A newly discovered ‘wonder cream’ could help millions of patients with eczema, arthritis and a form of alopecia.
All three conditions are caused by an issue which causes the immune system to target the body’s healthy cells. Scientists looking for a way to help blood cancer patients have stumbled on a way to switch off that response.
Dr Aurore Saudemont, of the Anthony Nolan Research Institute, said: “This accidental discovery could offer a major breakthrough.
“These findings could eventually lead to treatments that eradicate symptoms of eczema, rheumatoid arthritis and even alopecia areata without causing major side effects.”
Over six millions Britons have eczema, four hundred thousand suffer crippling joint pain with rheumatoid arthritis and over a million have alopecia areata.
The Anthony Nolan experts were looking for a way to cure a complication that affects 80% of stem cell transplant patients. It happens when donated cells see existing cells as foreign and start to attack them. Researchers made a breakthrough when they found a protein in umbilical cord blood that stops a pregnant mum’s immune system attacking the unborn baby.
They studied cord blood donated by new mums, while stem cells were harvested from the umbilical cords.
Dr Saudemont added: “It is very exciting to discover that a product usually discarded could be so valuable.”
Image credit: Betsy Jons
A study carried out by researchers at Brown University has indicated that niclosamide, a drug used to treat tapeworm, and the closely related oxycloxanide, a veterinary parasite drug, could be used to successfully treat strains of the superbug MRSA.
During the study the drugs suppressed the growth of MRSA cultures in laboratory dishes and preserved the life of nematode worms infected with the bacteria. Ninety percent of MRSA-infected worms survived and large zones of growth inhibition in MRSA culture covering the petri dish plate was cleared. Both were also found to be as effective at lower concentrations as vancomycin, the drug currently used as a last resort treatment against the superbug.
Oxyclozanide was discovered to be the more effective of the two in killing the MRSA bacteria. Niclosamide, on the other hand, successfully curbed MRSA growth however it did not completely eradicate it. Moving forward experiments on rodents are now being planned.
Potential issues have been highlighted concerning the rapid way nicolsamide is cleared from the body and the poor job it performs in working its way out of the bloodstream and into tissues. However, it has been suggested that this rapid clearance may not reduce performance and could in fact be an advantage as the toxicity of the drug may be reduced.
With noclosamide already FDA approved and featured on the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines, there are strong motivations for investigating its use as a boost to the immune system in those that have contracted MRSA. The less toxic oxycozanide could present an even more promising treatment should it be approved for human consumption. As oxycozanide targets the cell membrane rather than metabolic pathways, it could help prevent MRSA developing resistance to the drug.
Image credit: FWC Fish & Wildlife Research Institute
A simple breath test could help predict whether people with gut problems are at high risk of developing stomach cancer.
Scientists are hoping that the early study could develop to save thousands of lives, including many of the 7,300 people diagnosed with stomach cancer in the UK each year.
The test works by detecting chemical compounds in the breath of people in an attempt to distinguish unique ‘breath prints’ in those with risky pre-cancerous changes.
Experts say if proven in large trials, it could spot patients on the brink of cancer so they can be treated earlier.
Symptoms of stomach cancer are often mistaken for other complaints and there is no effective early screening test, so is often diagnosed when it is too late for treatment to be effective.
The new test developed by Israeli scientists senses tiny changes in the level of organic compounds in exhaled breath which signal that stomach cancer is present.
More research is required to validate the test, and research involving thousands of European patients is now underway.
Image credit: Filip Bunkens
Microbiologists have been amazed to find a 1000 year old Anglo-Saxon remedy has the power to kill antibiotic-resistant MRSA.
The British Library in London holds an old leather-bound volume that is known as Bald’s Leechbook, that experts say is one of the world’s earliest medical manuscripts.
Bald’s Leechbook contains not only medical advice, but also recipes for various medicines, treatments and ointments, including one for a salve that was used to treat eye infections. It is this eye ointment that proved to kill antibiotic-resistant MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).
Scientists at Nottingham University made four separate batches of the salve using fresh ingredients – garlic, onion, wine and cow bile – as well as a control treatment using the same quantity of distilled water and brass sheeting to mimic the brewing container but without the vegetable compounds. The salve was then strained and left to set for 9 days before testing commenced.
“Take cropleek and garlic, of both equal quantities, pound them well together…take wine and bullocks gall, mix with the leek…let it stand nine days in the brass vessel…” the medieval recipe instructs.
None of the individual ingredients alone had any measurable effect, but when combined according to the recipe, the Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) populations of bacteria, were almost totally obliterated – only about one bacterial cell in a thousand survived.
Image credit: Dirk-Jan Kraan
As spring has arrived, what better time to give your CV a thorough spring clean!
Your CV can be a powerful tool when it comes to marketing yourself to potential employers, and is often the first step taken towards securing that all-important first interview. Follow our tips below to ensure that your CV is appealing and content rich.
- Take out information that no longer supports your career goals. Irrelevant roles can be deleted or grouped together in an “Additional Experience” section to allow prominence of those that are more relevant.
- Get to the point! Keep sentences short yet informative.
- Easy-to-read and visually appealing text is preferable to densely packed paragraphs with information that ‘waffles’. Keep to the point, keep relevant.
- Keep it uniform – use the same font throughout and use bullet points to list duties.
- Choose a font that is easy to read on screen, experiment with sizes (smaller for company details, for example) and use bold to highlight key information.
- Tailor your CV to the role you are aiming for – ideally cross-reference the job description to ensure you are using appropriate keywords. Evidence is key!
- List your job duties beneath each position. List your achievements, responsibilities and results.
- Prioritise the order of your duties to match the requirements of the position you are applying for.
- Work experience should be in reverse chronological order – current job first.
- Use the past tense for previous jobs and the present tense for your current job.
- Explain any gaps in your work history – travelling, maternity leave, education.
- Thinking of changing career direction? Returning to a previous job? Aiming for a promotion? Older experience such as previous roles, skills, achievements, training, projects etc may now be more relevant!
- Be prepared to rework the theme and layout of your CV. You may want to re-position older details to make them more prominent, or highlight different aspects of your experience to make them appear more relevant for your current goals.
- Obtained a new professional or personal achievement? Additional duties added to your role? Constantly updating your CV every time a relevant happening occurs within your current role or personal life will assure that your CV is always ready and up to date, should the perfect opportunity arise.
Image credit: 3dpete
A research group in Japan has carried out a study which suggests that roundworms can be used to accurately detect cancers in patients through odours in their urine.
The nematodes (or roundworms) used in the study were attracted to the urine of cancer patients and avoided the urine of the healthy candidates taking part. Their behaviour provides a more useful method of detection than that afforded by dogs which have also been used in cancer detection. The dog’s ability to concentrate on the task affects the accuracy of diagnosis; an issue avoided through the use of nematodes.
The researchers were able to identify five cancer-positive patients who were not recognized as such when their urine was obtained.
The group is now working to produce a screening device incorporating this method to be put to use commercially as early as 2019. The test is painless and would allow for urine samples to be taken at home and then along to a testing site. A patient’s results could then be obtained within ninety minutes in a process which would save time and reduce medical costs.
The nematodes detected cancers at an earlier stage than conventional testing, allowing for the possibility of earlier screenings and diagnosis in the future. Earlier treatment for those testing positive could also be achieved. With the sensitivity of the test placed at 95.8% (higher than tumour-marker diagnosis tests conducted using blood samples) more accurate results may be attained.
Although this method of testing cannot detect which type of cancer a person is suffering from, researchers have succeeded in developing nematodes to react in different ways to specific cancers.
Image credit: John Donges
A bionic eye implant has been used to allow Allen Zderad, a man who has been blind for the past ten years, to see outlines of people and objects for the first time since losing his vision.
Zderad suffers from a degenerative condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa that causes the cells in the retina which collect light to die. Prior to the use of the implant, he was only able to see very bright light and relied on a cane to assist his mobility.
The bionic eye implant is made by Second Sight and was given to Zderad as part of a clinical trial. It is named Retinal Prosthesis and consists of a small electronic chip that is placed at the back of the eye. This chip sends visual signals directly into the optic nerve, bypassing the damaged cells in the retina.
A set of glasses containing a tiny camera makes up the external part of the device alongside a small computer the patient wears around their waist. The camera in the glasses takes pictures replicating those gathered by the human eye and feeds the information to the computer. The images are translated into light signals which pass through a wireless transmitter to electrodes in the patient’s eye. The electrodes transmit the light signals to the brain through the rest of the retina and the optic nerve cells which remain healthy.
Zderad was given the implant as part of a clinical trial and was immediately able to reach out and take his wife’s hand as the implant was activated. He is about to undertake a course of physical therapy which will better enable him to interpret the light signals from the implant.
Image credit: Desirae
Spider silk is a protein fibre spun by spiders, and is stronger than steel and tougher than Kevlar! Spiders use their silk to make webs or other structures, which function as nets to catch other animals, or as nests or cocoons to protect their offspring. They can also use their silk to suspend themselves.
Efforts to create our own spider silk have so far failed to match the real thing. Now a German research group has equalled its toughness.
Previous attempts have focussed on two molecules that provide material properties. However, Thomas Scheibel at the University of Bayreuth in Germany and his colleagues realised that this neglected two smaller molecules that help align the strands. His team spliced spider genes into E. coli, which enabled the bacteria to produce all four molecules in a bath of alcohol and water. The team then used a method called wet spinning to draw out the fibres, creating the artificial silk.
The material is not as strong as real silk, but is more elastic, so it can absorb as much energy as the real thing.
The toughness of the current fibre can be put to good use in making car airbags. “An airbag should have exactly the properties that a spider web has,” says Scheibel – strong and elastic. Current airbags, made from materials like Kevlar, are strong but not elastic, so they can reflect energy from a crash back into the driver and cause injuries. The artificial silk could solve this, provided the team can scale up production, which might be difficult, says Scheibel.
Image credit: Alias 0591
The underground naked mole rat has been found to produce a hybrid protein that prevents tumour growth. The discovery was made by scientists at the University of Rochester in New York.
The protein is associated with a cluster of genes (called a locus) that is also found in humans and mice. It is the job of that locus to encode several cancer-fighting proteins. The locus found in naked mole rats encodes a total of four cancer-fighting proteins, while the human and mouse version encodes only three.
Despite their names, naked mole rats are neither moles nor rats (nor are they totally hairless). These remarkable creatures are more closely related to porcupines and guinea pigs. They are subterranean rodents that have never been known to get cancer despite having a 30-year lifespan.
Naked mole rats live in the horn of Africa and are native to Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya. They’re not blind, yet their eyes are very small and naked mole rats will often close them when they run through the tunnels.
The findings by Seuanov and Gorbunova research team have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In an effort to determine whether the effective protein is also found in mice and humans, the researchers tried to screen mouse and human cells and tissues for the protein hybrid, but were unsuccessful. “While our work doesn’t eliminate the possibility that the protein exists under some conditions in mice and humans, the results suggest that it’s highly unlikely,” said Gorbunova.
Tests have shown that the protein can prevent human cells from turning cancerous, and researchers hope to use it develop new treatments in the future for patients with cancer.
Image credit: Jedimentat44
At Kinetica, we are always on the hunt for new talent to join our team and have recently had the pleasure of recruiting our newest member – Liz Holdsworth.
Liz has five years’ experience in the recruitment industry – four of which have been spent in the pharmaceutical and medical device markets.
Since joining Kinetica, Liz has focussed her efforts purely in the pharmaceutical sector, as this is where her strongest professional relationships have been built with clients and candidates alike.
With a genuine interest in the pharmaceutical industry, Liz can often be found pouring over articles and news items on the movements and progress of technology and science in this area.
Liz specialises in mid to senior level appointments, covering functions such as: Quality & Regulatory, Technical, R&D, Engineering & Manufacturing, Sales & Marketing, Operations Management and Continuous Improvement. She recruits both permanent and contract roles, and geographically covers the UK and Europe (Liz is also SECO registered for Swiss recruitment.)
Liz is a proven headhunter and a large majority of her work is exclusive or retained due to her impressive success rates. She has never placed a candidate in a role that didn’t prove fruitful, and can boast of 100% rebate-free track record.
If you are seeking an opportunity in the pharmaceutical sector, give Liz a call on 0113 261 71 81 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with her on LinkedIn here.