Immunotherapy, the new cancer buzzword

When a the University of Leeds asked those enrolled in “Exploring Cancer medicines” to write a short blog post on the future of Cancer medicines, over half of the participants chose immunotherapy.

In a healthy body, the immune system fights disease by attacking germs like viruses and bacteria.  However, as cancer uses the body’s own cells, and as many cancers are basically mutations of the body’s own cells, the immune system can’t always tell the difference between a normal cell and a cancer cell.

Immunotherapy is about help the body’s immune system recognise those cancer cells, so that the body will fight them in the way it fights other diseases.

Here are some of the titles chosen by the students:

  • The future of Lung Cancer
  • immunotherapy
  • Immunotherapy, maybe our own body can kick cancer’s butt
  • Immunotherapy as cancer treatment: the basics
  • It’s all down to you, Immunotherapy
  • Our own bodies can cure cancer
  • The future of cancer
  • Our bodies must fight back
  • The ongoing  battle
  • Immunology


beauty contestant prescribes toga

Radha Patel, a pharmacist by trade, will be representing Gwynedd in the Miss Great Britain pageant.

“What’s great about the Miss Great Britain pageant is that it’s also about your personality,” Patel told the Daily Post. “It’s about girl power and giving women confidence.”

“…It’s also about your personality.” Radha Patel

Patel performed in a band called “Office Girls UK” before earning her Masters degree.  She also gives yoga classes online, through a business she calls “TOGA.”  Toga focuses on the strength-building aspects of yoga, but apparently has nothing to do with ancient costumes.

Patel is currently working at a pharmacy in Yorkshire.

Repel mosquitoes by burning oranges

South Korea’s “Chosun Ilbo” reports that you can create a cheap mosquito repellent by drying orange or lemon peel and burning it.

Years ago the same paper reported that leaving orange peel out to dry can help absorb foul odors. We’re guessing that the peels of other citrus fruits should work too.

It appears that the ancient Romans were also fans of citrus fruits (like lemons, oranges and citrons), but instead of eating citrus, used them as medicine and ornaments.

We now know that citrus fruits are great sources of vitamin C, an essential nutrient that prevents scurvy.  It’s good to know that the peels of citrus fruits, which we normally don’t eat, have other uses too.

If you are allergic to citrus, you can drive away mosquitoes by leaving a fan on at a high speed.  And for added security, you can sleep in a mosquito net.

In case these fail, you can relieve the pain of a mosquito bite by dipping a spoon in boiling water, and then pressing the hot spoon against the bite for one second.  (Please, use common sense: don’t burn yourself or others.)

Spaniards have longer life expectancy than Portuguese

According to the CIA world fact-book, Spaniards can expect to live 79.92 years on average.  That’s nearly 80. (For Spanish men it’s 76.6 years, and 83.45 years for Spanish women).  That’s the highest in life expectancy in Europe and second highest in the world.

Their western neighbours in Portugal, however, only have a life expectancy of 78 years and two weeks. (Portuguese males are expected to live for 74 years, 9 months, and 11 days.  Portuguese females can expect to live for 81 years, six months and 11 days.)

Yes, Spaniards live almost two years longer than Portuguese.  Where did those two years go?  Portugal has a similar climate, and Spaniards smoke more.

What’s the secret of Spanish longevity?  We’ve investigated and were surprised by what we found.

If there’s enough interest, we’ll publish a special report, either here or elsewhere.  Don’t worry, if our report is published elsewhere, we’ll let you know about it right here on

New hope in fight against a deadly brain cancer

Former Presidential candidate John McCain was recently diagnosed with a glioblastoma.

Glioblastoma is a brain cancer with a very low survival rate.  According to the American brain tumor association, of ten people who have glioblastomas, only one is likely to survive five years.

Through manipulation of enzymes, Glioblastoma cancer cells stop the immune system from responding. But this manipulation helps them stand out from normal cells, and may provide the key to targeting cancer cells.

Researchers from Alabama and China teamed up to research this phenomena after the failure of a previous study.  This time, tests on mice and cultures suggest that a drug called CMP3a could target cancer cells without affecting normal brain cells.  They hope to perform clinical trials in “a year or two.”

While Glioblastoma is relatively rare, the same technique could be used to fight more common cancers that carry similar enzymes.