news 2021



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Health - Pharmacology - 14.05.2021
New immunotherapy 'highly effective' against hepatitis B virus
New immunotherapy ’highly effective’ against hepatitis B virus
Scientists at UCL have identified a new immunotherapy to combat the hepatitis B virus (HBV), the most common cause of liver cancer in the world. Each year, globally, chronic HBV causes an estimated 880,000 deaths from liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma/liver cancer (HCC). The pioneering study used immune cells isolated directly from patient liver and tumour tissue ,  to show that targeting acyl-CoA:cholesterol acyltransferase (ACAT), an enzyme that helps to manage cholesterol levels in cells*, was highly effective at boosting immune responses.

Health - Pharmacology - 14.05.2021
New imaging technique could lead to better bio-implants for patients
University of Birmingham scientists have developed a new microscopic imaging approach to take a closer look at 3D-printing for developing future patient implants, as well as improved disease modelling and drug screening. Additive manufacturing (3D printing) platforms create bioprinted structures by moving a special bioink, containing cells, biomolecules and materials, through a narrow tube, but the process can result in cells becoming damaged as they pass through the tiny tube.

Health - Pharmacology - 13.05.2021
Screening for ovarian cancer did not reduce deaths
A large-scale randomised trial of annual screening for ovarian cancer, led by UCL researchers, did not succeed in reducing deaths from the disease, despite one of the screening methods tested detecting cancers earlier. Results from the UK Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening (UKCTOCS) have been published in a report in the medical journal The Lancet .

Pharmacology - 13.05.2021
Childhood abdominal pain may be linked to disordered eating in teenagers | University of Oxford
New research shows that people who suffer from recurrent abdominal pain in childhood may be more likely to have disordered eating as teenagers. This is the first study to provide prospective evidence of an association between recurrent abdominal pain at aged 7-9 years and fasting to control weight at aged 16 years.

Health - Pharmacology - 10.05.2021
TB immune response discovery could significantly reduce disease harm
TB immune response discovery could significantly reduce disease harm
A pioneering study by UCL scientists has discovered the presence of a harmful inflammatory protein in patients with symptomatic tuberculosis (TB). Researchers say, by targeting the IL-17 cytokine, a component produced naturally by the immune system in response to infection, excessive and damaging lung inflammation caused by TB may be significantly reduced to help speed up patient recovery.

Life Sciences - Pharmacology - 04.05.2021
Aggressive brain tumours can mimic normal brain repair processes
Aggressive brain tumours can mimic normal brain repair processes
Scientists at the UCL have made a 'surprising' discovery that glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer, mimics normal brain repair in white matter, which leads to the tumour becoming less malignant. In the study on mice to harness this response (feature) and treat the cancer. Using the pre-clinical mouse models, the researchers found that Pranlukast, a drug clinically approved for treating asthma in people, suppressed glioblastoma growth.

Health - Pharmacology - 30.04.2021
Single Covid-19 vaccine dose may boost protection against variants in those previously infected
A single dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine may boost protection against Covid-19 variants for those who have previously had the virus, according to a new study co-authored by UCL researchers. The study, published in the Science journal, is led by researchers at UCL along with Barts Health NHS Trust, Imperial College London, Queen Mary University London and in collaboration with Public Health England and Royal Free Hospital NHS Trust.

Health - Pharmacology - 29.04.2021
Ability of multi-drug resistant infection to evolve within cystic fibrosis patients highlights need for rapid treatment
Ability of multi-drug resistant infection to evolve within cystic fibrosis patients highlights need for rapid treatment
Scientists have been able to track how a multi-drug resistant organism is able to evolve and spread widely among cystic fibrosis patients - showing that it can evolve rapidly within an individual during chronic infection. The researchers say their findings highlight the need to treat patients with Mycobacterium abscessus infection immediately, counter to current medical practice.

Life Sciences - Pharmacology - 27.04.2021
New MRI techniques could pave way to predict disability in multiple sclerosis
Advanced MRI techniques can detect very early changes in the brains of people with multiple sclerosis (MS), which may lead to more accurate predictions about disease progression, finds a study led by UCL researchers. The authors of the paper, published in Brain , say these previously unseen changes could have the potential to predict how disabled a person might become in the future.

Health - Pharmacology - 26.04.2021
Scientists develop new class of cancer drug with potential to treat leukaemia
Scientists develop new class of cancer drug with potential to treat leukaemia
Scientists have made a promising step towards developing a new drug for treating acute myeloid leukaemia, a rare blood disorder. In a study , Cambridge researchers report a new approach to cancer treatment that targets enzymes which play a key role in translating DNA into proteins and which could lead to a new class of cancer drugs.

Health - Pharmacology - 23.04.2021
Research uncovers high risk to pregnant women from COVID-19
A study of more than 2,100 pregnant women across 18 countries worldwide has revealed that COVID-19 is associated with a higher risk of severe maternal and newborn complications than previously recognised. The researchers, from the Nuffield Dept of Women's & Reproductive Health at the University of Oxford, report the findings of the INTERCOVID Study in the journal JAMA Pediatrics , providing, for the first time, detailed comparative information about the effects of COVID-19 in pregnancy.

Health - Pharmacology - 23.04.2021
Significant reductions in COVID-19 infections found after single dose of Oxford-AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine
COVID-19 infections fell significantly - by 65% percent - after a first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines in this large community surveillance study. Data from the COVID-19 Infection Survey, a partnership between the University of Oxford, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) and the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), is the first to show the impact of vaccination on antibody responses and new infections in a large group of adults from the general population aged 16 years and older.

Health - Pharmacology - 22.04.2021
New stroke rehabilitation system proven to work in impaired stroke patients
A stroke rehabilitation system, developed by MicroTransponder Inc and studied by a team at the University of Glasgow, has been shown to significantly improve arm impairment and function in people with long-term arm weakness after ischaemic stroke. Long-term loss of arm function after ischaemic stroke is common, and the results of the study - published today in The Lancet - showed two to three times greater improvement with Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) when it was combined with intense physical therapy, compared to intense physical therapy alone.

Health - Pharmacology - 22.04.2021
Study outlines mechanism behind rare blood clots linked to COVID-19 vaccine
New research carried out in collaboration with the University of Birmingham has characterised a rare COVID-19 vaccine-induced syndrome which causes blood clots. The research has identified fundamental laboratory and clinical characteristics, ensuring that patients are given the correct treatment approach.

Pharmacology - Health - 22.04.2021
Artificial Intelligence could create better outcomes for bowel cancer patients
Artificial Intelligence could create better outcomes for bowel cancer patients
A test which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to measure proteins present in some patients with advanced bowel cancer could hold the key to more targeted treatment, according to new research. A team at the University of Leeds collaborated with researchers at Roche Diagnostics to develop the technique, which will help doctors and patients to decide on the best treatment options.

Health - Pharmacology - 20.04.2021
Covid-19: Clinicians uncover rare blood clotting syndrome
A team led by a UCL clinical academic has outlined the mechanism behind rare cases of blood clots and low platelets seen in patients who have had the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. The new study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine , highlights the importance of rapidly spotting this new syndrome, known as vaccine-induced thrombosis and thrombocytopenia (VITT), as it requires a very different treatment from what is typically recommended for thrombosis.

Pharmacology - Health - 20.04.2021
Genetic changes in tumours could predict patients' immunotherapy response
Genetic changes in tumours could predict patients’ immunotherapy response
Scientists at UCL, the Francis Crick Institute, and the Cancer Research UK Lung Cancer Centre of Excellence, have identified genetic changes in tumours which could be used to predict if immunotherapy drugs would be effective in individual patients. Immunotherapies have led to huge progress treating certain types of cancer, but only a subset of patients respond, and hence a challenge for doctors and researchers is understanding why they work in some people and not others, and predicting who will respond well to treatment.

Health - Pharmacology - 19.04.2021
Accumulation of infected red blood cells key to development of cerebral malaria
White adipose tissue (WAT), or white fat, plays a fundamental role in the development of cerebral malaria in mouse models and humans, according to a new study led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health scientists in collaboration with the University of Glasgow and an international team of researchers.

Health - Pharmacology - 14.04.2021
UofG to investigate the effects of COVID-19 on blood vessels and blood pressure
A project at the University of Glasgow that is aiming to better understand the effects that COVID-19 infection has on blood vessels and blood pressure has received a grant of £250,000 from national charity Heart Research UK. Research has shown that people who are older, obese, male or those who have other medical problems including high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, or chronic lung conditions, have a higher risk of developing severe COVID-19.

Health - Pharmacology - 13.04.2021
UK variant, B.1.1.7, does not increase disease severity in hospitalised patients
UK variant, B.1.1.7, does not increase disease severity in hospitalised patients
The B.1.1.7 variant of Covid-19 - otherwise known as the UK or Kent variant - is not associated with more severe illness and death in hospitalised patients, but appears to lead to higher virus load, suggests a new study led by UCL researchers. As part of the observational study, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, researchers assessed 341 Covid-19 patients admitted to University College London Hospital and North Middlesex University Hospital (NMUH), between 9 November and 20 December 2020.
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