Also in the press
Mistakes in labs are slowing down new cancer treatments, mosquito could bring tropical diseases to the UK and World Malaria Day
Wednesday, 25 April 2012
OREGANO HERB KILLS PROSTATE CANCER CELLS
The Daily Mail (p3) and The Daily Telegraph (p13) report that according to scientists from Long Island University in New York, oregano could be used to form the basis of a new treatment for prostate cancer without serious side effects.
Carvacrol, a chemical in oregano, triggered prostate cancer cells to kill themselves.
“The oregano chemical could now be used itself as a treatment against cancer, or as the blueprint for an even more powerful drug.
“Experts warned, though, that when oregano is eaten, it could be that carvacrol is digested before it can do any good,” says the Mail.
ASPIRIN CAN REDUCE RISK OF DYING FROM BOWEL CANCER
The Daily Telegraph (p13) briefly reports that according to research conducted by Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, taking an aspirin daily after being diagnosed with bowel cancer can reduce the chance of dying from the disease by nearly a third.
“Patients with colorectal cancer who took an 80 milligram tablet daily for at least nine months were 30% less likely to die over an average follow-up period of three-and-a-half years, compared with those who did not take it,” says the paper.
MISTAKES IN LABS ARE SLOWING DOWN NEW CANCER TREATMENTS
The Wall Street Journal (p14,15) says that progress toward new treatments for cancer has slowed, because of contamination and misidentification of cancer cell lines in the laboratory.
“Cancer experts seeking to solve the problem have found that a fifth to a third or more of cancer cell lines tested were mistakenly identified- with researchers unwittingly studying the wrong cancers, slowing progress toward new treatments and wasting precious time and money,” reports the paper.
“In hundreds of documented cases that undermine a broad swath of research, cancer samples that were supposed to be one type of tumour have turned out to be another, through either careless laboratory handling, mislabelling or other mistakes,” adds the WSJ.
Dr John Masters, professor of experimental pathology at University College London, said when seeking treatment for a specific tumour, such mistakes “are an utter waste of public money, charity money and time” and said that at worse “it may be causing drugs to be used which are inappropriate for that particular type of cancer”.
WORLD MALARIA DAY
A number of papers have focused on the issue of combating malaria in light of World Malaria Day, and in the Financial Times’ FT Health supplement entitled “Combating Malaria”, the paper dedicated eight full pages to tackling malaria.
The FT focuses on issues such as drug resistant variants of the disease, which have been found by the Myanmar-Thai border. This discovery has led to the fear of a “spectre of untreatable malaria”.
Other issues include funding fears over tackling the disease, and the efforts being taken to control the disease, such as by fumigating areas to get rid of mosquitoes. One article focuses on keeping track of drug stocks through text messaging and the efforts being made by pharmaceutical companies, such as Novartis, to try and develop the next generation of malaria drugs.
In an eight-paged Mediaplanet supplement, distributed by The Independent, articles include the progress that has been made in the battle against malaria, and the challenges involved, including the issue of drug resistant strains of the disease. The Independent also includes project case studies.
In The Guardian (p40) the paper focuses on overseas aid and asks whether governments, which are facing spending cuts, should continue to fund malaria-combating projects.
MOSQUITO COULD BRING TROPICAL DISEASES TO THE UK
The Independent (p9) says that according to Liverpool University scientists and the government’s Health Protection Agency, “an Asian mosquito that can transmit potentially dangerous tropical diseases could soon become established in southern England”.
The Asian tiger mosquito has already invaded large parts of Italy, Spain, southern France and the Balkans, and it is responsible for several outbreaks of mosquito-borne infections such as dengue fever and chikungunya fever.
The scientists mapped changes to Europe’s climate over the past 50 years and the data suggests that conditions across wider areas of northern Europe will become more favourable for the mosquito.
HARVARD UNIVERSITY ENCOURAGES USE OF OPEN ACCESS JOURNALS
The Guardian (p14) reports that Harvard University, “exasperated by rising subscription costs charged by academic publishers”, has “encouraged” its faculty members to make their research freely available through open access journals and to “resign from publications that keep articles behind paywalls”.