Dirty diesel.


http://www.bmj.com/content/355/bmj.i6726

Mysterious illness tied to marijuana use on the rise in states with legal weed.


For more than two years, Lance Crowder was having severe abdominal pain and vomiting, and no local doctor could figure out why. Finally, an emergency room physician in Indianapolis had an idea.

“The first question he asked was if I was taking hot showers to find relief. When he asked me that question, I basically fell into tears because I knew he had an answer,” Crowder said.

The answer was cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, or CHS. It’s caused by heavy, long-term use of various forms of marijuana. For unclear reasons, the nausea and vomiting are relieved by hot showers or baths.

“They’ll often present to the emergency department three, four, five different times before we can sort this out,” said Dr. Kennon Heard, an emergency room physician at the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, Colorado.

 lapook-marijuana-1228en-transfer2.jpg

He co-authored a study showing that since 2009, when medical marijuana became widely available, emergency room visits diagnoses for CHS in two Colorado hospitals nearly doubled. In 2012, the state legalized recreational marijuana.

“It is certainly something that, before legalization, we almost never saw,” Heard said. “Now we are seeing it quite frequently.”

Outside of Colorado, when patients do end up in an emergency room, the diagnosis is often missed. Partly because doctors don’t know about CHS, and partly because patients don’t want to admit to using a substance that’s illegal.

CHS can lead to dehydration and kidney failure, but usually resolves within days of stopping drug use. That’s what happened with Crowder, who has been off all forms of marijuana for seven months.

“Now all kinds of ambition has come back. I desire so much more in life and, at 37 years old, it’s a little late to do it, but better now than never,”he said.

CHS has only been recognized for about the past decade, and nobody knows exactly how many people suffer from it. But as more states move towards the legalization of marijuana, emergency room physicians like Dr. Heard are eager to make sure both doctors and patients have CHS on their radar.

Obesity link to brain structure in explosive medical study


Researchers said the findings could explain why overweight people make poor diet choices 

Overweight people are less intelligent than people who are do not have weight problems , a provocative study claims.

Overweight men and women have less grey and white matter in key areas of the brain, it suggests. They also have greater impulsiveness and “altered reward processing”, the study said.

The researchers said that their findings could explain why overweight people make poor diet choices – they do not have the mental capacity to control themselves.

The theory is likely to prove controversial as weight loss campaigners have emphasised that the issues behind weight problems vary from individual to individual.

The research involved sophisticated brain images of 32 adults – 16 men and 16 women – selected from the US city of Baltimore, in Maryland.

Anyone who had a history of brain damage, substance abuse or mental illness was excluded from the group.

Outlining the object of the study, the authors said: “It has been suggested that body composition itself might somehow affect the neural systems that underlie cognition, motivation, self-control and salience processing, which would in turn affect one’s ability to make better lifestyle choices, forgoing immediate and/or highly salient rewards for the sake of longer-term health and wellness goals.”

The researchers measured Body Mass Index, a commonly-used measure of how overweight a person is, and body fat percentages and compared them to differences in brain structure and function.

Lead researcher Chase Figley, an assistant professor in the department of radiology at the University of Manitoba, said that the brain scans were “very thorough”.

He said they covered changes across the whole brain, but also “specific networks”.

In particular he was interested in the “salience network”, which he described as the “seat of motivation, willpower, and the ability to persevere through physical and emotional challenges”.

The results showed that there was “no significant difference” in terms of white matter between people who had a normal weight and people who were overweight.

These changes could further affect the ability of overweight individuals to exert self-control and maintain healthy lifestyle choicesProf Chase Figley

In a surprise twist, people with a higher BMI actually had slightly more grey matter overall.

However, looking at specific networks on the brain a different picture began to emerge. In particular, heavier and fatter people had less white matter in the salience network.

There were also differences in the dorsal striatum, an area of the brain involved with habitual behaviour.

Professor Figley told the National Post, a Canadian newspaper: “It stands to reason that these changes could further affect the ability of overweight individuals to exert self-control and maintain healthy lifestyle choices.”

He added that it was not clear if the brain differences predispose certain individuals to becoming fat, or vice versa.

However, he said: “There are previous studies that imply elevated body fat can cause these sorts of brain changes.”

Prime Minister David Cameron says he needs to lose weight

Two-thirds of men and 57 per of women in Britain are categorised as being overweight or obese, the highest such rates in Europe. Some 26 per cent of boys and 29 per cent of girls are overweight or obese, compared to 17.5 per cent and 21 per cent in 1980.

The study was reported in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience.

 What kind of fat are you?

SKINNY FAT

Characterised by:

  • Poor diet and exercise regime
  • Healthy or low BMI
  • Lack of muscle tone
  • Poor metabolic health (high-blood lipids, high blood glucose, visceral fat). Visceral fat is normally present when there is a large build-up of fat around the abdominal area.
  • In more extreme cases, visceral fat can coat the internal organs, leading to serious cardiovascular health problems and diabetes.

How to tackle it:

  • Identify problem areas by measuring body fat using callipers; a DEXA scan can reveal the presence of visceral fat.
  • Building muscle is key: an exercise programme should stress cardiovascular and muscle resistance.
  • Diet should then support the exercise demands: make sure you are fuelled properly if you’re exercising (carb intake should match exercise demands).

BURNT-OUT FAT

Characterised by:

  • Constant tiredness
  •  Interrupted sleep patterns or difficulty dropping off
  • Increased appetite and carbohydrate and sugar cravings
  • Tiredness can negatively affect metabolism by causing shifts in “hunger hormones”.

How to tackle it:

  • Cutting down on alcohol will help to regulate your sleep patterns.
  • Add protein to every meal – this will help to control your body’s insulin levels by slowing down your rate of digestion.
  • Introduce a sleep-inducing wind-down time to the end of the day: banish distractions, sip a caffeine-free herbal tea. Have a relaxing bath, read a book in bed.
  • Supplements that can help with sleep include magnesium, Lactium, taurine and vitamin B.
  • Introducing regular cardio and weight-bearing exercises will promote a healthier sleep pattern, as well as help you build muscle.

STRESSED FAT

Characterised by:

  • Inability to lose weight, even when dieting; weight accumulation around the tummy.
  • Stress fat is normally related to burnt-out fat, as they have a knock-on effect to one another – all hormones in the body work together as part of the endocrine system.

How to tackle it:

  • Stop dieting: if you deprive yourself, your body will think it’s being starved, which raises stress levels, contributing to fat storage
  • Eat little and often to control blood sugar fluctuations and eliminate refined carbohydrates, sugar and alcohol.
  • Sip herbal tea instead of caffeine (a stimulant makes you more stressed, causing more release of cortisol, thus more fat around the middle).
  • Food also plays an important role in stress relief. Making healthy food choices – balanced protein, fresh fruit such as raspberries, blueberries and cherries, and vegetables – will aid a sense of wellbeing. Avocado, asparagus and nuts are good healthy, stress-relieving foods to include.

IBM Creates A Molecule That Could Destroy All Viruses


One macromolecule to rule them all, from Ebola to Zika and the flu

flu virus

The influenza virus.

CDC/ Dr. Erskine. L. Palmer; Dr. M. L. Martin via Flickr

Finding a cure for viruses like Ebola, Zika, or even the flu is a challenging task. Viruses are vastly different from one another, and even the same strain of a virus can mutate and change–that’s why doctors give out a different flu vaccine each year. But a group of researchers at IBM and the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology in Singapore sought to understand what makes all viruses alike. Using that knowledge, they’ve come up with a macromolecule that may have the potential to treat multiple types of viruses and prevent them from infecting us. The work was published recently in the journal Macromolecules.

For their study, the researchers ignored the viruses’ RNA and DNA, which could be key areas to target, but because they change from virus to virus and also mutate, it’s very difficult to target them successfully.

Instead, the researchers focused on glycoproteins, which sit on the outside of all viruses and attach to cells in the body, allowing the viruses to do their dirty work by infecting cells and making us sick. Using that knowledge, the researchers created a macromolecule, which is basically one giant molecule made of smaller subunits. This macromolecule has key factors that are crucial in fighting viruses. First, it’s able to attract viruses towards itself using electrostatic charges. Once the virus is close, the macromolecule attaches to the virus and makes the virus unable to attach to healthy cells. Then it neutralizes the virus’ acidity levels, which makes it less able to replicate.

As an alternative way to fight, the macromolecule also contains a sugar called mannose. This sugar attaches to healthy immune cells and forces them closer to the virus so that the viral infection can be eradicated more easily.

The researchers tested out this treatment in the lab on a few viruses, including Ebola and dengue, and they found that the molecule did work as they thought it would: According to the paper, the molecules bound to the glycoproteins on the viruses’ surfaces and reduced the number of viruses. Further, the mannose successfully prevented the virus from infecting immune cells.

This all sounds promising, but the treatment still has a ways to go before it could be used as a disinfectant or even as a potential pill that we could take to prevent and treat viral infections. But it does represent a step in the right direction for treating viruses: figuring out what is similar about all viruses to create a broad spectrum antiviral treatment.

A rare comet is zooming past Earth right now, and you should be able to see it with binoculars.


Forget the New Year’s Eve fireworks, NASA has announced that a comet currently zooming through the inner Solar System will be so bright over the next week that we should be able to see it in the night sky with binoculars.

The comet was first detected by NASA’s NEOWISE mission in October, and its trajectory is currently taking it on a safe pass by Earth as it approaches the Sun. But as it zooms by, it should be so bright between now and January 14 that we’ll be able to see it using just binoculars, and maybe even with the naked eye.

 

The comet, called C/2016 U1 NEOWISE, “has a good chance of becoming visible through a good pair of binoculars, although we can’t be sure because a comet’s brightness is notoriously unpredictable,” said Paul Chodas, manager of NASA’s Centre for Near-Earth Object (NEO) Studies.

According to David Dickinson at Universe Today, “comet C/2016 U1 NEOWISE is set to break binocular +10th magnitude brightness this week, and may just top +6th magnitude (naked eye brightness) in mid-January near perihelion”.

Magnitude brightness refers to how bright an object is in the night sky, and the lower the number, the better. For perspective, Venus is around –4.4 magnitude at maximum brightness ,and the Moon is –12.7 magnitude.

So what can you expect to see? Something a little like this, although slightly further away, seeing as this picture of the comet was taken with a telescope on December 23 in Austria:

2016U120151223blurr 22-1-700x432

Comets are so unpredictable in their visibility because they’re made up of ice, dust, and rocky material, and as they approach the Sun, they tend to heat up rapidly and quickly start shedding material in a glorious dust trail. This change in composition can rapidly change how visible the comets are in the night sky – sometimes they become brighter, and sometimes they go dark.

Researchers still don’t know a lot about comet C/2016 U1 NEOWISE, but they predict that its orbit around the Sun could be up to millions of years long, which means that this might very well be the first time the comet has passed through the inner Solar System. And definitely the last time it’ll get this close to us in our lifetime.

Although the prospect of being able to see a comet with your naked eye as it whizzes past might sound terrifying, don’t worry, comet C/2016 U1 NEOWISE has already made it through the closest pass of Earth on December 13, at a distance of around 106 million km (66 million miles).

This week, it’s around 140 million km (87 million miles) away as it approaches the Sun – around 350 times further away from us than our Moon. So there’s no danger of it hitting us.

But for keen skywatchers, it should put on a hell of a show. If you want to watch it as it whizzes by, the best place to view it from is the Northern Hemisphere next week, and you should look to the southeastern sky shortly before dawn.

“At its brightest, comet C/2016 U1 NEOWISE will pass through the constellations Ophiuchus to Serpens Cauda and Sagittarius, and is best visible in the dawn sky 12 degrees from the Sun at maximum brightness,” explains Universe Today.

The comet will be at its closest point to the Sun on January 14, when it will be just inside the orbit of Mercury before it heads back out to the outer Solar System. That proximity to the Sun will make it harder to see in mid January, but there should be another chance on the last day of the month for Southern Hemisphere dwellers to spot it before it gets too distant.

NASA’s NEOWISE mission has also announced the discovery of another mysterious celestial object passing through our neighbourhood in the coming weeks. The second object, called 2016 WF9, seems to straddle the blurry line between an asteroid and a comet, and scientists aren’t quite sure what to make of it just yet.

Unlike icy comets, asteroids are made up of metal and rocky materials, and so they don’t release dust trails as they approach the Sun. This also seems to be the case for 2016 WF9, but it also appears to have the reflectivity and body structure of a comet.

So far all we know for sure is that 2016 WF9 is pretty large – up to 1 km (0.6 miles) across – and is also relatively dark, with only a small percentage of the light that lands on its surface reflecting back to Earth. Which could explain why we’ve never seen it before.

Unlike comet C/2016 U1, 2016 WF9 passes by our planet pretty regularly. It’s furthest point from the Sun is around Jupiter’s orbit, and over the course of 4.9 years it travels towards the Sun, swinging just inside Earth’s orbit before heading back towards the outer Solar System.

That’s what’s happening this year on February 25, when the object will pass our planet at a distance of nearly 51 million km (32 million miles). For now, that’s not close enough to worry about, but scientists will be keeping a close eye on it in the hopes of learning more about its structure, and whether it might be an issue for Earth in the future. They will hopefully be able to classify it as either a comet or an asteroid, too.

“2016 WF9 could have cometary origins,” said NASA’s Deputy Principal Investigator James “Gerbs” Bauer.

“This object illustrates that the boundary between asteroids and comets is a blurry one; perhaps over time this object has lost the majority of the volatiles that linger on or just under its surface.”

Whatever the case, there’s nothing quite like seeing a comet zoom by our little planetary rock to remind us of just how small – and special – we are in the vast expanse of the Universe. So don’t forget to look up next week.

Real Food Diet Therapy Helps Children With Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis


Digestive issues are running rampant and the modern diet is to blame. Crohn’s disease is one of the most debilitating of these conditions. Of the 1.4 million Americans dealing with IBD today, about 700,000 are suffering from Crohn’s. Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that occurs when an abnormal immune system response leads to chronic inflammation anywhere in the GI or digestive tract — from the mouth to the anus.

A recent study in Science Daily offers a glimmer of hope to Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis sufferers. Researchers from Seattle Children’s Hospital successfully treated children who suffer from these conditions with dietary changes alone.

The dietary changes mandated by this study all fall in the category of common sense. No sugar except for honey, no pasteurized dairy products, no processed foods and no grains. Instead, the children in the study were allowed to consume only nutritional and nourishing whole foods.

That this approach was successful should come as no surprise. The sugar-laden modern diet is to blame for the myriad health problems that plague the western world. Life expectancy is plunging in the US and obesity is on the rise. Poor nutritional choices play an outsized role in these negative health trends.

It can be daunting to navigate the vast amount of dietary information and misinformation that is available online. It is for this reason that I created a convenient and informative nutrition plan. The first step to a healthier diet is to jettison all processed foods from your diet. The convenience and perceived value they provide is entirely illusory. Instead, consume exclusively nourishing whole foods and plenty of healthy fats. Taking control of your health is a transformational journey that starts with a healthy diet.

Assisted Death: Physician Support Continues to Grow


Fifty-seven percent of physicians believe physician-assisted death should be available to terminally ill patients, up from 54% in 2014 and 46% in 2010, according to the Medscape Ethics Report 2016 on end-of-life and other hot-button issues.

The growing majority in medicine that support the practice — also called assisted dying, physician-assisted suicide — mirror public opinion. A Gallup Poll last year found that 68% of Americans favor legalizing physician-assisted death.

And Americans have been doing just that at the ballot box. In November, voters in Coloradopassed a law already on the books in Oregon, Washington, Vermont, and California that allows a physician to prescribe a lethal drug to a terminally ill patient who independently requests it. The patient, who self-administers the drug, must be judged competent and counseled on palliative and hospice care. Physician-assisted death is also legal in Montana, where the supreme court there has declared that state law does not forbid it.

Stuart Youngner, MD, a professor of bioethics and psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio, said the change in physician attitude toward assisted death reflects greater respect for patient autonomy. However, the trend doesn’t necessarily mean supporters of physician-assisted death are ignoring the age-old injunction to “do no harm,” Dr Youngner told Medscape Medical News.

“We’re having a paradigm shift about what’s viewed as harmful,” said Dr Youngner. “People are getting used to the idea that death is sometimes the least worst alternative. It can be a deliverance. We’ve already accepted that legally and culturally when it comes to stopping life-sustaining treatment.”

Another sign of the times, he said, is the growing number of medical societies, such as the California Medical Association, that have dropped their opposition to physician-assisted death and have adopted a neutral position. That’s fine, said Dr Youngner, but these medical societies need to go a step further and offer guidelines, training, and consultation to those members who want to provide this service.

In the survey, support of assisted death is identical among male and female physicians at 57%, but that’s not true for opposition (31% and 26%, respectively). Twelve percent of male and 17% of female physicians answered, “It depends.”

Although physician respondents increasingly favor assisted death as an option for the terminally ill, majority support disappears when someone with irremediable suffering is not on death’s doorstep. Forty-six percent of physicians oppose assisted death when a patient is not terminally ill. “Absolutely not — that would be murder,” said one internist taking the ethics survey. Twenty-eight percent answered yes to this assisted-death question, and another 27% said, “It depends.”

Honesty Was the Clear Winner on Some Questions

The medical profession is changing its mind not just about assisted death but also about abortion, according to the Medscape ethics survey.

The percentage of physician readers who would perform an abortion even if it went against their beliefs increased from 34% in 2010 to 45% in 2016. “I am an advocate for the patient’s desires, not my own,” said one obstetrician-gynecologist. In contrast, 42% of physicians said they would not act against their conscience in this scenario. “Abortion is the same as allowing capital punishment,” an internist noted. “It is equally abhorrent and against the Hippocratic Oath.”

The ethics survey explored other ethical issues, such as what information physicians ought to share with patients. Honesty was the clear winner when readers were asked if, for the sake of obtaining informed consent, they would less aggressively describe the risks of a procedure that they believed would help the patient. Seventy-eight percent said no, they would not downplay the risks, while 12% said yes, they would, with another 10% saying, “It depends.”

Likewise, 72% said they would not withhold information about a terminal diagnosis from a patient to boost his or her morale, and 75% would refuse to withhold information from a competent patient at the family’s request.

However, fewer physicians stood for transparency when they were asked if they would tell a patient before a procedure that they hadn’t performed it very much. Fifty percent said they would reveal their inexperience compared with 20% who wouldn’t. Another 30% answered, “It depends.”

More than 7500 physicians in more than 25 specialties completed the 2016 ethics survey. Sixty-three percent of respondents were women, and 59% were younger than 55 years.

Astronauts may face long term brain damage as a result of prolonged space travel.


IN BRIEF
  • Astronauts who will travel to Mars may have a higher chance of developing dementia and long-term brain damage.
  • Despite this, NASA is optimistic in thinking it can resolve all the issues by the 2030s.

A DANGEROUS TRIP

NASA, SpaceX, Boeing, and many other parties from all over the world are dead set on reaching the next frontier of human spaceflight: Mars. In fact, NASA has started recruiting people who want to experience “The Martian” in real life.

But before you start begging NASA for a chance to go, you may want to consider this new finding. A team from UC Irvine has found that astronauts who will travel to Mars may have a higher chance of developing dementia and long-term brain damage.

405
Scientific Reports/University of California, Irvine

To be fair, this news isn’t really much of a shocker. Astronauts who come from the ISS experience a whole host of bodily changes: reduced bone mass, damage to the central nervous system, sleep disturbance, even excessive flatulence. But scientists found that travel to Mars (which would involve a longer spaceflight than anybody has ever endured) could have a more disastrous effect on the brain and nervous system.

UCI’s Charles Limoli and colleagues saw that rats bombarded with charged particle irradiation had less dendrites and spines in their neurons. Moreover, they found that these effects persisted even six months after bombardment. The team also saw that the bombardment affected the “fear extinction” of the subjects. That means they couldn’t suppress memories of stressful and fearful situations.

That means astronauts would think less clearly when confronted with an emergency or problem in the voyage.

TECHNOLOGY AND BIOLOGY

UCI’s research just underscores the fact that developing the right technology isn’t the only thing we need to get us to the red planet. We also need to understand more about how our bodies perform in space, and consider ways to keep astronauts healthy and alert.

The good news is that this problem has been anticipated by the government, and NASA has been called to add to studies on human health in space. They’ll be taking a look at the top hazards for the three-year, round-trip Mars missions including cancer, cataracts, infertility, and even how extreme isolation could lead to psychological problems. No one wants cabin fever in space.

Despite all this, Inspector General Paul Martin pointed out that the space agency is optimistic in thinking it can resolve all the issues by the 2030s. They’ve definitely got a long list to tackle.

New dental technique repairs damaged teeth naturally, negates need for injections, drillings and fillings.


In an effort that aligns entrepreneurial spirit with the body’s natural ability to restore health, experts at King’s College London have developed a way to put dental fillings by the wayside and, instead, help teeth heal themselves. (1)

Tooth remineralization

Rather than drilling into an affected tooth and filling it with material to build up its structure again, a damaged tooth can instead be treated with the help of their new technology, Electrically Accelerated and Enhanced Remineralization (EAER), a technique that uses a small electric current to speed up a tooth’s natural remineralization process and, in turn, repair teeth without the need for drilling, injections and fillings. (1, 2)

Professor Nigel Pitts of King’s College London’s Dental Institute says it’s a healthy and affordable way to keep teeth in good shape, and one that’s long overdue.

“The way we treat teeth today is not ideal,” he said, explaining the seemingly never-ending cycle of drilling, filling and refilling that a dental patient often experiences. “Not only is our device kinder to the patient and better for their teeth, but it’s expected to be at least as cost-effective as current dental treatments. Along with fighting tooth decay, our device can also be used to whiten teeth.” (2)

King’s College is involved with a project called MedCity, which was launched by London mayor Boris Johnson in an effort to encourage entrepreneurship in the London-Oxford-Cambridge life sciences sector.

How the new technology treats damaged teeth

EAER’s low-frequency currents allow remineralization, a naturally occurring process in teeth that keeps them strong and healthy, to take place faster and deeper in the tooth, negating the need for traditional fillings. This new technique simply involves isolating elements in the mouth such as saliva that can get in the way of this healing process, then using the EAER technique to drive the natural minerals into the tooth. (3)

Pitts said that by using “the electrical method, we can achieve remineralization that would have taken weeks and we can do it an order of magnitude faster and better.” (3) His goal is to have this technique in place in British dental offices within three years; furthermore, he’s currently working with international dental groups in an effort which may make strides in the United States, where dental regulations differ from those in Britain. (3)

In addition to many people having a phobia when it comes to visiting the dental office, the materials that are often used — namely amalgam, the silver-colored fillings — contain mercury, a toxin that is linked with neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and autism. (4)

Sources for this article include:

(1) http://www.theguardian.com

(2) http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk

(3) http://www.washingtonpost.com

(4) http://www.naturalnews.com

http://science.naturalnews.com

Experimental Immunotherapy Treatment For Brain Cancer Hailed A Success.


Immunotherapy, a pioneering form of chemotherapy, is gaining a lot of traction right now, in terms of funding and effectiveness. Rather than using chemical or radiation treatments to destroy tumors, this uses the body’s own defense mechanisms to root out the cancerous cells.

Various trials, particularly with skin and blood cancers, have shown that various immunotherapy-inducing drugs can extend the lives of patients otherwise doomed to die too soon. Now, as reported by TIME, an experiment brain cancer treatment has been hailed as a success.

A 50-year-old patient with advanced glioblastoma – an aggressive type of brain cancer – had already been treated with surgery, radiation, and conventional chemotherapy, but to no avail. His cancer returned and metastasized, meaning that it had spread to other parts of his body.

A team from the City of Hope Beckman Research Institute and Medical Center decided to use a novel treatment against blood cancers on this unfortunate man as a last-ditch effort to push back his affliction.

Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, the researchers describe how they extracted cells from the patient’s immune system (specifically T cells), and then gave him what amounts to a targeting system.

They tinkered around with these immune cells’ surfaces, engineering them to utilize proteins that would recognize the glioblastoma cells as a threat. Following additional surgery that removed much of the brain tumor, the team unleashed these modified cells back into patient, where they promptly stopped the remaining tumor segments from growing any further.

Over time, cancerous growth was observed yet again, so the team gave the man plenty more doses of the immunotherapy treatment. This time, the modified cells were injected straight into the ventricles, cavities within the brain. This is considered to be a highly risky procedure, as this type of injection can cause deadly inflammation.

However, the gamble paid off. Remarkably, not only did the tumor growth stop, but they actually started to shrink. Half a year later, the tumor had almost completely disappeared.

Glioblastoma cells. Anna Durinikova/Shutterstock

Without this therapy, he would have died a few weeks after his cancer had its resurgence. With it, his cancer did not come back for an additional eight months.

This patient is just one of nine in the trial, so it will be interesting to see how the others turn out. If they are all deemed to be successful at extending their lives by a considerable margin, then this will represent a new, welcome advancement in the science of immunotherapy.

This study will actually come as a personal triumph for the lead researcher, Dr Behnam Badie, whose own father passed away from a serious glioblastoma a decade ago.