Tuesday November 19, 2019

Chinese Scientists Develop Combined Tumor-Killing Therapy

The Chinese Academy of Sciences and Fudan University developed a common immune checkpoint inhibitor in a nanoparticle formulation

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Chinese, Scientists, Tumor
The study published on Friday in the journal Science Immunology described the new cancer immunotherapy that can prevent the immune system from becoming tolerant of tumors. Pixabay

Chinese scientists developed a combined tumor-killing therapy that can be activated specifically at tumor sites in mouse models of cancer, which is more effective than previous similar therapies.

The study published on Friday in the journal Science Immunology described the new cancer immunotherapy that can prevent the immune system from becoming tolerant of tumors, which occurs in 30 per cent of all cancer patients, the Xinhua news agency reported.

A team led by Wang Dangge from Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica under the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Fudan University developed a common immune checkpoint inhibitor in a nanoparticle formulation, which is highly tumor-specific.

The checkpoint inhibitor is a kind of increasingly popular anti-tumor drug. It can block proteins that keep immune T cells from killing cancer. But the checkpoint inhibitor used to target those immune system-suppressing proteins like PD-1 and PD-L1 often fails to reach deep-seated or metastatic tumors.

Chinese, Scientists, Tumor
Chinese scientists developed a combined tumor-killing therapy that can be activated specifically at tumor sites in mouse models of cancer, Pixabay

Wang’s team combined the nanoparticles carrying PD-L1-targeting antibodies with a light-activated molecule. The molecule called photosensitiser can produce tumor-killing reactive oxygen species after encountering a protein abundant in tumors, according to the study.

In mouse models, a local near-infrared radiation that activated the photosensitiser, along with the administration of antibodies-carrying nanoparticles, promoted the infiltration of cancer cell-killing T cells into the tumor site and made the tumors more sensitive to the checkpoint blockade.

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This combination also helped the nanoparticles effectively suppress tumor growth and metastasis to the lung and lymph nodes, resulting in approximately 80 per cent mouse survival over 70 days, compared to complete mouse death in 45 days in the group treated with only PD-L1 antibodies, according to the study. (IANS)

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Scientists: Nations Need Stronger Pledges to Curb Climate Change

Governments are moving in the right direction, but nowhere near enough, so hopefully they will be willing to take on much stronger commitments

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Scientists, Nations, Climate Change
A woman wearing a mask walks past buildings on a polluted day in Handan, Hebei province, China, Jan. 12, 2019. China is reportedly the world's top emitter of greenhouse gases. VOA

The vast majority of national commitments in the 2015 Paris Agreement are inadequate to prevent the worst effects of global warming, scientists said on Tuesday, naming the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitting countries as among those that must ratchet up their efforts.

“Governments are moving in the right direction, but nowhere near enough, so hopefully they will be willing to take on much stronger commitments” in next month’s United Nation’s climate summit in Spain, said Robert Watson, lead author of the report by the nonprofit Universal Ecological Fund.

The report ranked nearly 75%, or 136, of the pledges as insufficient, including ones by major carbon emitters China, the United States, and India. A dozen, by countries including Australia, Japan and Brazil, were judged only partially sufficient.

Countries at next month’s summit in Madrid will hash out some details of the international pact to curb warming. Chile withdrew as host following weeks of riots protesting inequality.

Scientists, Nations, Climate Change
A protestor holds a placard in front of the India Gate during a protest demanding government to take immediate steps to control air pollution in New Delhi, India, Nov. 5, 2019. VOA

Of the 184 pledges countries made under the climate agreement, only 36 are ambitious enough to help reach the agreement’s goal of keeping global warming less than 1.5 Celsius (2.7 F) above pre-industrial levels, the report said.

Most of those 36 are by countries in the European Union.

Watson, a former chair of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said the report could be read two ways: “You can read ‘My God it’s hopeless’, or ‘My God this is a wake up call.'”

Watson estimated that even if all nations meet their existing pledges, the world would be headed for temperature rise of between 3 and 3.5 degrees Celsius, which could lead to more extreme weather, rising sea levels and the loss of plant and animal species.

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The report rated the European Union’s 28 member states as having sufficient pledges because they aim to cut emissions of greenhouse gases by at least 40% below the 1990 level by 2030.

It ranked the United States as insufficient because President Donald Trump reversed former President Barack Obama’s climate policies and yanked Washington out of the pact. The administration, which argues that Paris Agreement would cost U.S. taxpayers too much money, filed official paperwork on Monday to withdraw.

China, the world’s top emitter of greenhouse gases, and India, also came in as insufficient because their pledges focus on carbon intensity targets, which lower emissions per unit of gross domestic product, or GDP. Because those economies are growing and coal produces much of their electricity, total emissions have risen sharply even though carbon intensity levels in China and India have fallen. (VOA)