BREAKING CANCER: A new treatment halts the spread of cancer by “breaking the legs” of tumour cells. Scientists used tiny gold rods to smash the leg-like protrusions called filopodia that help cancer cells up-anchor and move. Laboratory tests on human cancer cells showed that rendering them limbless thwarted their ability to migrate and spread, or metastasise. It is the deadly spread of tumours to vital organs such as the liver or brain that is most likely to kill a cancer patient. Targeting filopodia, which extend out from a weave of fibres called lamellipodia on the cell’s fringes, could be a gamechanger in the fight against metastasis, the scientists believe. No toxic effects were seen from the gold treatment, and healthy cells — which also need to move — were not harmed, said the researchers writing in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. ASPIRIN BOOST: Taking a lowdose aspirin before bed can reduce the risk of the potentially fatal condition pre-eclampsia. Doctors have discovered that administering 150mg of aspirin led to a 62% reduction in the rate of preterm pre-eclampsia, resulting in a delivery before 37 weeks. The study found an 82% reduction in the rate of early preeclampsia, resulting in a delivery before 34 weeks. The trial of 1,776 women at high risk for pre-term pre-eclampsia found a lower incidence of developing the disease in women taking aspirin than those taking a placebo. Pre-eclampsia can cause premature birth and, in extreme cases, maternal and foetal death. FLU FIGHTER: A patch has been developed which could replace traditional flu jabs. The new technology could lead to people immunising themselves against flu at home and would reduce dangerous waste from hypodermic needles.
The patch looks like a plaster and is worn by patients for 20 minutes on the wrist while microneedles which contain the immunisation dissolve. It was subject of a study published in the Lancet of 100 people in the United States with 70% preferring the patch to a traditional injection.