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Calgary researchers zero in on gut bacteria as potent cancer fighter

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Employing intestinal bacteria could boost the effectiveness of some cancer treatment four-fold, say researchers at the University of Calgary.


FILE – Dr. Kathy McCoy, director of the Western Canadian Microbiome Centre, explains the purpose of the facility on a tour prior to it opening in Calgary in this 2017 file photo.


Jeff McIntosh / CP

Employing intestinal bacteria could boost the effectiveness of some cancer treatment four-fold, say researchers at the University of Calgary.

A lead scientist in an ongoing study said Thursday her team has made huge strides in understanding how such microbiomes supercharge the potency of immunotherapy in targeting cancer cells.

“We think the impact is huge,” said Dr. Kathy McCoy of the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases at the U of C’s Cumming School of Medicine.

“With cancers (normally) susceptible to immunotherapy 20 per cent of the time, and it responds at 80 per cent, that’s a major increase in efficacy.”

A series of published studies on the approach dating back to 2015 hinted strongly at the potential of combining some forms of gut bacteria with immunotherapy in treating diseases like melanoma and colorectal cancer.

But scientists weren’t able to pinpoint how it worked, said McCoy, who set about using germ-free mice as research subjects.

“We’d have to identify a mechanism…we identified three bacteria that were in an animal model of colorectal cancer and we wondered if we could tease apart the differences in the microbiomes,” she said.

Her team noted immunotherapy by itself was conspicuously ineffective.

But the bacteria that worked, she said, activated a T-cell which ultimately takes on cancerous tumours, shrinking them significantly.

“The three specific bacteria by themselves turn on a first switch on the T-cells within the intestine,” said McCoy.

That bacteria generates a tiny molecule called inosine that interacts with the T-cells to boost the immunotherapy that in turn eradicates cancer cells.

Another bacteria, akkermansia, has also been found to be an effective tumour fighter, said the scientist, and like the other three bacteria, is one present in humans who have been the subject of some study.

“We actually found there was an increase in bacterium in the patients responding, but the studies were too small,” said McCoy.

The U of C studies using humans remain preliminary for now with researchers seeking grants to further and broaden that work, to focus on lung cancer and melanoma over several years, she said.

“We’re going to see if we can find this metabolite in the serum, or blood, and in feces and see if they’re working with the same mechanism,” said McCoy.

And there’s a strong likelihood that approach could be applied to a much wider variety of cancers, she added.

That latest work is set to be published in the magazine Science, which has highlighted earlier discoveries using gut bacteria to enhance the immune system.

Efforts that have pushed the envelope on the treatment, said McCoy, are “a purely Calgary” achievement and one that should help undermine public skepticism over the effectiveness of cancer research funding that’s often led to conspiracy theories.

“I don’t know what people expect – research has made amazing strides in developing cancer therapies,” she said.

Source: – Canada.com

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Scientist Shows There Are Two Ways to Measure a Day on Earth – The Union Journal

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How long does it take Earth to complete a 360-degree rotation? Not quite 24 hours, it turns out – it’s precisely 23 hours and 56 minutes.

But because Earth is constantly moving along its orbit around the Sun, a different point on the planet faces the Sun directly at the end of that 360-degree spin.

For the Sun to reach the exact same position in the sky, Earth has to rotate 1 degree further.

That’s how humans have chosen to measure days: not by the Earth’s exact rotation, but the position of the Sun in the sky.

Technically, these are two different types of day. A day measured by the completion of a 360-degree rotation is called the sidereal day.

A day based on the position of the Sun, however, is a solar day. The latter is four minutes longer than the former, making the even 24 hours we’re used to.

“It’s only because we move around the Sun in an orbit that the solar day takes 24 hours,” James O’Donoghue, a planetary scientist at the Japanese space agency (JAXA), told Business Insider.

“If we didn’t orbit the Sun, both days would be the same.”

He made the below animation to show how this works. 

[embedded content]

Because we go by solar days in our calendars, we count 365 days in a year. But Earth actually completes a full rotation (a sidereal day) 366 times per year. 

O’Donoghue describes the difference between these two types of day as a matter of choosing which background object we use as a basis of comparison for Earth’s rotation. A full rotation relative to the position of the Sun is a solar day. A full rotation relative to all the other stars we see is a sidereal day. 

If we used the sidereal day instead, “the Sun would rise about four minutes earlier every day,” O’Donoghue said. “After six months of doing this, the Sun would be rising 12 hours earlier.” 

He added: “We’ve decided to tie our daily rhythm to the Sun, not the stars. In fact, the stars rise about four minutes earlier every day because of our choice.”

This article was originally published by Business Insider.

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Scientist Shows There Are Two Ways to Measure a Day on Earth – Armenian Reporter

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How long does it take Earth to total a 360-degree rotation? Not rather 24 hr, it ends up – it’s specifically 23 hours and 56 minutes.

But due to the fact that Earth is continuously moving along its orbit around the Sun, a various point on the world deals with the Sun straight at the end of that 360-degree spin.

For the Sun to reach the specific very same position in the sky, Earth has to turn 1 degree even more.

That’s how human beings have actually selected to measure days: not by the Earth’s specific rotation, however the position of the Sun in the sky.

Technically, these are two various kinds of day. A day determined by the conclusion of a 360-degree rotation is called the sidereal day.

A day based on the position of the Sun, nevertheless, is a solar day. The latter is 4 minutes longer than the previous, making the even 24 hr we’re utilized to.

“It’s only because we move around the Sun in an orbit that the solar day takes 24 hours,” James O’Donoghue, a planetary scientist at the Japanese area company (JAXA), informed Business Insider.

“If we didn’t orbit the Sun, both days would be the same.”

He made the below animation to demonstrate how this works.

[embedded content]

[embedded content]

Because we pass solar days in our calendars, we count 365 days in a year. But Earth in fact finishes a complete rotation (a sidereal day) 366 times each year.

O’Donoghue explains the distinction in between these two kinds of day as a matter of picking which background item we utilize as a basis of contrast for Earth’s rotation. A complete rotation relative to the position of the Sun is a solar day. A complete rotation relative to all the other stars we see is a sidereal day.

If we utilized the sidereal day rather, “the Sun would rise about four minutes earlier every day,” O’Donoghue stated. “After six months of doing this, the Sun would be rising 12 hours earlier.”

He included: “We’ve decided to tie our daily rhythm to the Sun, not the stars. In fact, the stars rise about four minutes earlier every day because of our choice.”

This short article was initially released by Business Insider.

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Science Saturday 0919 – CGTN

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In this week’s Science Saturday, we look at science news ranging from possible signs of life on Venus to wildlife protection.

Scientists detect gas in Venus clouds linked to life on Earth

First, evidence of potential for life on the planet next door! A smelly, flammable gas called “phosphine” has been found on Venus. Here on Earth, phosphine is produced predominantly by anaerobic biological sources. So with this discovery, there’s a chance that there are some living organisms in the clouds of Venus. But scientists say further observations and modeling are needed to explore the origin of the gas in the planet’s atmosphere. The findings are published in the peer-reviewed journal – Nature Astronomy.

Washington bans TikTok downloads from U.S. app stores

Washington has announced a decision to ban TikTok downloads from app stores in the United States. Donald Trump, the U.S. president, is questioning plans by Chinese tech firm, ByteDance, to keep a majority stake in TikTok’s U.S. operations as part of a partnership deal with Oracle. Trump says any agreement to continue operating in U.S. must be “100% as far as national security is concerned.” He has called the popular video-sharing app a security threat, and says he will ban it unless it’s sold by ByteDance.

WWF report: Wildlife populations down by an average of 68 percent over past four decades

The world’s wildlife population is under threat! A new report by the World Wildlife Fund says human activity has wiped out two-thirds of the world’s wildlife since 1970. Latin America and the Caribbean are the world’s worst-affected areas, which have seen an average drop of 94 percent. The report says humans’ over-exploitation of wildlife, grassland conversion and climate change are among the major drivers of this devastating decline. Researchers are calling for changes in production and consumption patterns of food and energy, increased conservation efforts and a global collective effort.

Winners of Breakthrough Prizes announced for 2021

The winners of the 2021 Oscars of Science, also known as Breakthrough Prizes, have been revealed. Eight scientists have been recognized for their achievements in Mathematics, Fundamental Physics and Life Sciences. One of the recipients is David Baker, whose team designed a molecule that potentially inhabits the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The team also successfully synthesized the proteins, which demonstrated a neutralizing antibody, shedding light on a potential new treatment to the disease. The prizes total 21 million U.S. dollars. Due to the global coronavirus pandemic, this year’s ceremony has been postponed until March 2021.

“Science Saturday” is part of CGTN’s science and technology series “Tech It Out.” The segment brings you the latest news about innovations and technological breakthroughs in the past two weeks from across the world.

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