Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Dance Club Drug Ecstasy Developed to Cure Cancer -

Dance Club Drug Ecstasy Developed to Cure Cancer - 

Scientists have known for years that the nightclubbers' drug, Ecstasy, as well as, other psychotropic drugs suppress the growth of over half of all white blood cancer cells.

New research proves that Ecstasy may kill some cancer cells, but scientists have increased its effectiveness 100-fold, they noted in the journal, "Investigational New Drugs."
Researchers also chemically re-engineered ecstasy by taking some atoms away and putting new ones in their place, thus reducing the toxic effect on the brain.

An earlier study showed all leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma cells could be killed in a test tube, but any treatment would be a decade away.

"Together, we were looking at structures of compounds that were more effective," said John Gordon, a professor at the University of Birmingham's School of Immunology and Infection.

BBC News reports, one variant increased cancer-fighting effectiveness 100-fold, meaning if 100 grams of un-modified ecstasy was needed to get the desired effect, only one gram of the modified ecstasy would be needed to have the same effect.
"Against the cancers, particularly the leukaemia, the lymphoma and the myeloma, where we've tested these new compounds we can wipe out 100 percent of the cancer cells in some cases," Gordon said.

Scientists at the University of Birmingham discovered that six years ago and included in their laboratory experiments were weight-loss pills and antidepressants like Prozac.

Gordon added, "They started to look more lipophilic, that is, they were attracted to the lipids that make up cell walls. This would make them more 'soapy' so they would end up getting into the cancer cells more easily and possibly even start dissolving them."

Study authors wrote that using enough MDMA to effectively treat a patient with a malignant tumor would likely kill cancer cells.

Researchers teamed up with a group from the University of Western Australia, working together to create new compounds.
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Hotel in the Heavens - up to seven guests who would be able to cavort in zero-gravity while watching our planet turn -

Hotel in the Heavens - up to seven guests who would be able to cavort in zero-gravity while watching our planet turn - 
Hotel in space planned by Orbital Technologies

Russian engineers have announced the ultimate get-away-from-it-all holiday, revealing plans to put a hotel into orbit 200 miles above Earth by 2016. The four-room Hotel in the Heavens would house up to seven guests who would be able to cavort in zero-gravity while watching as our planet turns.
The out-of-this-world experience will not come cheaply, however. Spacetourists will have to pay £500,000 to travel on a Soyuz rocket to get to the hotel before stumping up a further £100,000 for a five-day stay.
"The hotel will be aimed at wealthy individuals and people working for private companies who want to do research in space," said Sergei Kostenko, chief executive of Orbital Technologies, which will construct the orbiting guest house. "A hotel should be comfortable, and this one will be."
The news that Russia plans to launch a hotel into outer space is the latest example in a series of extreme holidaymaking projects. As the world accumulates more and more billionaires, entrepreneurs are seeking newer and more demanding ways to provide them with the ultimate in hi-tech thrills. Apart from space hotels, which have also been touted recently by US and European aerospace companies, proposals to fly thrill-seekers on rocket flights to the edge of space are now being finalised by Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic as well as by US companies such as Space Adventures, Armadillo Aerospace and XCOR Aerospace.
In addition, billionaires may soon be able to buy their own artificial countries – built in international waters on oil rig-type platforms – where they can indulge in their dictatorial fantasies. Or they could buy high-performance submarines that will allow them to dive and explore the deepest parts of oceans. Being rich has never offered so many opportunities for adventure – and excess.
In the case of the space hotels, hedonism will be limited, however. Orbital Technologies have made it clear that guests will be restricted to consuming iced tea and fruit juices for their liquid intake. Alcohol will be banned. In addition, waste water will be recycled while air will be filtered to remove odour and bacteria and then returned to cabins.
Tourists, accompanied by experienced crew, will also have to dine on food prepared on Earth and reheated in microwave ovens, while showers will be carefully sealed affairs to prevent water escaping as globules that otherwise would float around the hotel's interior.
It is scarcely five-star luxury. On the other hand, there will be many compensations. Views of the Earth from the space hotel's special observation windows should be breathtaking as the craft whizzes round our planet every 90 minutes – providing guests with 16 sunsets and 16 sunrises a day. Visitors will also be able to choose to have their beds vertically or horizontally inclined to their line of flight. Indeed, the prospect of weightlessness offers all sorts of zero-gravity activities that can only be dreamt of on Earth.
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Our Ancestors Had Sex with Neanderthals For Better Immune System -

Our Ancestors Had Sex with Neanderthals For Better Immune System - 

Sexual encounters with archaic humans like Neanderthals have endowed modern humans with genes that contribute to our greatly improved immune system, according to researchers.

Mating with Neanderthals and another ancient group called Denisovans introduced genes that help us cope with viruses to this day, they conclude, reports BBC News.
DNA inherited from Neanderthals and newly discovered hominids known as Denisovans has contributed to key types of immune genes still present among populations in Europe, Asia and Oceania.  Scientists believe that these gene variants must have helped humans survive while migrating throughout the world.

"The cross-breeding wasn't just a random event that happened, it gave something useful to the gene pool of the modern human," said Stanford University's Peter Parham, senior author of the study in the journal Science.

Scientists already knew that about four percent of Neanderthal DNA and up to six percent of Denisovan DNA are present in some modern humans.
The new study looked at the origins of some HLA (human leucocyte antigen) class 1 gene and traced it back to our ancient relatives. (HLA) class I genes are responsible for making HLA proteins that help the immune system adapt to defend against new pathogens that could cause various infections, viruses and diseases. They found evidence that a variant of HLA called HLA-B*73 found in modern humans,came from cross-breeding with Denisovans. Similarly HLA gene types were found in the Neanderthal genome.

"We are finding frequencies in Asia and Europe that are far greater than the whole genome estimates of archaic DNA in modern humans, which is 1-6 percent," said Professor Parham.

Scientists believe that Europeans owe more than half their variants of one class of HLA gene to interbreeding with Neanderthals and Denisovans. Asians owe up to 80 percent, and Papua New Guineans up to 95 percent.
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