A newly-discovered part of our immune system could be harnessed to treat all cancers, say scientists and reports BBC.
The Cardiff University team discovered a method of killing prostate, breast, lung and other cancers in lab tests.
The findings, published in Nature Immunology, have not been tested in patients, but the researchers say they have "enormous potential".
Experts said that although the work was still at an early stage, it was very exciting.
What have they found?
Our immune system is our body's natural defence against infection, but it also attacks cancerous cells.
The scientists were looking for "unconventional" and previously undiscovered ways the immune system naturally attacks tumours.
What they found was a T-cell inside people's blood. This is an immune cell that can scan the body to assess whether there is a threat that needs to be eliminated.
The difference is this one could attack a wide range of cancers.
"There's a chance here to treat every patient," researcher Prof Andrew Sewell told the BBC.
He added: "Previously nobody believed this could be possible.
"It raises the prospect of a 'one-size-fits-all' cancer treatment, a single type of T-cell that could be capable of destroying many different types of cancers across the population."
How does it work?
T-cells have "receptors" on their surface that allow them to "see" at a chemical level.
The Cardiff team discovered a T-cell and its receptor that could find and kill a wide range of cancerous cells in the lab including lung, skin, blood, colon, breast, bone, prostate, ovarian, kidney and cervical cancer cells.
Crucially, it left normal tissues untouched.
T-cells attack cancer cells
Exactly how it does this is still being explored.
This particular T-cell receptor interacts with a molecule called MR1, which is on the surface of every cell in the human body.
It is thought MR1 is flagging the distorted metabolism going on inside a cancerous cell to the immune system.
"We are the first to describe a T-cell that finds MR1 in cancer cells - that hasn't been done before, this is the first of its kind," research fellow Garry Dolton told the BBC.
Why is this significant?
T-cell cancer therapies already exist and the development of cancer immunotherapy has been one of the most exciting advances in the field.
The most famous example is CAR-T - a living drug made by genetically engineering a patient's T-cells to seek out and destroy cancer.
CAR-T can have dramatic results that transform some patients from being terminally ill to being in complete remission.
However, the approach is highly specific and works in only a limited number of cancers where there is a clear target to train the T-cells to spot.
And it has struggled to have any success in "solid cancers" - those that form tumours rather than blood cancers such as leukaemia.
The researchers say their T-cell receptor could lead to a "universal" cancer treatment.
So how would it work in practice?
The idea is that a blood sample would be taken from a cancer patient.
Their T-cells would be extracted and then genetically modified so they were reprogrammed to make the cancer-finding receptor.
Source: BBC Research
The upgraded cells would be grown in vast quantities in the laboratory and then put back into the patient. It is the same process used to make CAR-T therapies.
However, the research has been tested only in animals and on cells in the laboratory, and more safety checks would be needed before human trials could start.
What do the experts say?
Lucia Mori and Gennaro De Libero, from University of Basel in Switzerland, said the research had "great potential" but was at too early a stage to say it would work in all cancers.
"We are very excited about the immunological functions of this new T-cell population and the potential use of their TCRs in tumour cell therapy," they said.
Daniel Davis, a professor of immunology at the University of Manchester, said: "At the moment, this is very basic research and not close to actual medicines for patients.
"There is no question that it's a very exciting discovery, both for advancing our basic knowledge about the immune system and for the possibility of future new medicines."
Israeli researchers have discovered a method to rejuvenate the kidneys, which has the potential to eliminate the need for dialysis in the future, Israel's Sheba Medical Center said Wednesday.
In a study published in the journal Cell Reports, researchers from the center showed that it is possible to rejuvenate the kidneys and improve their function using the patient's own stem cells.
Previously, it was found that the adult kidney can constantly renew itself over time through the activity of colonies of cells that function to replace lost and degenerated cells in the kidney.
In the current study, the team developed a new technology that allows the extraction of such healthy kidney cells from diseased kidneys.
These cells are expanded into large numbers within a laboratory environment, and by generation of three-dimensional cultures called "kidney spheres", they show improved function to generate new kidney tissue and replace lost cells.
The cells are administered into the kidney, allowing them to rebuild it, positively influence neighboring cells and improve the kidney's function.
Because the newly developed technology relies on the patient's own cells, it circumvents problems associated with immune rejection.
This treatment, successfully tested on mice, resulted in improved renal function in the treated mice.
The results are expected to be further studied in clinical trials in patients with renal failure.
Researchers from Australia's national science body have successfully genetically engineered mosquitoes that are resistant to spreading dengue virus.
The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) on Friday revealed that it has engineered the first breed of mosquitoes resistant to spreading all four types of the dengue virus.
Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne disease caused by the dengue virus. It affects 390 million people every year around the world and can cause death if left untreated, according to CSIRO.
Prasad Paradkar, a Senior Research Scientist with the CSIRO, said that the disease is at epidemic levels in tropical and subtropical regions worldwide, with outbreaks currently occurring in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the Philippines.
"There is a pressing global demand for effective strategies to control the mosquitoes that spread the dengue virus, as there are currently no known treatments and the vaccine that is available is only partially effective," he said in a media release.
"In this study we used recent advances in genetic engineering technologies to successfully genetically modify a mosquito, the Aedes aegypti, with reduced ability to acquire and transmit the dengue virus.
"This is the first engineered approach that targets all four dengue types, which is crucial for effective disease suppression."
According to the CSIRO more than half the world's population is at risk of infection and the disease currently costs the global economy 40 billion Australian dollars (27.5 billion U.S. dollars) every year.
The CSIRO collaborated with Omar Akbari from the University of California San Diego on the landmark breakthrough.
"This breakthrough work also has the potential to have broader impacts on controlling other mosquito-transmitted viruses," Akbari said.
"We are already in the early stages of testing methods to simultaneously neutralise mosquitoes against dengue and a suite of other viruses such as Zika, yellow fever and chikungunya."
An innovative Chinese Alzheimer's drug that hit the domestic market last week, will go through clinical trials on 2,000 patients overseas in 2020.
The orally administered drug GV-971 will be tested in 200 clinical centers in North America, the European Union, Eastern Europe, Asia Pacific and other places, according to Green Valley Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd, one of the drug's co-developers.
The company says it plans to complete the global clinical trials in 2024 and submit the New Drug Application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and European Medicines Agency in 2025.
GV-971 was jointly developed by the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Ocean University of China and Green Valley, after a 22-year study.
The results of the mechanism of action study were published in the international journal Cell Research in September 2019, saying that the drug, extracted from brown algae, works by modifying gut bacteria to ultimately reduce brain inflammation in mice that were genetically engineered to have the disease.
It was approved to market last November by China's National Medical Products Administration, which said the GV-971 "can improve cognition in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease (AD)."
According to researchers, apart from animal experiments, more than 1,100 Chinese AD patients participated in clinical trials before the drug hit the market. In the last test, a total of 818 participants from 34 leading hospitals in China took 450 mg GV-971 orally twice a day for a treatment period of nine months, which proved safe and effective in improving cognition.
"Because of its effectiveness on Chinese patients, we expect this drug to benefit more people in the rest of the world," said Lyu Songtao, chairman of the Shanghai-based pharmaceutical company.
A new cafe culture is brewing in the San Francisco area, where a growing number of coffee houses are banishing paper to-go cups and replacing them with everything from glass jars to rental mugs and BYO cup policies.
What started as a small trend among neighborhood cafes to reduce waste is gaining support from some big names in the city's food and coffee world.
Celebrated chef Dominique Crenn, owner of the three-star Michelin restaurant Atelier Crenn, is opening a San Francisco cafe next year that will have no to-go bags or disposable coffee cups and will use no plastic. Customers who plan to sip and go at Boutique Crenn will be encouraged to bring their own coffee cups, says spokeswoman Kate Bittman.
On a bigger scale, the Blue Bottle coffeehouse chain, which goes through about 15,000 to-go cups a month at its 70 U.S. locations, says it wants to "show our guests and the world that we can eliminate disposable cups."
Blue Bottle is starting small with plans to stop using paper cups at two of its San Francisco area branches in 2020, as part of a pledge to go "zero waste" by the end of next year. Coffee to-go customers will have to bring their own mug or pay a deposit for a reusable cup, which they can keep or return for a refund. The deposit fee will likely be between $3 and $5, the company said.
Blue Bottle's pilot program will help guide the company on how to expand the idea nationwide, CEO Bryan Meehan said in a statement.
"We expect to lose some business," he said. "We know some of our guests won't like it — and we're prepared for that."
Larger coffee and fast-food chains around the U.S. are feeling a sense of urgency to be more environmentally friendly, and will no doubt be watching, said Bridget Croke, of New York-based recycling investment firm Closed Loop Partners, which is working with Starbucks and McDonald's to develop an eco-friendly alternative to the disposable coffee cup.
Despite the name, today's conventional paper cups for hot drinks aren't made solely from paper. They also have plastic linings that prevent leakage but make them hard to recycle, Croke said. She says it's unlikely large national chains will banish disposable cups, in the immediate term, or persuade all customers to bring mugs, so they're looking for other solutions.
Starbucks and McDonald's chipped in $10 million to a partnership with Closed Loop to develop the "single-use cup of the future" that is recyclable and compostable.
"They know there are business risks to not solving these problems. And the cup is the tip of the spear for them," said Croke, adding that Blue Bottle's choice of San Francisco for its test run is clearly the right market.
Starbucks, which has more than 15,000 U.S. cafes and about 16,000 internationally, plans to test newly designed recyclable cups in five cities next year: San Francisco, Seattle, New York, Vancouver and London, spokeswoman Noelle Novoa said.
California cities have long been leaders in recycling and passing laws to encourage eco-friendly habits.
This year, the state became the first to ban restaurants from automatically handing out plastic straws with drinks. It was also the first, in 2014, to prohibit stores from providing disposable plastic grocery bags to shoppers, and bags at checkout now cost 10 cents.
Also this year, San Francisco International Airport became the nation's first major airport to stop selling water in plastic bottles. Water is now sold in glass bottles and aluminum cans, and travelers are encouraged to bring their own empty bottles to fill up for free.
Starting in January, cafes and restaurants in Berkeley will charge 25 cents for disposable cups, and San Francisco is considering similar legislation.
Anticipating the fee, a group of about a dozen Berkeley cafes teamed up in a mug-sharing program, where customers can rent a stainless steel cup from one cafe and drop it off at any of the others. Vessel, the Colorado start-up that provides the cups, has a similar program running in Boulder.
Many coffee drinkers in the San Francisco area are taking Blue Bottle's announcement in stride.
"Of course it's a good idea," said freelance writer Tracy Schroth, at a Blue Bottle cafe in Oakland. "It's such a small step to ask people to bring their own cup. People just have to get into the mindset."
At a Blue Bottle in San Francisco, electrician Jeff Michaels said he does love the coffee but doesn't want to pay more if he forgets a mug.
"I paid almost $7 for this coffee," Michaels said, sipping a cafe mocha. "How much are people willing to pay for a coffee?"
Small-cafe owner Kedar Korde is optimistic that one day it will become trendy for coffee drinkers to carry around reusable mugs, just like stainless steel water bottles have become a must-have accessory in the San Francisco area.
Korde's Perch Cafe in Oakland ditched paper and plastic cups in September, along with lids and straws.
"We now offer a glass jar that comes in a 12 ounce (350 milliliters) or 16 ounce (470 milliliters) size," Korde said. Customers put down a 50 cent deposit and can return it for a refund or keep it and get 25 cents off future drinks. The cafe also sells 50 cent reusable sleeves for the jars.
Korde says he's been surprised by how quickly customers have adapted. He was inspired to make the change after his 9-year-old daughter's school did a cleanup project at Lake Merritt, across from his cafe, and found their disposable cups in the water.
His daughter joked that she shouldn't have to clean her room if he couldn't keep his stuff out of the lake, but he took it more seriously.
"We're a small coffee shop. We're not going to save the world," Korde said. But at least "our cups are no longer winding up in the lake."