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Diabetes drug may offer treatment for breast cancer

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New York, March 14: Repurposing a common diabetes drug as well as another used for treating a group of inherited and acquired disorders may also help in the fight against resistant breast cancers that currently have no targeted therapy, finds a study.

The study, led by the University of Chicago, showed that the two existing drugs named metformin and haemin suppress tumour growth in mice, Xinhua reported.

“This is the first joint use of these two drugs. We think we have elucidated a new mechanism, something basic and fundamental, and found ways to use it,” said Marsha Rosner, Professor at the varsity.

The researchers found that the primary anti-cancer target for haemin is a transcription factor known as BACH1 (BTB and CNC homology1). This protein is often highly expressed in triple negative breast cancers and is required for metastasis.

BACH1 targets mitochondrial metabolism and can suppress a key source of cellular energy. When BACH1 is high, this energy source is shut down, the report said.

However, when cancer cells were treated with haemin, BACH1 was reduced, causing BACH1-depleted cancer cells to change metabolic pathways. This caused cancers that are vulnerable to metformin to suppress mitochondrial respiration.

“We found that this novel combination, haemin plus metformin, can suppress tumour growth, and we validated this in mouse tumour models,” explained Jiyoung Lee from the varsity.

The findings can extend beyond breast cancer. BACH1 expression is enriched not only in triple negative breast cancers, but is also seen in many other cancers including lung, kidney, uterus, prostate and acute myeloid leukemia, the researchers noted.

However, neither of the drugs were originally designed to treat cancer.

Metformin, discovered in 1922 and used clinically since 1957, was developed to treat Type-2 diabetes. It decreases glucose production by the liver and increases insulin sensitivity.

Haemin, marketed as panhematin, was first crystallised from blood in 1853. It is now used to treat defects of haemin synthesis. These defects can cause porphyrias, a group of inherited and acquired disorders.

(IANS)

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Kubbra Sait compares Covid-19 test with sex

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Kubbra Sait

Mumbai, Aug 14 : Actress Kubbra Sait jokes she has lost her virginity to the Covid-19 test, adding that it was not as bad as she imagined.

“I lost my virginity to the covid test. Really it wasn’t half as bad as my mind had conjured it to be. It was a quick in and out. Reminded me of a few ex lovers. It made me sneeze. Ok bye,” Kubbra tweeted.

However, the “Sacred Games” actress did not share the reason behind taking the test.

Earlier this year, Kubbra had shared that she feels people should stop whining about lockdown, adding that since it is not in our control the best thing is to “just chill out”.

“Stop whining about the lockdown, it makes no sense. It is not in your control. So please stop whining, it is not going to change if you whine a little more or little less today so just chill out,” Kubbra had said.

“I think, let us just accept what’s happening right now. I know it is an old cliche, but it works especially in the times that we are in right now,” she had added.

Talking about how her habit changed during lockdown, she said: “The thing is that I used to hate brushing. I always felt I have no time to brush my teeth. I used to be like who is going to spend five extra minutes to brush their teeth. So yeah, now I brush like three to four times a day and I am very proud of myself. I hope my dentist would be just as proud of me.”

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Health Ministry official Lav Agarwal tests Covid-19 positive

Lav Agarwal has also served in Central teams assessing containment efforts in areas with high virus case load.

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Senior government bureaucrat and the face of televised briefings on coronavirus containment efforts by the Union health ministry, Lav Agarwal, has tested positive for the disease on Friday, according to a tweet posted by the Joint Secretary himself.

“Dear All, just to inform that I have tested positive for Covid 19 and initiating home isolation as per guidelines,” Agarwal tweeted.

He also requested all his friends and colleagues to self monitor their health status in line with the standard process.

“Requesting all my friends, colleagues for self monitoring. Contact tracing will be done by Health team. Hoping to see everyone soon,” said Agarwal ending his tweet.

Agarwal has also been part of Central teams inspecting the efficacy of containment efforts in states and areas with high viral case load incidents.

Agarwal is the latest in a long line of high ranking officials who have contracted the disease in the line of duty.

Earlier today, Union home minister Amit Shah announced that he had been cured of the disease after testing negative for the virus on Friday. Shah, discharged today from Medanta hospital in Gurgaon, will however remain in home isolation for a few days.

He also thanked the doctors and paramedical staff of the hospital, where he was admitted after he declared his coronavirus positive status on August 2.

In Kerala, at least 23 officials including Malappuram collector and superintendent of police tested positive for the disease after their involvement in operations to rescue passengers of Kerala air crash last Friday at Kozhikode. One of the passengers who died in the crash and two others who received injuries had tested positive for the disease two days after the crash.

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EU Concludes Talks On Potential COVID-19 Vaccine Supply From Johnson & Johnson

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said “our citizens’ lives and our economy” need a safe and effective vaccine.

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Brussels: The European Commission has announced that it concluded exploratory talks with Johnson & Johnson to purchase a potential vaccine against COVID-19.

Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said in a statement on Thursday that the talks are intended to result in an Advance Purchase Agreement, which could enable all European Union (EU) member states to purchase the vaccine, as well as to donate to lower and middle-income countries or re-direct to countries in the European Economic Area (EEA), reports Xinhua news agency.

The statement said that the contractual framework would facilitate an initial purchase of 200 million doses on behalf of all EU member states, and could further purchase an additional 200 million vaccine doses.

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said “our citizens’ lives and our economy” need a safe and effective vaccine.

She said the talks with the American pharmaceutical corporation have brought the union closer to this target.

In July, the EU announced it had concluded exploratory talks with French pharmaceutical company Sanofi aiming for a deal that could secure 300 million doses of the company’s COVID-19 vaccine for Europeans once it is developed and proven to be safe and effective against the coronavirus.

Europe has so far registered a total of 3,147,645 coronavirus cases, with 208,549 deaths, according to figures by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

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