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Scientists Developing Glowing Dye To Identify Cancer Cells In New Study

In a new study from the University of Oxford and California biotech company ImaginAb Inc, experts have found that fluorescent dye can be used to identify and spotlight cancerous tissues and cells otherwise invisible to the naked eye. This technique could reduce the risk of cancer returning.

moderna

Moderna And Merck Say New Experimental Vaccine Is Improving Survival Rates In Patients With Severe Skin Cancer 

Biopharmaceutical company Merck and mRNA vaccine developer Moderna are currently creating a new vaccine to help improve the quality of life and survival rates in individuals dealing with the most deadly form of skin cancer. The vaccine is showing positive results when combined with the therapy treatment known as Keytruda. 

Moderna and Merck will be presenting the current data they’ve collected over the past three years at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in Chicago. The newer data showed that around 75% of patients with deadly skin care who took the combination regimen were alive without any signs or symptoms of their cancer returning at the 2.5 year mark. 

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55.6% of patients had the same results when they just received the Keytruda therapy alone. 

“That benefit was observed across different subgroups of patients, regardless of whether they had tumors with a large number of mutations or whether they had enough of a protein — called PD-L1 — that helps keep the body’s immune responses in check,” wrote Annika Constantino for CNBC

“The data reflects the potential for the shot to help treat a broad range of melanoma patients,” Dr. Kyle Holen, Moderna’s head of development, therapeutics and oncology, said.

Patients who took the vaccine with Keytruda showed an overall survival rate that hit 96% after 2.5 years, those who just took Keytruda had a rate of 90.2%. 

“Patients with severe forms of the cancer, known as melanoma, who received the combination were 49% less likely to die or have their cancer return than those who took Keytruda alone after roughly three years. The combination also slashed the risk of melanoma spreading to other parts of the body, or death, by 62%,” Constantino wrote

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Fatigue, injection site pain, and chills were the most common side effects associated with the vaccine, and the majority of those side effects were mild, according to the data

The vaccine uses the same mRNA technology that Moderna utilized for their Covid-19 vaccine. The vaccine is custom-built utilizing the patient’s tumors after surgical removal. The shot is like many other vaccines in that it works to train the immune system to identify and attack specific mutations within cancer cells. 

“Moderna is excited about working to reduce the time between the initial analysis of a tumor and when a patient gets injected with the shot,” CEO Stephane Bancel said in an interview with CNBC.   

“Moderna also plans to file for accelerated approval with the FDA. The process allows for expedited approvals of drugs for serious conditions that fill an unmet medical need,” Bancel said. 

“Melanoma is responsible for the large majority of skin cancer deaths, and the rate of melanoma has increased rapidly over the past few decades” according to the American Cancer Society.

The organization states “about 100,000 people will be diagnosed with melanoma in the U.S. this year and nearly 8,000 people are expected to die from the disease.”

kids

Children Who Are Considered Obese Are Twice As Likely To Develop Multiple Sclerosis, According To New Study

Children who are considered obese could face more than double the risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS) as adults, according to a new study from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. 

MS can impact the brain and spinal cord. It causes a range of potential symptoms such as problems with arm or leg movement, sensation, balance, or vision. MS can also lead to serious disability throughout one’s life. 

The Karolinska Institute will be presenting the findings of their study at the European Congress on Obesity in May in Venice. 

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Previous research has speculated that there is a link between high body mass index (BMI) in adolescence and a larger risk of MS in adulthood, however, most of the studies that suggested this were using self-reported data, so it was difficult to arrive at an accurate conclusion. 

With this particular study, the researchers wanted to evaluate the risk of developing MS by utilizing a large population of obese children to compare with the general population.

According to reports from the Guardian, researchers analyzed data from the Swedish Childhood Obesity Treatment Register, which utilizes a database known as Boris. This institute is one of the world’s largest registries for treatment of childhood obesity.

The study looked at data from more than 21,600 children with obesity aged two to 19 who joined the registry between 1995 and 2020. The children, on average, started their treatment for obesity when they were around 11-years-old. They also compared that data to more than 100,000 children without obesity to get the greatest comparison possible. 

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The children monitored in the study were tracked for about six years, and during the follow-up period, 28 of those with obesity were diagnosed with MS (0.13% of the group) and 58 in the group without obesity (0.06% of the group). 

Within both groups, the average age of the MS diagnosis was 23-years-old. 

“Despite the limited follow-up time, our findings highlight that obesity in childhood increases the susceptibility of early-onset MS more than twofold,” the authors stated. 

“One of the effects of obesity in childhood is that it causes a low-grade but chronic inflammation, and most probably this inflammation increases the risk to develop several diseases such as MS,” study authors, Emilia Hagman, an associate professor, and Prof Claude Marcus, said.

“It is also believed that chronic low-grade inflammation increases the risk for other such diseases as asthma, arthritis, type 1 diabetes, and some forms of cancers. However, we know that weight loss reduces the inflammation and most likely the risk to develop such diseases.”

park

Children Who Live Near Green Spaces ‘Have Stronger Bones,’ According To New Study 

Children who live close to “green spaces,” such as local parks, playgrounds, sports fields, etc., have significantly stronger bones which could lead to lifelong health benefits as their bodies grow, according to a new study. 

work

The Incentives Employees Are Looking For To Return To The Office 

“Once workers discovered that remote work could be less expensive and… make their life a little easier, they just wanted to keep doing it, even once the pandemic began fading away.”

snacks

14% Of Adults Worldwide Are Addicted To Ultra-Processed Food, Researchers Say

Experts have stated that one in seven adults and one in eight children are impacted by addiction to ultra-processed foods (known as UPFs). The new research has led to individuals wanting certain products to be labeled as addictive.

nyc

NYC Is One Of The Best Cities In The World, According To New Report

Every year, the Resonance Consultancy ranks the best cities in the world by analyzing over 270 cities and publishing a comprehensive list for the public to learn about some of the most famous cities in the world. 

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The full report utilizes user-generated reviews, social media, online activity/popularity, and other statistics to create their rankings. 

According to Time Out Magazine and the report itself,  other “analyzed metrics include a wide range of factors that have historically shown positive correlations with attracting employment, investment and/or visitors to cities.”

The ninth annual report listed London as the best city in the world, followed by Paris and then New York. Tokyo and Singapore marked the fourth and fifth spots on the list. The US is also the only country with two cities in the top 10, with San Francisco being listed as number 7.

Written as “the greatest city in America” in an accompanying essay to the report, the study mentions “New York’s dizzying roster of new shows, hotels and parks” as part and parcel of its perennial appeal, despite the record real estate prices that have defined life in the city in recent years.”

According to Time Out Magazine, “In a nod to 2023 and 2024 in specific, the survey also mentions two key events that render New York the ideal destination at this precise moment in time: the celebrations surrounding the 50th anniversary of the birth of hip hop music, which was founded in the Bronx on August 11, 1973, and the 100-year anniversary of the Museum of the City of New York.”

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The top 10 best cities in the world for 2024 are as follows: 

  1. London, UK
  2. Paris, France
  3. New York City, US
  4. Tokyo, Japan
  5. Sinagpore
  6. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  7. San Francisco, US
  8. Barcelona, Spain
  9. Amsterdam, Netherlands
  10. Seoul, South Korea
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Study States 8 Lifestyle Habits Can Add Up Over Two Decades To Your Life 

According to a new unpublished study that analyzed data from US veterans, adding eight healthy lifestyle habits to your life between the ages of 40 and 60 could extend your life by up to 24 years, depending on what age you begin implementing the habits. 

Even on the older end, the study states that if you start implementing the habits at age 60, you could still potentially gain 18 years to your life. 

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“There’s a 20-year period in which you can make these changes, whether you do it gradually or all at once. We also did an analysis to see if we eliminated people with type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, stroke, cancer and the like, does it change the outcome? And it really didn’t, so, if you start off with chronic diseases, making changes does still help,” said lead study author Xuan-Mai Nguyen, a health science specialist for the Million Veteran Program at the VA Boston Healthcare System. 

The habits are relatively well-known: eat a healthy diet, exercise, maintain low stress levels, keep positive social relationships, get a full night’s sleep, don’t smoke, don’t drink in excess, and avoid hard drugs/opioids. While these habits may seem rather obvious, it’s important to understand just how much of a difference they can make in your life, and it’s encouraging to know that it’s never too late in life to make the changes. 

“The earlier the better, but even if you only make a small change in your 40s, 50s or 60s, it still is beneficial. This is not out of reach — this is actually something attainable for the general population,” Nguyen said

The study was presented on Monday at the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition, Nutrition 2023, and it showed how the study looked at the lifestyle behaviors of around 720,000 military veterans between the ages of 40 and 99. 

“Adding just one healthy behavior to a man’s life at age 40 provided an additional 4.5 years of life. Adding a second led to seven more years, while adopting three habits prolonged life for men by 8.6 years. As the number of additional lifestyle changes climbed, so did the benefits for men, adding up to nearly a quarter century of extra life,” Nguyen said, according to CNN

Nguyen went on to explain how women saw major changes in life span as well. “Adopting just one healthy behavior added 3.5 years to a woman’s life, while two added eight years, three 12.6 years and embracing all the healthy habits extended a woman’s life by 22.6 years.”

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“Doing all eight had a synergistic effect, sort of an added boost to extend your life, but any small change made a difference,” Nguyen said.

“An important strength of this analysis was that the population was highly diverse by race, ethnicity, and SES (socioeconomic status),” said senior study author and leading nutrition researcher Dr. Walter Willett.

The study also ranked all eight habits in order from which could give the largest increase in longevity, the following percentages were all taken from the study itself: 

  1. Exercise: “We looked at whether they did light, moderate or vigorous activity compared to not doing anything and just sitting on the couch. People who lived longer did 7.5 metabolic equivalent hours of exercise a week. Just to give you a baseline — if you can walk up a flight of stairs without losing your breath, that’s four minutes of the 7.5,” Nguyen said.
  2. Staying away from/not becoming addicted to opioids can reduce the risk of an earlier death by 38%.
  3. Never using tobacco can reduce the risk of death by 29%.
  4. Managing stress and reducing your daily stress levels can reduce early death by 22%.
  5. Eating a plant based diet could increase your chances of living a longer life by 21%.
  6. Avoiding excessive drinking and binge drinking, having more than four alcoholic drinks per day, could reduce your risk of death by 19%.
  7. Getting enough sleep every night, at least seven to nine hours a night with no insomnia, can reduce early death from other causes by 18%.

Having and maintaining positive social relationships can help life longevity by 5%. “Five percent may seem small, but that’s still a decrease in terms of all-cause mortality. Every little bit helps, whether you pick physical activity or make sure you’re surrounded by positive social support,” Nguyen said.

New Study Offers Explanation As To Why Some Covid Patients Never Felt Symptoms 

In a new study published in Nature this month, scientists have estimated that over 20% of people who were infected with Covid-19 never had any symptoms, and now believe that their genetics are the reasoning behind why they never felt sick. 

Some people have a version of a gene in their immune system known as HLA-B which protects them from feeling the effects of the virus. The study found that people with a special variant of the gene are 2 to 8.5 times more likely to be asymptomatic than those without the variant. 

Scientists have concluded that this protein remembers infections from other seasonal coronaviruses, such as many common colds, and thus remembers how to go after the Covid-19 virus. 

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Jill Hollenbach is an immunologist at the University of California, San Francisco who led the research in the new study. Hollenbach herself had Covid-19, but it wasn’t an asymptomatic experience. 

“I had Covid-19. I was sick for about a week. I didn’t love it,” Hollenbach explained, describing a more average experience with moderate symptoms before making a full recovery. Now, her research is very focused on the more extreme cases, as well as cases with no symptoms. 

“One extreme is very severe disease [leading to hospitalization or death]. And the other end of that spectrum is you didn’t have any symptoms. We really haven’t understood what’s driving that,” she stated.

Hollenbach’s Covid-19 Citizen Science Study received contributions from the Be The Match program, which accepts donations of bone marrow from volunteers. 

“We simply asked people who were registered donors to track their COVID experience through a smartphone app and consented to let us look at their genetic data and link it to their answers,” Hollenbach said.

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When it comes to the HLA variants, Hollenbach found that one specific one, known as HLA-B*15:01, was associated with asymptomatic Covid. 

“To be fair, not everybody that has [HLA-B*15:01] will be asymptomatic. But it was a really clear, robust and replicable association. The thinking is that your exposure to some seasonal cold viruses, that in some cases share a lot of similarities with parts of SARS-CoV-2, gave you some existing immunity,” Hollenbach says.

Dr. Eric Topol, a physician-scientist at the Scripps Research Institute, discussed how this recent study could be the first step in further medical research: “It’s a breakthrough, I think it may wind up giving us a whole new map for what to do in terms of drugs and vaccines, which is really notable.”

One in every five people in the study were reported to be asymptomatic when they contracted Covid-19, and had the HLA-B*15:01 variant, there may even be other variants that offer the same potential protection. 

“I think that it gives us an opportunity to think about potentially developing vaccines and therapeutics that are aimed not at preventing infection but preventing symptoms,” Hollenbach says.

“If you can find a path so that people don’t get sick from COVID. That’s extraordinary,” Topol says.

dementia

Scientists Discover New Way To Potentially Slow Down The Progression Of Dementia 

Scientists at the University of Helsinki have successfully demonstrated a new way to potentially slow down the progression of dementia, and other memory disorders. 

Within their demonstration, according to SciTechDaily, scientists showed that a compound called a “PREP inhibitor” can prevent the build up of one of the harmful proteins that’s responsible for contributing to memory disorders. 

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The protein build up itself is seen in patients suffering with Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, and other types of dementia. 

According to the University of Helsinki and their publishing in SciTechDaily, the process within these diseases “involves the formation of b-amyloid plaques and Tau protein aggregates within brain cells, which are known as neurofibrillary tangles. The prevailing theory suggests that the creation of Tau aggregates ultimately leads to the death of neurons.”

The amount of Tau present parallels the severity of symptoms within these diseases. 

In a published paper, Professor Timo Myöhänen’s group from the Universities of Helsinki showed that “a PREP inhibitor reduces Tau accumulation and toxicity also in the cellular models, including patient-derived neurons from frontotemporal dementia patients.”

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The PREP inhibitor treatment was also tested within a mouse model for frontotemporal dementia. In the clinical trial, a one-month treatment with the PREP inhibitor was started by the time scientists found memory impairment within the subjects. 

After their PREP inhibitor treatment, the mice who received a control treatment showed poor performance in memory tests, while the mice treated with the PREP inhibitor had normal cognitive skills. 

“Our most important discovery was that the PREP inhibitor treatment had reduced Tau accumulation in the brain areas related to cognition and memory, also leading to reduced oxidative stress markers that are common in neurodegenerative diseases,” says Professor Timo Myöhänen.

“The results from the memory tests after PREP inhibitor treatment were surprisingly good, as treatments in similar studies are usually initiated before the symptoms, not after symptom onset. This supports the further development of PREP-targeting drugs, and we are currently looking for investors or collaborators for this”, Professor Myöhänen says.