- by Dr. Atta-ur-Rahman

Obesity affects a large number of people on our planet. According to WHO, about 2 billion people are over-weight or obese in the world, about a third of the world's population.

A number of causes have been identified, including a genetic cause due to the involvement of an "obesity gene" known as FTO which is found in about 16% of all Europeans (Science, Online April 12, 2007., DOI: 10.1126/science.1141634) 

One of the reasons for obesity is the lack of sleep. One would imagine that since one burns more calories when awake then when sleeping, the lack of sleep should help you reduce weight. The truth is just the opposite. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in USA, in a study involving 87,000 Americans, found that 33% of those who slept for less than 6 hours were obese, compared to only 22% of those who slept between 6 to 9 hours each night. Earlier studies have shown that some appetite regulating hormones (ghrelin and leptin) are disturbed by sleep deprivation, causing increased appetite, and a craving for salty and sweet foods. 

A number of environmental factors have also been identified, one of which BPA (bisphenol A) is thought to be particularly widespread, occurring widely in plastic wrappers, toys, tooth brushes and water bottles. It is thought to mimic the activity of a natural hormone estrogen, and disrupt the normal mechanism for regulating fat cells. So watch out when drinking mineral water! 

The search for a "fat pill" goes on as it could be a multi-billion dollar business. There are two anti-obesity medications approved for long term use. One is "sibutramine", an appetite suppressant, but both have side effects and cause only marginal weight losses. 

Artificial sweeteners may also be having exactly the opposite effect. Terry Davidson at Purdue University, USA has found that mice fed with artificial sweeteners gained weight rapidly, and interfere with the natural calorie counting mechanisms that exist in our bodies.

Ear infections in childhood have also been linked with obesity in later life. The sense of taste may be damaged by chronic ear infections that could lead to tendencies to take in more calories and sweeter foods. 

Brown fat, which contains a protein "thermogenin" that burns up calories fast, is present in many of us when we are young but becomes less as we grow older and may disappear above the age of 40. Researchers are trying to develop ways to restore it from normal fat.

Eat Less –` Live Longer!

It has been known that restricting the diet of worms, flies and mice results in a significant prolongation of their life spans. Now Richard Weindruch and coworkers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in USA have shown that when monkeys were fed a low calorie diet (30% percent less calories than the control group) and their life spans monitored, they tended to live significantly longer than those fed with normal diets. The experiment was performed on 76 monkeys (rhesus macaques) monitored over a twenty year period. Thirty seven percent of those served the low calorie diet were alive at the end of the monitoring period while only thirteen percent of the monkeys fed with normal diet were alive at the end of this period. The results, the first with primates, were published in the journal Science (DOI:10.1073/pnas.0900152106). This is the strongest evidence so far that eating less can significantly prolong human life. The secret to a longer healthier life is simple — eat less! 

 

Brown Fat – for Losing Weight

The key to losing the extra fat on your body may, strangely, be another special kind of fat ----brown fat! Brown fat is responsible for burning up calories, by converting the food directly into heat. It was earlier thought that this type of fatty tissue exists only in certain animals, but new evidence suggests that it is also present, at least in some individuals. The presence of just 50 grams of brown fat can burn up to 500 calories a day, without the need of any exercise. This may explain why some of us are lean and others obese. The reason that the brown fat is able to burn energy while normal fat cannot is that the brown fat cells have a special protein (“thermogenin”). 

 

Eat Fiber – Get Slim!

When considering the calories absorbed by the body from different foods, one needs to also consider the energy consumed by the body in digesting the food. This can substantially reduce the net calorie intake. If two different foods with same calorie levels, one fibrous and the other non-fibrous, are considered, then the fibrous food will provide less net calories since a certain amount of energy will be taken up by the body in digesting the fiber. Furthermore certain microbes present in the gut will consume the fiber to survive.

Similarly hard foods are less easily digested. For example, bread made from coarse-ground wheat flour, is excreted undigested in up to 30% greater quantities than breads made of finely milled flour. Murakami and coworkers at the University of Tokyo recently surveyed 450 women and found that those who ate harder food (which was more difficult to chew) had slimmer waistlines than women who ate softer foods (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol.86, p 206). 

 

Stunning Weight Losses with New Drug

A new drug to promote weight loss is presently undergoing clinical trials in USA, and initial results are stunning. The drug code named ZGN 433 has been developed by a new company Zafgen in Massachusetts, USA and it caused average weight losses of 1kg per week for a month without any changes in normal diet or special exercises. The sharp loss of weight is unprecedented. The breakdown of fat is sharply increased by the drug, which probably acts by blocking an enzyme (called MetAP2) which is involved in the over production of fat.

Diet pills have so far proved to be largely useless and often dangerous for health. Now a genuine diet pill seems to be on the horizon.

 

Secret to Longevity

Since ancient times man has sought to learn the secret to eternal youth and longevity. The answer to a healthier longer life may lie in mole rats! 

Ageing is believed to occur mainly due to oxidation reactions triggered by a reactive form of oxygen --- oxygen radicals that damage our DNA and important proteins. Certain “search and repair” mechanisms exist in our biological systems, to detect the damaged regions and remove or repair them, but as we grow older, these repair mechanisms get weaker, allowing the oxidized materials to escape undetected. The wear and tear caused to our biological system builds up over time, and is visible in the form of the ageing process. 

Prof. Buffenstein and colleagues at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio have been investigating why mole rats live about 30 years longer than other rodents. For example mice have average ages of only 3.5 years while mole rats have ten times that average age. For humans this would be equivalent to having an age of 700 years! They discovered that the level of oxidative damage caused to proteins in mole rats was much less, and that the search and repair mechanisms were much more active. We may one day be grateful to mole rats for providing us with crucial clues about youth and longevity.

 

Diet and Ageing

In a recent study carried out at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, Charles Mobbs and coworkers have established the linkage between reduction in food intake and living longer. Life spans are reduced due to “oxidative stress” on living systems caused by the metabolism of glucose. This in turn leads to tissue damage, cancer and ageing. If glucose metabolism is blocked by drugs or by reduction in food intake, it can lead to the regulation of cellular function by controlling the activity of certain genes, thereby prolonging lives. A high calorie diet, in contrast, accelerates the ageing process due to the greater oxidative stress and may even cause diabetes. The activity of the gene involved is controlled by a certain protein (a “transcription factor”, CREB binding protein, CBP).  

Interestingly starvation (drastic reduction in food intake) does not increase life spans---only partial reduction does. So eat less but do not starve yourself!

 

Slow Down Ageing – stop those wrinkles

From time immemorial, mankind has sought the secret of eternal youth. Now science may have found the answer—or at least part of it. It has been known for a long time that eating less leads to longer life spans in certain animals such as nematode worms, fruit flies and mice. Mice were shown to live up to 50 per cent longer if their calorie intake was reduced by 30-50 per cent. In mammals, the incidence of age-related diseases such as heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and type 2 diabetes was also reduced. A 20-year study on a certain species of monkeys (rhesus macques) is underway and the results obtained so far indicate that restricting calorie intake could indeed prolong age (Science vol 325, p 201). This was in animals—what about humans? A society called ‘Calorie Restriction Society International’ now has 3,000 members, known as CRONies, who are following a calorie restricted diet (10-30 per cent lower than the normal recommended calories) which is largely vegetable based and balanced. The health benefits are already becoming visible. 

According to a study being carried out by Prof Luigi Fontana at the Washington University, and head of the Division of Nutrition and Ageing at the Italian National Institute of Health, the Society members have hearts that appear to be 15 years younger than other Americans their age. It appears that an insulin growth factor (IGF-1) is involved as a promoter of ageing in some animals. Another molecule (TOR) is also thought to be involved in the ageing process, and blocking it has resulted in prolonging lives in several animal studies (Aging Cell, vol 9, p 105). There is also evidence that with a specially designed diet lower in amino acids, one need not even restrict the calories to enhance life spans (Nature, vol 462, p 105). 

For the present, till an exciting new drug comes on the market, the best way to have a longer, healthier life is to reduce your calorie intake, eat mainly vegetables and exercise regularly.

An Exciting Breakthrough in Ageing Research!

There is a huge demand of anti-ageing products, with annual sales of $50 billion in USA alone. These products range from anti-wrinkle skin creams, hormone replacements, vitamins, herbal preparations and nutritional items. However most of these have not been fully tested for their beneficial effects.  Medical experts and medical associations have generally been critical of their use, considering their marketing as unscrupulous profiteering by companies. Recent advances in stem cell research for tissue rejuvenation, organ replacement and therapeutic gene therapy hold out hope for the future.

The “clock of ageing” in the human body is believed to be a region of repetitive DNA at the end of the chromosome. This is called a “telomere”. As the cells divide repetitively during our life, the telomere gets shortened, and so do the number of remaining years for us to live. It has been shown that  cells that do not experience the shortening of telomeres on cell division continue to divide indefinitely. If somehow science could find a way to protect the telomere from degradation, one could slow down or even reverse the ageing process. 

Now researchers at Sierra Sciences in collaboration with TA Sciences, Geron Corporation, PhysioAge, and the Spanish National Cancer Research Center (CNIO) claim to have done just that! They have discovered a natural compound, code named TA-65, which has the remarkable property of activating the enzyme telomerase in the human body, thereby extending the length of the telomeres. This represents the first telomerase activating substance safe for human consumption reported so far and it may lead to the extension of human life spans to 125 years or beyond. The work was published in the journal Rejuvenation Research on 7th September 2010 (http://www.liebertonline. com/doi/abs/ 10.1089/ rej.2010.1085).

 

Erasing Memories – Selectively!

Selective erasure of memories may soon no longer just be a subject of science fiction movies. New and old memories have been selectively erased in mice by Prof. Tsien and coworkers at the Brain & Behavior Discovery Institute at the Medical College of Georgia School of Medicine in USA. They have discovered that they could do this by a neat scientific trick involving the formation (“over expression”) of a protein (called αCaMKII) involved in brain cell communication at the same time when the particular memory was being recalled. The procedure does not damage normal brain cells and may provide the necessary tools to selectively remove traumatic war memories or unwanted fears. (Neuron, Volume 60, Issue 2, 23 October 2008, Pages 353-366).

Stop Those Wrinkles – With Ancient Bacteria!

Certain blue-green algae, “cyanobacteria”, have existed on our planet for 3.4 billion years. They derive their energy from sunlight by the process of photosynthesis. However this exposes them to the damaging effects of UV radiation. Over millions of years they have developed a mechanism to protect themselves against sun’s UV radiation that involves the synthesis of small molecules called mycosporines. Emily Balskus and Christopher Walsh  at the Harvard Medical School in Boston have now identified the genes responsible for making these effective sun-screening substances in the ancient bacteria and transferred them into another organism E.coli, which then started to manufacture the same sun-protecting molecules. A company in Switzerland “Mibelle Biochemistry” is producing sun creams by direct extraction of the active ingredients from the ancient bacteria.

 

Making the blind see – with stem cells!

There are two main types of stem cells. Embryonic stem cells obtained from the embryos of animals (inner cell mass of blastocysts) and adult stem cells found in adult tissues of various organs. Stem cells can now be transformed into various types of cells (nerve, kidney, heart cells etc.), thereby offering opportunities to repair or cure damaged or diseased organs. Indeed, stem cell research promises to change the way medicine will be practised in the future. An exciting recent development is the restoration of (the) eyesight of persons who were blinded by heat burns or by chemicals. Out of 107 such people, who were treated with stem cells, the eyesight of 82 persons was restored to almost-normal at the University of Modena, Italy (The New England Journal of Medicine (DOI: 10.1056/nejmoa0905955). Since the majority of patients had burns in only one eye, the stem cells were therefore obtained from the other good eye. The treatment resulted in the return to transparency of the damaged, opaque cornea.

 

A Matter of the Heart!

When a heart is weakened, its ability to deliver oxygen containing blood may be compromised. An exciting approach that is being investigated to tackle such conditions is to somehow induce the blood to deliver a greater amount of the oxygen that it is carrying. The Nobel Laureate Prof. Jean-Marie Lehn at the University of Strasbourg, France took mice with damaged hearts and by using a particular chemical compound (myo-inositol trispyrophosphate, ITPP) the blood in these mice was induced to release more oxygen (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0812381106). Normally haemoglobin can release only about 25% of the oxygen that it carries, but after binding to ITPP, it was found to release much more oxygen, resulting in dramatic improvements in the physical performance of the mice. If the compound was taken dissolved in water, the exercise levels in mice were boosted by 35% while if given by injection, there was a 60 % rise. The substance holds promise for its eventual use in medicine. Prof. Lehn is one of several Nobel Laureates who have visited H.E.J. Research Institute of Chemistry at Karachi University, the leading chemistry research center in Pakistan, to deliver lectures at international chemistry conferences.

 

Preventing Brain Damage in Stroke or Heart Attack

The brain damage that can result from a stroke or heart attack can leave a patient permanently disabled. Scientists have been grappling with the problem of preventing such brain damage through timely administration of drugs or surgical interventions. Interestingly it has been discovered that slowly cooling the brain temperature by 2-4 degrees centigrade (at a rate of up to 1 degree per hour) can slow down or possibly prevent the process of brain damage. This is achieved by flow of cold air, use of a cold helmet or administration of a cold spray of perfluorocarbon droplets through the nose (British Journal of Anaesthesia, DOI:10.1093/bja/aem405). This procedure appears to be better than trying to cool the whole body as that can lead to infections and pneumonia.

 

Mending a Broken Heart

Heart disease remains the single biggest killer today. Rapid advances in stem cell research in recent years offer new hope for heart patients as they have the potential of generating different types of heart tissues. A number of heart cell-therapy trials are being conducted in USA, Germany, UK, Korea and Brazil with stem cells, usually derived from the bone marrow of the patient themselves. Chien and coworkers at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston have found evidence regarding how stem cells may be converted into different types of heart tissues from a pool of multipotent cells.  This was reported in a recent article in Nature (July 2009 issue). Stem cells may thus offer a way to treat failing hearts in the future.

 

Manufacturing Blood---from Stem Cells!

There have been exciting developments in recent years in the field of stem cells which promise to change the shape of medicine. Stem cells can be converted to heart, kidney and other types of cells, thereby holding out the promise of repairing damaged organs. Initially they could be produced from only embryonic cells, making the field controversial, but it is now possible to produce them from many different parts of the body such as bone marrow, skin cells etc. Certain cells have been also developed which resemble stem cells (induced pluripotent stem cells) and which can be converted in the presence of certain other stimulating factors into various types of other cells. 

Embryonic stem cells have now been used to produce red blood cells in large enough quantities to be employed for blood transfusions. The process has been developed by Advanced Cell Technology. Before long red blood manufacturing automated machines could be developed, which could supply an unlimited quantities of universally transfusable blood. 

We are at the beginning of an enormous revolution in medicine.

 

Making Blood from Skin!

Scientists at McMaster University in Canada have made an important and exciting discovery. They have found a way to convert skin cells directly to blood! Mick Bhatia, scientific director of McMaster's Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute in the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine and their collaborators have repeated the work over the last two years and finally published this exciting breakthrough in a leading scientific journal, Nature, in its issue of November 7, 2010. 

This opens the way for the large scale production of a patient's blood from his/her own skin cells (http:// www.medicalnewstoday. com/articles/207003.php). 

 

Stem cells: A cure for Diabetes?

Scientists in Brazil may have finally discovered a way to treat diabetes by using stem cells. A team led by Dr. Julio Voltarelli isolated stem cells from the blood of 15 patients suffering from Type 1 diabetes. The weak immune system of these 15 patients was initially deliberately destroyed by administration of drugs to remove the harmful cells that attack pancreatic islet cells. The stem cells were then injected into the patients who quickly developed a new more robust system. The patients were able to live without injections of insulin or at much reduced doses of insulin. This work was done in 2007 and was initially considered to be controversial but has now been re-confirmed (Journal of American Medical Association, Vol. 301, page-1573). A treatment of diabetes may therefore finally be on the horizon. In Pakistan at least two laboratories are involved in cutting edge research in stem cells – the Center of Excellence in Molecular Biology in Punjab University, Lahore and the Dr. Panjwani Center for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences) at University of Karachi in Karachi.

 

Stem Cells: Missiles to Fight Cancer

Exciting advances in stem cell research are opening up new horizons in the treatment of heart, kidney and other diseases. Stems cells are now being used as guided missiles to target cancers. A team of scientists at the Beckmann Research Institute in Duarte California injected genetically modified stem cells into the brains of mice suffering from brain cancer, and the mice were then administered an anti-cancer drug (5-fluorouracil). It was found that mice which had been pre-treated with stem cells experienced a 70% reduction in tumour mass as compared to mice not treated with stem cells.

Stem cells tend to accumulate near cancer cells. It is expected that the combined use of stem cell therapy and anti-cancer drugs will allow not only the main tumour to be attacked but secondary growths and even single cancer cells could be targeted in this manner. Clinical trials on human patients using this approach are expected to commence soon.

 

Stem Cells – the New Exciting Horizon of Medicine

An exciting new rapidly developing field in medicine is that involving the use of stem cells to repair damaged organs. Stem cells found in human beings are of two broad types --- embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells. Stem cells along with certain other cells act to repair damaged tissues in the body since they can be transformed (“differentiated”) into other types of cells in the body. They can also be grown by cell culture and then transformed into various types of cells such as nerve, skin or intestinal cells.

In an important recent development, it has been found possible to induce the selective release of various types of stem cells from the bone marrow by the use of certain drugs. Thus instead of providing patients with stem cells from different donors, (in which case there may be problems associated with rejection), the patient’s own stem cells can be selectively released from the bone marrow. These can then help in the repair and regeneration of specific tissues, depending on which type of stem cell is released. This ability to selectively stimulate the release of a patient’s own stem cells represents a major breakthrough in this rapidly developing field. 

The work carried out by Prof. Sara Rankin of Imperial College London and coworkers could lead to the development of new treatments for the repair of damaged heart tissue, and accelerate the repair of broken bones and ligaments.

 

Dissolving Heart Stents

Millions of people have a tiny metal mesh tube inserted into their coronary arteries each year to prop it open so that there is uninterrupted blood flow to the cardiac tissues. However the blood vessel can harden over this metal tube in a few months, and cause problems. The metal blocks X-rays and MRI scans, and it can also, in rare cases, lead to clot formation. Abbott has now developed a stent made of a biodegradable material (polylactic acid) which dissolves away in a couple of years, while the blood vessel retains its shape. Patients will before long have a choice--- have permanent metal stents or biodegradable stents which dissolve with time.  

 

Fighting Cancer Stem Cells

Certain cancer “stem” cells are thought to be responsible for the resistance of some tumours to anti-cancer drugs. Cancer can recur in such tumours after other “normal” cancer cells had been destroyed by chemotherapy. Scientists at M.I.T. have genetically engineered similar cells from normal human cells which have properties resembling the cancer “stem” cells, and investigated their susceptibility to drugs. After testing thousands of compounds they discovered that a compound, salinomycin, could effectively kill these resistant cells without much damage to normal cells. This showed that cancer “stem” cells are not invincible, and it may lead to the development of new lines of treatment (Cell,DOI:10.1016/j.cell.2009.06.034). 

 

Open the Blood Vessels – Attack Cancers!

Scientists at the University of Oxford have found that cancer cells are more susceptible to attack by anti-cancer drugs if the blood supply to the cancerous tumours is increased. Cancerous tissues often have poor blood supplies, which results in the prevention of anti-cancer drugs reaching the diseased areas. The Oxford team, led by Gillies McKenna and coworkers, has found four drugs which enhance the blood supply, thereby facilitating chemotherapy. 

Normally the opposite approach is used----- the blood supply to tumours is blocked to prevent their rapid growth. The two approaches are not contradictory but complementary. Initially the tumours can be softened by administration of blood flow enhancing drugs. The tumors are then subjected to chemotherapy to kill the cancerous cells, and finally treated with blood vessel blocking drugs to starve the diseased areas of oxygen (Cancer Research, DOI:10.1158/0008-5472.can-09-0657). 

 

New Cancer Therapy – with Rivers of Light (“Plasmons”)

An exciting new treatment for cancer is under development ---- using light waves travelling across pre-determined paths. The generation of the oscillations, or “plasmons”, can be compared to the dropping of a stone into a silent pond of water, resulting in ripples spreading across the surface. Similarly if light particles (photons) strike a metal surface, the surface oscillations of the electrons spread across the surface, picking up more light and carrying it with them---- rivers of light are thus generated (Science, 275,1102-1106,2008).  Plasmons are finding applications in a number of fields such as cancer treatment, biochemical sensing, solar cells and optical computing, making this one of the hottest areas in this ranch of physics. 

Naomi Halas at Rice University in Houston injected mice with gold nanoparticles bound to certain antibodies which attack cancer cells.  Once the nanoparticle-antibody units  became attached to the tumors, the tumor was exposed to weak infrared laser light, thereby heating the nanoparticles, resulting in the destruction of the tumour (Proc. Natl.Acad.Sci. USA 100,13549-13554, 2003). The cancer therapy, which worked very well in mice, is presently being further investigated through clinical trials in humans (Nature, 461, p720-722, 2009). 

The cure for many cancers may lie in exposing them to “rivers of light” carried by waves of electrons!

 

A New Treatment for Enlarged Prostates – 

Plasma Therapy

Enlarged prostates (or Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, BPH) is a common condition, affecting about a third of men over 50 years old, and about half those who are over 70 years old. It can cause difficulties in urination, and if not treated it can lead to urinary tract infections and even kidney failure. The normal surgical treatment involves removal of a part of the prostate. This works well in most cases but in some cases it can be accompanied by excessive bleeding which can be life threatening, particularly in heart patients.

Now a new procedure has been developed by Olympus – the PlasmaButton Vaporisation Electrode. This allows the tissue of the prostate to be vaporized directly using a small button-shaped electrode, without the need of it coming into contact with the tissue. The electrode is allowed to hover above the tissue to be removed, vaporizing it, and coagulating the surrounding tissue so that there is minimal bleeding. Since the procedure is almost bloodless, and allows the surgeon to implement it with good visualization while it is being carried out, clinical studies have shown that the hospital times, as well as the time for complete recovery are considerably shortened as compared to conventional surgical procedures.

 

Early Cancer Detection – Dramatic Development!

About 8 million people die of cancer each year. A major problem associated with this disease is that it is often detected after it is already considerably advanced. In lung cancer, the tumour can reach the size of a cricket ball before it is detected. Ninety percent of lung cancer patients therefore die within 5 years of its detection. Routine screening methods also fail to show up early cancers, making treatment after their late detection far more challenging.

Now a simple blood test has been developed after 15 years of research by scientists and clinicians in Nottingham (UK) and Kansas (USA) that is being considered as a major breakthrough in early cancer diagnosis. The new technology involves detection of the first molecular signs of cancer. When cancer starts developing, small amounts of certain proteins (“antigens”) are produced which prompt the immune system of the body to react by forming antibodies. The blood test developed tracks this activity, and allows scientists to accurately identify the antigens, the corresponding antibodies and correlate them with the type of cancerous tumour that is being formed. This can be done with only 10 ml of the blood of a patient in a routine testing procedure that will allow the cancer to be detected at a very early stage when it is usually treatable. The test will be introduced in USA in June 2010, and in United Kingdom by early next year. The test is already leading to dramatic improvements in the management of cancers in lung cancer patients and in 90% of other solid cancers in pilot trials.

 

Cancer – Predicting its Spread!

About 13% of all human deaths each year (some 8 million people) are due to cancer. This rate is rising as the average age increases and the population of the elderly grows. With new drug development, some cancers are now curable, particularly if they have been detected at early stages. Many tumors tend to form secondary growths (metastases), which can eventually prove to be fatal. There has therefore been a search for methods to predict the tendency for such growths, before they occur.

An exciting recent breakthrough in this field has been made by Peng Loh and colleagues working at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at Bethesda, Maryland in USA. They found that a particular protein (modified form of carboxypeptidase E) develops in the tumors before the secondary growths occur. This protein activates a gene responsible for the secondary growths of tumors. Early detection of such tendencies will go a long way in providing another powerful tool to physicians for treating cancer.

 

Making Tumours Glow

A problem commonly faced by surgeons operating on cancer patients is to try to ensure that the cancerous tumour is completely removed. This has a direct bearing on survival rates of patients after surgery. Dr. Roger Tsien and colleagues  at the University of California , San Diego have now succeeded in attaching certain proteins to cancer cells which glow when illuminated with  certain techniques (magnetic resonance or fluorescence imaging), thereby allowing the detection of cancer cells that may not be visible otherwise. By using these “markers”, it was found that 90% more residual cells could be detected and removed, thereby dramatically increasing the survival rates of mice. It is expected that the technology will soon be available for human use.  

(To be continued)

 

Dr. Atta-ur-Rahman has 910 publications in several fields of organic chemistry including 701 research publications