Gaseous planet with same mass as Earth is discovered by scientists.


KOI-314c, 200 light years away, is 60% larger than Earth, with a thick gaseous atmosphere, orbiting a red dwarf star
Gaseous planet discovered

Earth’s gassy ‘twin’ has been discovered in another solar system 200 light years away.

The planet, known as KOI-314c, weighs the same as Earth but is 60% larger, leading scientists to suspect it has a thick gaseous atmosphere.

It orbits a dim red dwarf star at such a close distance that temperatures on its surface could be as high as 104C – too hot for most forms of life on Earth.

KOI-314C is only 30% more dense than water. This suggests that the world is enveloped by a blanket of hydrogen and helium hundreds of miles thick.

Scientists believe it may have started life as a mini-Neptune before some of its atmospheric gases were blasted away by intense radiation from the parent star.

Lead astronomer Dr David Kipping, from the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics in the US, said: “This planet might have the same mass as Earth, but it is certainly not Earth-like.

“It proves that there is no clear dividing line between rocky worlds like Earth and fluffier planets like water worlds or gas giants.”

The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Washington DC.

To weigh KOI-314c, the scientists used a new technique called transit timing variations (TTV), which only works when more than one planet orbits a star.

The two planets tug on each other, slightly altering the time they take to cross or “transit” the star’s face. Analysing the way the planetary wobbles affect light coming from the star makes it possible to calculate their mass.

KOI-314c’s companion world is similar to it in size but weighs four times more than Earth.

The new discovery was made by chance as scientists scoured data from the Kepler space telescope looking for evidence of moons rather than planets.

“When we noticed this planet showed transit timing variations, the signature was clearly due to the other planet in the system and not a moon,” said Kipping.

“At first we were disappointed it wasn’t a moon, but then we soon realised it was an extraordinary measurement.”

 

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These heat maps reveal where we feel love, anger, shame & sadness on our bodies.


Scientists have conclusively proven that love gives you the warm fuzzies and sadness makes you feel blue.

A team of Finnish researchers have created heat maps of where and how emotions are experienced on the human body. The goal of the study was to find out if there is a consistent connection, across various demographic groups and geographical regions, between what we feel and the physical sensation of that feeling.

“Even though we are often consciously aware of our current emotional state, such as anger or happiness, the mechanisms giving rise to these subjective sensations have remained unresolved. Here we used a topographical self-report tool to reveal that different emotional states are associated with topographically distinct and culturally universal bodily sensations; these sensations could underlie our conscious emotional experiences,” the findings said.

The study asked 773 participants to color bodily regions where they felt activity increasing or decreasing while viewing stimulus, such as emotional words, stories, movies, or facial expression. They were prompted with six “basic” emotions and seven “complex” emotions, as well as a neutral state.

Yellow indicates the strongest amount of activity, followed by red, black, dark blue and light blue at the bottom, for a deadening of emotion.

Happiness shows yellow and red coloring all over, with the strongest feelings in the head and chest. Love is strongest of all the emotions, with yellow filling in the head, chest, and groin region. Unlike happiness, we apparently don’t feel love in our legs.

Depression is also experienced across the body, with the head and limbs showing up as various shades of blue. Interestingly the depressed stomach feels neutral. Sadness, in contrast, is dark blue on the arms and legs, but the head and chest show red.

Shame and anxiety are experienced all over the body as well, with warm colors in the head and chest, and blue colors in the legs. Surprise doesn’t look that different from shame, and envy — like surprise — shows up as red in the head and chest, and dark blue in the legs. Contempt and envy resemble each other, although contempt is strong in the head and only felt in the groin area on the bottom half.

Fear and disgust manifest as warm and hot colors in the head through the stomach. Fear is felt more in the chest, while disgust is stronger in our mouth and stomach. Interestingly, the pride body map resembles happiness, love, and anger in its yellow across the head and chest.

The study says that numerous studies before it established that emotions prepare us for external challenges by adjusting our bodies to respond. These assume that our bodies react, thus triggering emotional feelings that will affect our behavior. However, it is still uncertain whether “the bodily changes associated with different emotions are specific enough to serve as the basis for discrete emotional feelings.”

“We propose that consciously felt emotions are associated with culturally universal, topographically distinct bodily sensations that may support the categorical experience of different emotions,” the report said.

Beyond being interesting, this research could have significant implications for the psychology, serving as a “biomarker for emotional disorders.”

 

As Fukushima radiation makes landfall on California beaches, Natural News announces lab to test foods for radioactive cesium-137


 Radiation from Fukushima has reached the shores of California. This has beenconfirmed by county officials in Half Moon Bay, California, who conducted radiation tests and found a 500% increase in radiation on the beaches there.

Alarm has been raised over the past few days thanks to amateur videos like this one showing alarmingly high Geiger counter readings on the beaches. “The videos follow other alarming news last month that starfish were mysteriously disintegrating along the West Coast, a trend that has not been linked yet to any cause,” writes the Half Moon Bay Review.

It has been confirmed that TEPCO lied about radiation readings at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plants. Actual radiation releases were as much as 18 times higher than “official” reports.

It is now widely believed by nuclear experts that radioactive elements such as Cesium-137 have entered the food chain in the Pacific Ocean and have begun to arrive on the shores of California. This means seafood caught in the Pacific Ocean must now be tested for radiation.

Natural News announces atomic spectroscopy lab to test for radioactive isotopes such as Cesium-137

Today Natural News announced the launch of its new laboratory project and the food science subdomain http://labs.naturalnews.com

Using high-end atomic spectroscopy instrumentation and working in partnership with the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center, Natural News is now publishing elemental analysis data on a large number of foods, superfoods, groceries, herbs and even nutritional supplements.

The elements currently being published at Natural News Labs are:
• Aluminum
• Copper
• Arsenic
• Cadmium
• Mercury
• Lead
• Uranium (atomic mass of 238)
• Cesium (atomic mass of 133)

In addition, Natural News is also publishing the Metals Retention Factor (MRF) and Metals Capturing Capacity (MCC) numbers pioneered by Mike Adams. These numbers describe the ability of foods to either retain toxic elements contained in their composition or attract and bind with toxic elements found in digestive acid (gastric acid).

Testing foods for radiation

Radioactive Cesium-137 is the most prominent and dangerous element found in foods in the aftermath of nuclear catastrophes or nuclear weapons. Cesium-137 has a half-life of 30 years, and it persists in soils for 200 – 300 years. Cesium-137 mimics potassium in plant and human biology, so it goes everywhere that potassium goes (i.e. every single cell of your body).

Directly testing foods for radioactive Cesium-137 is extremely difficult with atomic spectroscopy because Cesium-137 has the same atomic mass as Barium. Thus, atomic spectroscopy instrumentation is unable to distinguish between the two. However, Adams has combined atomic spectroscopy analysis with laboratory-grade benchtop timed radiation decay meters to arrive at a highly accurate methodology which can determine both a food’s current level of radioactivity as well as that food’s natural affinity for absorbing the Cesium element. These two numbers detail the “radioactivity profile” of a particular food substance.

Natural News is now testing fish products harvested from the Pacific Ocean for their radioactivity and Cesium affinity profiles. Results will be published and made freely available at Labs.NaturalNews.com

In addition, Adams is also searching through hundreds of botanicals and dietary substances to identify substances which have strong ionic affinity for Cesium atoms. This research is well underway, and results will be published on Natural News.

“We have already documented the fact that Hawaiian Spirulina has an extremely high natural affinity for Uranium, capturing over 89% of the free Uranium in our digestion simulation tests. The Metals Capturing Capacity of Hawaiian Spirulina for Uranium-238 is 15.2, meaning each gram of Hawaiian Spirulina binds with 15.2 micrograms of Uranium.”

Spirulina’s affinity for Cesium, however, was much lower, clocking in at an MCC of only 2.6. “We are confident we can identify other dietary substances with higher affinity for Cesium, but the search is tedious and expensive,” Adams explained.

Space station life ‘to be extended’


Science correspondent, BBC News

ISS
Construction of the ISS began in 1998. Further modules are expected to be attached in future.
Nasa has won White House backing to extend the life of the International Space Station for a further four years, until 2024.

Construction of the ISS began in 1998 and is a joint venture between the US, Russia, Canada, Japan, and states in the European Space Agency (Esa).

For the extension to happen, it will likely need the partners’ support.

Their current commitments run to 2020, but many engineers believe the station could work safely until at least 2028.

Bill Gerstenmaier, the associate administrator at Nasa with responsibility for the station, told reporters that it was feasible to continue operating the ISS if some partners decided not to stay on board, but added that he expected them all to come through, even if the agreements took a few years to put in place: “I think the idea is that 10 years from today is a pretty far-reaching, pretty strategic decision,” he said.

“We have talked to the partners about this… They were involved in all the hardware studies. In general, they see this as a positive step moving forward.”

Certainly, Germany, Europe’s biggest contributor to the ISS project is keen to see the $100bn orbiting platform operate for many years into the future.

Jan Woerner, the chairman of the German space agency (DLR), said: “Germany is eager to use the ISS until 2020 and beyond. Full stop. This is the German position and we hope the other [European] member states will make the commitment and give the money for that.”

Prof Woerner was speaking in Washington DC where his national agency and Esa announced technical tie-ups with the Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), which is developing a mini-space shuttle to carry astronauts to and from the ISS.

At the moment, the station is solely reliant on Russian Soyuz capsules to rotate the platform’s six-person crew. Nasa is therefore seeding American companies, including Sierra Nevada, to help them design and build alternatives.

The mini-shuttle is known as the Dream Chaser and would launch atop an Atlas rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida.

It is envisaged that the vehicle will make its maiden voyage into orbit in 2016, in an autonomous configuration; and then fly its first manned mission in 2017.

With no crew transport capability of their own, DLR and Esa are keen to explore areas where they could cooperate with SNC on its Dream Chaser programme.

“The first one is the docking mechanism – the mechanism that would connect the Dream Chaser to the space station,” said Esa’s Elena Grifoni Winters. “And the other area we are looking at is crew displays and crew aids.”

In addition, Germany has heatshield technology that it believes could protect the vehicle on re-entry equally as well as SNC’s chosen material but which would also offer significant weight savings. These savings might then allow the Dream Chaser to carry heavier payloads into space, said Prof Woerner.

He then put forward the idea that Europe itself could launch the mini-shuttle on its next version of the Ariane 5 rocket, which flies out of Kourou in French Guiana.

“It’s even possible with some minor changes to the Dream Chaser to launch it within the fairing (the clam-shell covering at the top of the rocket), but the Dream Chaser would need to be changed a little bit because the wings are a bit too big. Or one puts it on top of the Ariane 5 as it will be on the Atlas, but then we have to re-calculate all the aerodynamics,” he told BBC News.

The Ariane 5 was originally conceived as a human launcher, and Europe spent considerable funds designing its own mini-shuttle called Hermes to go on top of the rocket. Budget constraints eventually led to the Hermes project being cancelled.

Dream Chaser
A full-sized model of the Dream Chaser has begun flight tests

Make Even Imperfect Fluorescent Probes Count, Molecule by Molecule


  • With the discovery of photoactivatable fluorescent proteins and the development of super-resolution microscopy, scientists would seem to have everything they need to commence single-molecule counting. Scientists, however, are aware that single-molecule counting is limited by a key uncertainty: photoactivation efficiency. Unless a scientist knows the percentage of fluorescent proteins that actually become bright (and detectable) when exposed to laser light, under- or over-counting remains a possibility, and relating the number of counted fluorescent proteins to actual protein stoichiometry becomes difficult.

    Make Even Imperfect Fluorescent Probes Count, Molecule by Molecule

    Now, as a result of a study carried out at the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO), it may be possible for scientists to determine protein stoichiometry with confidence. An ICFO research group led by Nest Fellow Melike Lakadamyali, Ph.D., was able to quantify the photoactivation efficiency of all the known “irreversibly photoswitching fluorescent proteins” and establish a proper detailed reference framework for determining protein stoichiometry.

    The researchers used a nanotemplate of known stoichiometry (the human glycine receptor expressed in Xenopus oocytes) and stepwise photobleaching or single-molecule counting photoactivated localization microcopy (PALM) to determine the photoactivation efficiency of fluorescent proteins mEos2, mEos3.1, mEos3.2, Dendra2, mClavGR2, mMaple, PA-GFP, and PA-mCherry. The researchers published the details of their work January 5 in Nature Methods, in an article entitled “Single molecule evaluation of fluorescent protein photoactivation efficiency using an in vivo nanotemplate.”

    By measuring the photoactivation efficiency as well as other photophysical factors such as blinking, the researchers determined which proteins are best suited for molecular counting and found that none are perfect (most fluorescent proteins fail to photoactivate about 50% of the time). Therefore, they emphasized the importance of taking into account the photoactivation efficiency to correctly interpret the quantitative information.

    “At the moment we have to work with imperfect fluorescent proteins and take into account the limitations when quantifying protein stoichiometry,” explained Dr. Lakadamyali. “However, now that there is a robust way to characterize photoactivation efficiency, future fluorescent protein engineering work will likely focus on optimizing this parameter for generating fluorescent proteins better suited for molecular counting using super-resolution.”

    In their article, the authors indicate that when the stoichiometry is unknown but conserved, it should, in principle, be possible to distinguish among monomeric, dimeric, and trimeric stoichiometry using fluorescent proteins. “Although we focus here on single-molecule counting, photoactivation efficiency has other important implications,” the authors continued. “For example, a percentage of the labeled structure (for example, the human glycine receptor) is completely undetected. Finally, photoactivation efficiency also affects quantification of protein colocalization in multicolor experiments.”

 

US polar vortex may be example of global warming


Deep freeze gripping America may be tied to shrinking Arctic sea ice caused by manmade climate change, reports Climate Central

Ice builds up along Lake Michigan as temperatures dipped well below zero on January 6, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. Photograph: Scott Olson/Getty Images

While the ongoing cold snap is breaking records from Minnesota to Florida, it will not go down in history as the most significant Arctic outbreak in U.S. history, not even by a longshot. Scientists said the deep freeze gripping the U.S. does not indicate a halt or reversal in global warming trends, either. In fact, it may be a counterintuitive example of global warming in action.

Researchers told Climate Central that the weather pattern driving the extreme cold into the U.S. — with a weaker polar vortex moving around the Arctic like a slowing spinning top, eventually falling over and blowing open the door to the Arctic freezer — fits with other recently observed instances of unusual fall and wintertime jet stream configurations.

Such weather patterns, which can feature relatively mild conditions in the Arctic at the same time dangerously cold conditions exist in vast parts of the lower 48, may be tied to the rapid warming and loss of sea ice in the Arctic due, in part, to manmade climate change.

Arctic warming is altering the heat balance between the North Pole and the equator, which is what drives the strong current of upper level winds in the northern hemisphere commonly known as the jet stream. Some studies show that if that balance is altered then some types of extreme weather events become more likely to occur.

During the past week, while much of North America has seen frigid temperatures, weather maps show a strip of orange and red hues, indicating above-average temperatures, across parts of the Arctic, Scandinavia, Europe and Asia.

The forecast high temperature in Fairbanks, Alaska, on Monday was in the 20s Fahrenheit — warmer than many locations in Georgia and Alabama. That fits in with the so-called “Arctic Paradox” or “Warm Arctic, Cold Continents” pattern that researchers first identified several years ago. Such patterns bring comparatively mild conditions to the Arctic while places far to the south are thrown into a deep freeze.

“I do think that what has happened in the North America, including the U.S. this winter, so far fits under the paradigm of ‘warm Arctic cold continents,’ ” Judah Cohen, a climate forecaster at Atmospheric and Environmental Research in Massachussetts, said in an email.

The warmth in the Arctic made headlines in early December when the temperature hit 39°F in Prudhoe Bay, north of the Arctic Circle. That was the highest December temperature on record there since at least 1968, according to the National Weather Service.

Cohen published a study in September that found this Arctic paradox pattern has become common in years with low fall sea ice cover and rapidly advancing fall snow cover across parts of Asia, and that there is a likely link between the trends. The paper found the pattern was observed during the winter of 2012-2013, following the lowest fall sea ice extent on record in September 2012.

The Arctic has had a mild winter so far, in part because of an area of high pressure in the North Pacific Ocean that has blocked the flow of weather systems like a stop sign at an intersection, forcing the jet stream northward over western Canada, and then back down to the southeast across the U.S. That favors episodic outbreaks of cold air in the East, Cohen said, but not extended cold.

Jennifer Francis, a researcher at Rutgers University and the most prominent proponent of the hypothesis that Arctic warming is altering the jet stream around the Northern Hemisphere, told Climate Central that while the cold snap is brief in duration, it fits with patterns observed this year and in other recent years.

“The persistence of the pattern seems consistent with an amplified jet stream configuration that we expect to see occur more frequently as the Arctic continues to warm disproportionately,” Francis said in an email.

However, much of the evidence put forward thus far has shown correlations between sea ice loss and particular weather patterns, but has not revealed the direct physical connections and causation between the two, leading many mainstream climate scientists to be skeptical of the work so far.

The state of the science on the links between Arctic warming and weather extremes in the midlatitudes can be likened to a court case. Scientists have gathered reams of mainly circumstantial evidence to prove a suspect’s guilt, or in this case, the existence of an Arctic warming link. But such evidence, which comes in the form of published studies in peer reviewed scientific journals, may not be enough to convince a jury quite yet.

Regardless of the strength of the Arctic connection, global average temperature trends tell a clear and compelling story of a warming planet, which one short-lived cold streak is not going to alter.

Since 1970, winters have been warming rapidly in the majority of the lower 48 states. The five most rapidly warming states, with winter average temperatures increasing by more than 4°F, were Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wisconsin, according to a 2013 Climate Central analysis. Many of those same states are bearing the brunt of the ongoing cold outbreak, but had the climate not warmed so much during the past few decades, it’s possible that this event would be even colder in those areas.

November, the most recent month for which global data is available, was the warmest such month on record, all but guaranteeing that 2013 will go down on record as one of the top 10 warmest years, if not in the top 5. In Australia, 2013 was the continent’s hottest yearon record.

Russia had its warmest November since records began there in 1891, with some parts of the country, including Siberia and the Arctic islands in the Kara Sea, seeing temperatures that were more than 14°F above the typical monthly average. In contrast, not a single region of the world was record cold for the month.

November also brought the string of consecutive above-average months on the planet to 345, with it being the 37th straight November with above-average temperatures compared to the 20th century average. That means that anyone younger than 28 has never experienced a colder-than-average month, globally speaking. The last below-average November global temperature was in November 1976, and the last below-average global temperature for any month was February 1985, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

As unusual as the current cold is for the U.S., the global picture shows that January is not on course to break that 28-year warm streak, either. Even the U.S. may end up having a warmer-than-average month, if the latest outlooks prove correct.

 

Piggy-backing proteins ride white blood cells to wipe out metastasizing cancer.


Cornell biomedical engineers have discovered a new way to destroy metastasizing cancer cells traveling through the bloodstream – lethal invaders that are linked to almost all cancer deaths – by hitching cancer-killing proteins along for a ride on life-saving white blood cells.

“These circulating  are doomed,” said Michael King, Cornell professor of biomedical engineering and the study’s senior author. “About 90 percent of cancer deaths are related to metastases, but now we’ve found a way to dispatch an army of killer white  that cause apoptosis – the cancer cell’s own death – obliterating them from the bloodstream. When surrounded by these guys, it becomes nearly impossible for the cancer cell to escape.”

Metastasis is the spread of a cancer cells to other parts of the body. Surgery and radiation are effective at treating primary tumors, but difficulty in detecting metastatic cancer cells has made treatment of the spreading cancers problematic, say the scientists.

King and his colleagues injected human blood samples, and later mice, with two proteins: E-selectin (an adhesive) and TRAIL (Tumor Necrosis Factor Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand). The TRAIL protein joined with the E-selectin protein was able to stick to leukocytes – white blood cells – abundant in the bloodstream. When a cancer cell comes into contact with TRAIL, which is nearly unavoidable in the frenzied flow of blood, the cancer cell essentially kills itself.

“The mechanism is surprising and unexpected in that this repurposing of white blood cells in flowing blood is more effective than directly targeting the cancer cells with liposomes or soluble protein,” say the authors.

In the laboratory, King and his colleagues tested this concept’s efficacy.

When treating cancer cells with the proteins in saline, they found a 60 percent success rate in killing the cancer cells. In normal laboratory conditions, the saline lacks  to serve as a carrier for the adhesive and killer proteins. Once the proteins were added to flowing blood that mimicked human-body conditions, however, the success rate in killing the cancer cells jumped to nearly 100 percent.

 

Cadmium toxicity causes bone cells to self-destruct, reduces bone density and leads to disease.


Two journal-published studies, one from China in 2004 and the other from the USA in 2007, reported that cadmium exposure effected measured reductions in bone density, osteoporosis, increased fractures in areas where cadmium pollution is high, and renal (kidney) dysfunction.

The Chinese study was epidemiological, testing subjects in a heavily cadmium-polluted area and comparing them to others in an area relatively free of cadmium pollution. [2] The USA study accepted bone damage findings and decided to find out what the mechanics of cadmium-poisoning with bone disease could be. [3]

The USA study noted that apoptosis (the normal death of a cell to allow new cell generation) was induced prematurely by cadmium, which disrupts the normal life/death cellular cycle, causing an imbalance of bone formation and leading to a cascade of signals that bring about bone disease.

Both study abstracts are displayed in Science.NaturalNews.com, a feature of the Natural News site that displays a vast array of scientific studies.

 

A ubiquitous source of cadmium pollution

Mentioning this brings on howls of protests and science-based opinions from deniers who refute obvious differences in contrails and chemtrails. [4]

But visual reports of chemtrails and trapped heavy metal measurements from the particles that drift to Earth have originated from North America, Mexico, most of Europe, the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

The most commonly reported high levels of heavy metal particulates, which can be breathed in, includealuminum, barium and cadmium. These reports also come from areas that don’t have industrial pollution sources in the immediate area, but where aerosol spray geo-engineering (chemtrails) often occur.

cadmium

Retired neurosurgeon and author Dr. Russell Blaylock has expressed concerns over the neurological impact of aluminum nanoparticles, which he concedes are being sprayed from high altitude aircraft. [5]

There are two articles in the sources below featuring trap-collected measurements of heavy metalsfrom often aerosol-sprayed Arizona and British Columbia, Canada, after chemtrails were spotted. The Arizona collection was from an air trap, and the BC Canadian collection was from rainwater. Both samples were sent to independent labs. The results reported very high toxic levels of cadmium, aluminum, barium and others. [6] [7]

The only resistance to this madness is detoxing individually and often. You can search for heavy metal detox methods on Natural News here (http://www.naturalnews.com).

See heavy metals lab results for off-the-shelf foods, superfoods, herbs, supplements and more at:
http://labs.naturalnews.com

Sources for this article include:

[1] http://www.livestrong.com

[2]http://science.naturalnews.com

[3]http://science.naturalnews.com

[4] http://chemtrailsnorthnz.wordpress.com

[5] http://ymlp.com

[6] http://rense.com

[7] http://www.radicalpress.com

[8] http://www.natural-herbal-remedies.net

[9] http://gaia-health.com

‘Sticky balls’ stop cancer spreading


Cancer

Breast cancers can spread to other tissues in the body

Cancer-killing “sticky balls” can destroy tumour cells in the blood and may prevent cancers spreading, early research suggests.

The most dangerous and deadly stage of a tumour is when it spreads around the body.

Scientists at Cornell University, in the US, have designed nanoparticles that stay in the bloodstream and kill migrating cancer cells on contact.

They said the impact was “dramatic” but there was “a lot more work to be done”.

One of the biggest factors in life expectancy after being diagnosed with cancer is whether the tumour has spread to become a metastatic cancer.

“About 90% of cancer deaths are related to metastases,” said lead researcher Prof Michael King.

“Start Quote

The results are quite remarkable”

Prof Michael KingLead researcher

On the trail

The team at Cornell devised a new way of tackling the problem.

They attached a cancer-killing protein called Trail, which has already been used in cancer trials, and other sticky proteins to tiny spheres or nanoparticles.

When these sticky spheres were injected into the blood, they latched on to white blood cells.

Tests showed that in the rough and tumble of the bloodstream, the white blood cells would bump into any tumour cells which had broken off the main tumour and were trying to spread.

The report in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciencesshowed the resulting contact with the Trail protein then triggered the death of the tumour cells.

Prof King told the BBC: “The data shows a dramatic effect: it’s not a slight change in the number of cancer cells.

“The results are quite remarkable actually, in human blood and in mice. After two hours of blood flow, they [the tumour cells] have literally disintegrated.”

He believes the nanoparticles could be used before surgery or radiotherapy, which can result in tumour cells being shed from the main tumour.

It could also be used in patients with very aggressive tumours to prevent them spreading.

However, much more safety testing in mice and larger animals will be needed before any attempt at a human trial is made.

So far the evidence suggests the system has no knock-on effect for the immune system and does not damage other blood cells or the lining of blood vessels.

But Prof King cautioned: “There’s a lot of work to be done. Various breakthroughs are needed before this could be a benefit to patients.”

BMW demos ‘drifting’ self-drive car


BMW has shown off self-driving cars that can “drift” around bends and slalom between cones.

The modified 2-Series Coupe and 6-Series Gran Coupe are able to hurtle round a racetrack and control a power slide without any driver intervention.

Using 360-degree radar, ultrasonic sensors and cameras, the cars sense and adapt to their surroundings.

BMW demonstrated its latest autonomous driving technology at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

It is just one of several car manufacturers experimenting with the technology – Japan’s Toyota has also been demonstrating its autonomous car at CES.

And Bosch, better known for its white goods and power tools, showed off its smartphone-controlled self-parking technology at the show.

Accident-prone

With about 50,000 road fatalities in the US each year, carmakers are hoping sensor- and software-controlled cars could prove less accident-prone than cars driven by humans.

BMW power sliding
The driver isn’t touching the pedals or steering wheel as BMW’s self-driving car controls a power slide at race speeds

One 2013 study by the Eno Center for Transportation suggested that if 10% of cars on US roads were autonomous this could reduce fatalities by about 1,000.

A number of driver assistance technologies are already being incorporated into the latest cars, from lane-drifting warnings to self-parking.

Currently California, Florida and Nevada have licensed autonomous vehicles to be tested on their public roads, and Google’s fleet of 24 robot Lexus SUVs (sports utility vehicles) have clocked up about 500,000 miles of unassisted driving so far without any reported mishaps.

Autonomous vehicles are not yet allowed on European roads and we are still a long way from seeing driverless cars frequenting our streets and motorways.

But as the number of successful demonstrations grows, the cultural hurdles are probably greater than the technological ones.