See on Scoop.it - The future of medicine and health
Engineer immune cells to recognise tumour cells they would otherwise overlook and they call a halt to cancers we thought were incurable
"THE results are holding up very nicely." Cancer researcher Michel Sadelain is admirably understated about the success of a treatment developed in his lab at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
In March, he announced that five people with a type of blood cancer called acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) were in remission following treatment with genetically engineered immune cells from their own blood. One person’s tumours disappeared in just eight days.
Sadelain has now told New Scientist that a further 11 people have been treated, almost all of them with the same outcome. Several trials for other cancers are also showing promise.
What has changed is that researchers are finding ways to train the body’s own immune system to kill cancer cells. Until now, the most common methods of attacking cancer use drugs or radiation, which have major side effects and are blunt instruments to say the least.
The latest techniques involve genetically engineering immune T-cells to target and kill cancer cells, while leaving healthy cells relatively unscathed.
See on newscientist.com
See on Scoop.it - Cyborg Lives
It’s an uncomfortable truth but scientists say most people have an ingrained racial bias. Now a team has shown that a short stint in a virtual world could reduce it, but could this have a longer lasting effect?
Racism is an issue that still pervades many societies.
In England and Wales, there have been 106 fatal racist attacks since the killing of teenager Stephen Lawrence in 1993 according to the Institute of Race Relations. It also reports thousands of racist incidents recorded by the police each year.
The issue is complicated by the fact that many biases are ingrained over long periods of time.
Scientists have now found that this ingrained racial bias was reduced when participants were immersed in a virtual body of a different race.
To test their implicit racism, a team led by Mel Slater at the University of Barcelona gave participants what’s called an implicit association test several days before the experiment. They were given the same test again after their experience in virtual reality.
It was only the participants who had been placed in a dark virtual body that showed this decrease.
Another unrelated study had similar results. A team found that when a dark virtual rubber hand was stroked at the same time as the participant’s own (out of sight) hand was touched, implicit racism subsequently decreased. This work was led by Manos Tsakiris at Royal Holloway University of London.
Both teams say it’s promising that two separate experimental settings show this effect.
See on bbc.co.uk
Did you make it to work on time this morning? Go ahead and thank the traffic gods, but also take a moment to thank your brain. The brain’s impressively accurate internal clock allows us to detect the passage of time, a skill essential for many critical daily functions. Without the ability to track elapsed time, our morning shower could continue indefinitely. Without that nagging feeling to remind us we’ve been driving too long, we might easily miss our exit. But how does the brain generate this finely tuned mental clock? Neuroscientists believe that we have distinct neural systems for processing different types of time, for example, to maintain a circadian rhythm, to control the timing of fine body movem nts, and for conscious awareness of time passage. Until recently, most neuroscientists believed that this latter type of temporal processing – the kind that alerts you when you’ve lingered over breakfast for too long – is supported by a single brain system. However, emerging research indicates that the model of a single neural clock might be too simplistic. A new study, recently published in the Journal of Neuroscience by neuroscientists at the University of California, Irvine, reveals that the brain may in fact have a second method for sensing elapsed time. What’s more, the authors propose that this second internal clock not only works in parallel with our primary neural clock, but may even compete with it.