin O’Sullivan of the University of Auckland and senior author of the study said.
“In fact, we know already that changes to the gut microbiome can contribute to disease, based on studies in germ-free mice as well as clinical improvement in human patients following restoration of the gut microbiome by transplanting stool from a healthy donor.”
The Emergence of ‘Super-Donors’
Clinical trials for type-2 diabetes only have an average of about 20 percent. However, the researchers highlighted that the trials have given clue to the existence of “super-donors.” These are people with stool that is more likely to influence the host gut and to lead to clinical improvement.
The discovery of these ‘super-donors’ may lead to higher success rates in the treatments. The researchers also suggest digging deeper by finding stools with different strains of bacteria which may be effective in curing other diseases.
“We see transplants from super-donors achieve clinical remission rates of perhaps double the remaining average. Our hope is that if we can discover how this happens, then we can improve the success of fecal transplantation and even trial it for new microbiome-associated conditions like Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis and asthma,” O’Sullivan said.
Ebola is one of the scariest and most deadly viruses on humans. In the largest Ebola outbreak in West Africa which started in 2013 and was deemed controlled in 2016, there were 28,616 suspected cases and 11,310 reported deaths due to the virus. However, until now there is no approved treatment for Ebola.
In an early stage clinical trial, scientists found that the investigational Ebola treatment mAb114 is safe and well-tolerated in adults. The treatment was developed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Vaccine Research Center of the National Institutes of Health.
What is Ebola?
Ebola virus disease (EVD), also called as Ebola hemorrhagic fever or just Ebola is a viral hemorrhagic fever which was first identified in 1976. Its onset is typically accompanied with fever, headaches, sore throat and muscular pain, It is then followed by rash, vomiting, and diarrhea as well as external and internal bleeding and decreased functions of the liver and kidneys.
Ebola has a high risk of death. It ranges between 25-90 percent, the most common cause of death being excessive blood-loss and dehydration. This typically happens 6-16 days after the appearance of symptoms. Survivors can develop antibodies for Ebola. However, they were reported to have long-term problems such as joint and muscle pain, fatigue, hearing loss, eye problems, and others.
Ebola is transmitted through contact to fluids of patients which includes saliva, mucus, vomit, feces, sweat, tears, breast milk, urine, and semen. This leads to easy transmission especially to those always in direct contact to patients with Ebola. In the “catastrophic” West African outbreak, 10 percent of deaths were consist of healthcare workers.
In 2017, a preventive vaccine for Ebola was deemed effective. However, there is no treatment for those who already contracted the disease. The symptoms are only controlled through supportive care. Through pain management and by making sure the patients do not lack fluids and their blood pressure does not get dangerously low.
The mAb114 is a single monoclonal antibody which “binds to the core receptor” of the surface protein of the Ebola virus. This prevents it from infecting other human cells. The mAb114 is derived from a survivor of the 1995 Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
In a paper published in The Lancet, the treatment was used in varying doses by 18 Ebola patients in Phase 1/3 clinical trial which began in May 2018. Three patients were given 5 milligrams through intravenous drips. Five were given 25 milligrams while ten were given 50 milligrams
Results revealed that the participants did not show negative side-effects. Only 4 out of 18 participants reported mild side effects like discomfort, headache, nausea, muscle or joint pain, and chills about three days after the treatment. Prior to the trial, the mAb114 has shown effectiveness in protecting monkeys from Ebola virus even when given up to five days after infection.
The authors highlighted the treatment can easily be stored and administered which makes it advantageous in an outbreak setting. Currently, the mAb114 is being offered in Phase 2/3 clinical trial for the treatment for Ebola patients in DRC.