Healthcare & Lifescience Talking Points | 24/08/2017


In today’s talking points: Does one drink a day damage your health?; How do we stay motivated to keep exercising?; Chinese scientists make breakthrough in treating liver cancer; Cancer drug susceptibility results now possible in 24 hours.

Does one drink a day damage your health?

You’ve no doubt heard the common wisdom that a drink at the end of a long day does you good. But the idea of low level drinking being good for your health has been questioned recently by Tanya Chikritzhs, Professor at Curtin University’s National Drug Research Institute. Earlier research suggested it was healthy, but actually alcohol is a carcinogen, a substance that can cause cancers. “From the very first sip, even at very low levels of less than half a drink a day, you can experience an increased risk for a range of cancers,” Professor Chikritzhs said. Professor Chikritzhs said in the last 20 years there had been rapid advances in our understanding of the links between alcohol and cancer, and a growing body of evidence linking increased alcohol consumption and cancer risk.

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How do we stay motivated to keep exercising?

Every year thousands of Australians take out gym memberships, make New Year’s resolutions to get fit or vow to tone-up in time for summer. Many of the commonly cited reasons for joining a gym – feeling guilty about your health, being pressured by others or wanting to lose weight – might get someone through the door, but will not lead to long term habits. Cecilie Thogersen-Ntoumani from Curtain University has spent a lot of time looking at what actually makes people motivated for exercise and whether it will last. “A lot of people probably have high levels or motivation to become fit and to exercise but it’s of low quality.” Research has also found that paying upfront for a gym membership or a series of training sessions will keep you going only in the short term.

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Chinese scientists make breakthrough in treating liver cancer

 Chinese scientists have discovered a compound that helps a tumour-targeting virus destroy liver cancer cells more effectively, according to a recently published study. The mosquito-borne virus – M1 virus – commonly affects horses, causing mild illness, however in humans it selectively targets cancer cells in the most common form of liver cancer – hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

In order to boost the virus’s effectiveness, researchers looked into the mechanisms of HCC and found that Eeyarestatin 1, an inhibitor of a protein involved in HCC malignancy, was particularly effective when used in conjunction with the M1 virus.

This novel treatment will begin clinical trials in 2018, giving hope to HCC sufferers worldwide.


Read more at: Xinhua



Cancer drug susceptibility results now possible in 24 hours

 A research team from the University of Macau (UM) have made a breakthrough in screening drug susceptibility for human primary cancers. The team synergised methods in precision medicine, image processing and microfluidic chips to shorten analysis times to 24 hours, paving the way for swift viability tests in precision cancer therapy.

Moving forwards, this technique could be used more broadly to study differential drug responses in heterogeneous cancers.

Read more at: Xinhua