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Tiny bubbles in our body to fight cancer better than chemo

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New York, Sep 14  Researchers have found that tiny bubbles in our body might potentially be used to treat cancer and could fight the disease better than chemotherapy.

Healthy cells in our body release nano-sized bubbles that transfer genetic material such as DNA and RNA to other cells. It’s your DNA that stores the important information necessary for RNA to produce proteins and make sure they act accordingly.

According to the researchers, these bubbly extracellular vesicles (EV) could become mini treatment transporters, carrying a combination of therapeutic drugs and genes that target cancer cells and kill them.

The study, published in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, focused on breast cancer cells in mice.

“What we’ve done is improve a therapeutic approach to delivering enzyme-producing genes that can convert certain drugs into toxic agents and target tumours,” said the study’s lead author Masamitsu Kanada, Assistant Professor at the Michigan State University.

These drugs or prodrugs start out as inactive compounds. But once they metabolize in the body, they are immediately activated and can get to work on fighting everything from cancer to headaches.

Aspirin is an example of a common prodrug. In this case, researchers used EVs, to deliver the enzyme-producing genes that could activate a prodrug combination therapy of ganciclovir and CB1954 in breast cancer cells.

Minicircle DNA and regular plasmid – two different gene vectors that act as additional delivery mechanisms for DNA – were loaded into the vesicles to see which was better at helping transport treatment.

This is known as a gene-directed enzyme, prodrug therapy. They found that the minicircle DNA was 14 times more effective at delivery and even more successful at killing cancerous tumours.

“Conventional chemotherapy isn’t able to differentiate between tumours and normal tissue, so it attacks it all,” Kanada said.

With EVs, treatment can be targeted and because of their compatibility with the human body, this type of delivery could minimize the risk of unwanted immune responses that can come with other gene therapies.

“If EVs prove to be effective in humans, it would be an ideal platform for gene delivery and it could be used in humans sooner than we expect,” Kanada added.


Entertainment

PM Modi to Bollywood: Create films on Gandhi and Gandhism

Spotted at the occasion were several eminent stars and filmmakers, including Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Kangana Ranaut, Jacqueline Fernandez, Imtiaz Ali, Ekta Kapoor, Anurag Basu, and Boney Kapoor.

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Aamir Khan Shahrukh Khan Modi

New Delhi, Oct 19 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted with members of the film industry on Saturday in the Capital, and several of Bollywood’s top stars were present at the event.

The focus was on inviting the film industry to create films and television shows that popularise Mahatma Gandhi and Gandhism, to mark the 150th birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation.

“Gandhi is synonymous with simplicity. His thoughts reverberate far and wide. The power of creativity is immense, and it is essential to harness this spirit of creativity for our nation. Several people from the world of films and television have been doing great work when it comes to popularising the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi,” noted Prime Minister Modi.

Spotted at the occasion were several eminent stars and filmmakers, including Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Kangana Ranaut, Jacqueline Fernandez, Imtiaz Ali, Ekta Kapoor, Anurag Basu, and Boney Kapoor.

“I would like to thank the Prime Minister for bringing us all together, that too for a cause such as this. I feel we need to re-introduce Gandhi ji to India and the world. The film industry can get self-obsessed and it is important we create work that is not only about business,” said Shah Rukh, about the need of the industry to come forward and make films on Gandhi that can help in the nation-building process.

Said Aamir, about the interaction session with the Prime Minister: “It was a wonderful interaction we had with the Prime Minister today. He was very inspiring, very warm and very deep in what he had to say. I want to appreciate the PM for thinking about this effort. As creative people, there is much we can do, and I assure the PM that we will do even more.”

For Kangana, the effort underlines the fact that Prime Minister Modi has recognised the power of the film industry.

“Modi ji is the first Prime Minister who is so inclusive of art and artistes and the film industry. Nobody has recognised the soft power of art and artistes in the country before. From the bottom of my heart and on behalf of the film industry, I thank the Prime Minister,” said Kangana.

Jacqueline said it was “an extreme honour be in the presence of PM Modi ji, and also to have a Prime Minister who is so willing to lend a helping hand to the film fraternity”.

After the session with the PM, producer Ekta Kapoor said she felt that “for the first time it seemed like there is someone who knows our industry better than us”.

Filmmaker Imtiaz Ali noted the tone of informality about the session helped. “The best thing about the session was that it was very informal. The film industry understands the informal language the best. The idea to make films on Gandhi ji will help reintroduce ourselves to Gandhi ji’s philosophy,” he noted.

Said filmmaker Anurag Basu: “When we make films, there are moments we wonder why are we doing this. Today, we got a reason, a direction. All the creative people here are extremely upbeat after the session. I feel we will see results in a year’s time.”

Producer Boney Kapoor added: “This government has always been sympathetic to the film industry right from (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee saab’s time when we were recognised as an industry. Since Mr Modi came in, he has made it a point to ensure every glitch is solved instantly.”

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Limiting mealtimes increases motivation for exercise: Study

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Tokyo: Limiting access to food might increase levels of hormone – ghrelin, which might also increase your motivation to exercise, said a new research.

The study, published in the Journal of Endocrinology suggested that a surge in levels of the appetite-promoting hormone – ghrelin, after a period of fasting prompted mice to initiate voluntary exercise.

These novel findings indicate that better diet control, for example limiting food intake to mealtimes or fasting intermittently, could help overweight people maintain a more effective exercise routine, lose weight and avoid debilitating complications such as diabetes and heart disease.

“Our findings suggest that hunger, which promotes ghrelin production, may also be involved in increasing motivation for voluntary exercise when feeding is limited,” said author Yuji Tajiri from the Kurume University in Japan.

“Therefore, maintaining a healthy eating routine, with regular mealtimes or fasting, could also encourage motivation for exercise in overweight people,” Tajiri said.

Ghrelin, often referred to as the ‘hunger hormone’, stimulates appetite through actions on the brain reward circuitry that increases motivation to eat.

It has also been reported to be essential for endurance exercise by increasing metabolism to meet the energy demands of prolonged exercise.

Although previous studies have suggested a relationship between ghrelin and exercise, it was not known whether the hormone levels have a direct effect on motivation to exercise.

In this study, the research team investigated the relationship between exercise and the hormone levels in mice.

Food intake and wheel-running activity were compared in mice given free access to food with those fed only twice a day for a limited time.

Although both groups ate a similar amount of food, the restricted mice ran significantly more.

Mice genetically altered to have no ghrelin and on the restricted feeding diet, ran less than the mice which were given free access, however, this could be reversed by administering the hormone.

Furthermore, mice were given free access to food and given ghrelin also ran significantly more.

These findings suggest that ghrelin might play an important role in the motivation for both feeding and exercise, in response to restricted eating plans.


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Sugar daddy relations much more than sex, money: Study

She found that 40 per cent of the women never had sex with their benefactors and the ones who did, often had genuine, authentic connections with the men.

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Hugh Hefner

New York, Oct 18 : Turns out being ‘sugar daddy’ is not just about sex and money, while occasionally it may live up to the stereotype of a wealthy, middle-aged man lavishing gifts and money on a younger woman in return for her companionship, there is more to it, a new study suggests.

Probably the most famous sugar daddy of all time is Hugh Hefner, the man who founded Playboy magazine. In recent times Sahil Khan, Dan Bilzerian have been in limelight.

Have their sugar relationships been based on companionship, intimacy or other forms of attention in exchange for personal benefit?

“Whenever I read an article about Sugar Daddies or Sugar Babies, I often saw the same sensationalistic slant: the women are desperate, starved college students engaging in prostitution,” said author Maren Scull, Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado in the US.

“As someone who studies deviance, I knew there were more important nuances to these relationships,” Scull said.

The study, published in the journal Sociological Perspectives, interviewed 48 current and former US sugar babies and identified seven types of “sugar” relationships such as sugar prostitution, compensated dating, compensated companionship, sugar dating, sugar friendships, sugar friendships with benefits and pragmatic love.

She explored the kind of activities the women were involved in, whether sex was involved and whether their lives were intertwined with their benefactors.

She found that 40 per cent of the women never had sex with their benefactors and the ones who did, often had genuine, authentic connections with the men.

She also found that most forms of sugaring were not a play-for-pay arrangement.

Scull labelled the first “sugar prostitution”, a form of sugaring sans emotion and purely the exchange of gifts for sex.

“Compensated dating”, popular in Asia, involves a monetary or material compensation for grabbing a coffee, a meal or attending a specific event together.

“Compensated companionship” involves wider scope of activities and often involve the woman becoming more intertwined in the man’s life.

Neither compensated dating nor compensated companionship involves anything sexual for most people.

“Sugar dating”, the most common form of sugaring, combines the intertwined life of companionship with sex. In this case, most women receive an allowance on a weekly, monthly or as-needed basis.

The sums could range from $200 to several thousands of dollars a month.

“Sugar friendships” are a mutually beneficial relationships with someone the women consider a friend.

Finally, Scull found that some of these relationships involved two people who hoped to end up together, with the woman taken care of for the rest of her life, in a category she named ‘pragmatic love’.

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