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Nanoparticles to force cancer cells self-destruct

Research from Lund University in Sweden has suggested that using magnetically controlled nanoparticles to force tumour cells to ‘self-destruct’ could be a future part of cancer treatment.

Professor Erik Renstrom said that the clever thing about the technique is that we can target selected cells without harming surrounding tissue, asserting that there are many ways to kill cells, but this method is contained and remote-controlled.The point of the new technique is that it is much more targeted than trying to kill cancer cells with techniques such as chemotherapy. “Chemotherapy can also affect healthy cells in the body, and it therefore has serious side-effects. Radiotherapy can also affect healthy tissue around the tumour.

“Our technique, on the other hand, is able to attack only the tumour cells”, said Enming Zhang, one of the first authors of the study. In brief, the technique involves getting the nanoparticles into a tumour cell, where they bind to lysosomes, the units in the cell that perform ‘cleaning patrols’.

The lysosomes have the ability to break down foreign substances that have entered a cell. They can also break down the entire cell through a process known as ‘controlled cell death’, a type of destruction where damaged cells dissolve themselves.The researchers have used nanoparticles of iron oxide that have been treated with a special form of magnetism. Once the particles are inside the cancer cells, the cells are exposed to a magnetic field, and the nanoparticles begin to rotate in a way that causes the lysosomes to start destroying the cells.

More than 50 pc drinkers cut cravings after weight loss surgery

Researchers have suggested that more than half of high-risk drinkers are actually less likely to report high-risk drinking behavior after weight loss surgery.

Lead author and principal investigator Christina Wee, MD, Director of Obesity Research in the Division of General Medicine and Primary Care, and colleagues interviewed patients who participated in the Assessment of Bariatric Surgery or ABS Study, which aims to understand patient preferences and decision making processes about weight loss and weight loss surgery.

They followed 541 clinically obese patients who underwent weight loss surgery, interviewing them at baseline and then twice again at the end of one and two years.Study participants were asked questions assessing frequency of drinking over the past year, quantity of alcohol consumed on an average daily, and binge drinking over the past month. Results were used to determine which individuals were high-risk drinkers.

About one in six patients reported high-risk drinking before weight loss surgery. At one year after surgery two thirds of gastric bypass patients and nearly half of gastric banding patients reported ceasing high-risk drinking. And at year two “half of gastric bypass and more than half of gastric banding patients reported this improvement,” write the authors.
Low doses of aspirin can boost fertility: Study

Forget expensive treatments and drugs, even the ubiquitous aspirin could increase a woman’s fertility, research finds.

Low doses of the drug could improve the chances of conception and of having a live birth. The reason for this could be that aspirin increases blood flow to the womb, the researchers said. However, contrary to popular belief, taking the drug does not prevent miscarriage.

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health randomly assigned more than 1,000 women with a history of pregnancy loss either a low dose of aspirin daily or a placebo. They then followed them for six months while they tried to conceive. The researchers found there was no difference in the pregnancy loss rates between the two groups. However, they found that women who had experienced a single, recent pregnancy loss had an increased rate of pregnancy and live birth while taking a daily aspirin tablet.

These women were classed as those who had lost a baby before four and a half months gestation within the past year. Among these women, 78 percent became pregnant during the study, compared to 66 percent of those who took the placebo.

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