Latest research news

October 4, 2006

Gene research for cancer treatments wins Nobel prize
Two Americans won the Nobel Prize for Medicine yesterday for finding a way to turn off genes that will spur new treatments for the biggest killers, such as cancer, obesity and heart disease. The Karolinska Institute in Stockholm honoured Andrew Fire and Craig Mello with the £750,000 prize for their discovery of RNA interference, or RNAi, which it hailed as "a fundamental mechanism for controlling the flow of genetic information". Mr Fire, 47, of Stanford University, and Mr Mello, 45, of the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, published their seminal work in the journal Nature in 1998.
The Daily Telegraph, The Financial Times, The Guardian, The Independent

Heart attacks fall after ban on smoking in public
The number of people aged under 60 admitted to hospital with an acute heart attack fell by 11 per cent in the five months after a smoking ban was introduced in Italy. Most of the fall was among passive smokers as fewer than one per cent of the patients admitted were regular smokers.Italy banned smoking in enclosed public places in January last year. The study, in the European Heart Journal, was conducted by the University of Turin. Researchers analysed heart attack data in the region of Piedmont, which has a population of 4.3 million.
The Daily Telegraph

Women become sexually aroused as quickly as men
Women may have a reputation of demanding lengthy foreplay, but they become sexually aroused as quickly as men, according to a new study that used thermal imaging to measure increased blood flow to genital regions. While watching pornography, both sexes reach peak arousal within 10 minutes, on average, researchers report. Earlier attempts to record sexual arousal have involved invasive probes and electrodes, according to Tuuli Kukkonen, who helped conduct the study led by Irv Binik at McGill University Health Centre in Montreal, Canada.
New Scientist

New 'smart' pill halves cancer treatment time
Thousands of bowel cancer sufferers could halve the time spent having treatment in hospital with a new 'smart' pill, say researchers. They claim the convenience of the new regime will dramatically improve the quality of life for around 13,000 patients each year, who have advanced disease. A new trial shows the benefits for patients taking the oral tablet Xeloda in combination with another chemotherapy agent called oxaliplatin. The regime works as well as the conventional combination of oxaliplatin and infused 5-FU treatment, according to results released at the European Society for Medical Oncology meeting in Istanbul.
The Daily Mail

New blood test may detect lung cancer early
A blood test to identify lung cancer in its early stages could potentially save millions of lives if initial results can be confirmed, researchers say. French scientists yesterday announced preliminary results from a new lung cancer test at the annual congress of the European Society for Medical Oncology, a meeting of some 10,500 doctors, scientists, pharmaceutical representatives and non-governmental organisations. The test distinguishes lung cancer from other lung diseases, such as emphysema.
The Daily Mail

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