20 Dec

Tick Saliva, Hope of Brazilian Scientists for Curing Cancer

first_imgBy Dialogo August 31, 2009 SÃO PAULO, 28 August 2009 (AFP) – Tick saliva contains a protein that could cure skin, liver, and pancreatic cancer, according to Brazilian researchers. Upon studying a South American variety of this blood-sucking parasite, Amblyomma cajennense, they discovered that this protein destroys cancerous cells and preserves healthy ones. “It’s a great discovery,” in the opinion of the study’s director, Ana Marisa Chudzinski-Tavassi, a researcher in molecular biology at the Butantan Institute in São Paulo. “The substance contained in this tick’s saliva (…) could be the cure for cancer,” she declared to AFP. The researcher said that she discovered the virtues of this protein, baptized ‘Active X Factor,’ by chance when testing the anticoagulant properties of the tick’s saliva. These properties allow the parasite to ingest blood – including human blood – without it coagulating. The protein has characteristics in common with a common anticoagulant known as TFPI or as a Kunitz-type inhibitor, which also has an effect on cell growth. The hypothesis that this protein could have an effect on cancerous cells led to laboratory tests that surpassed all expectations. “To our surprise, it did not kill the normal cells,” said Chudzinski-Tavassi. “But it did kill all the cancerous cells in the test,” she added. In her modest laboratory at the institute, the researcher collects the saliva from rows of immobile ticks by placing straw under their heads. The saliva obtained in this way was used in tests on laboratory rats with cancer. The results have been more than promising. “If I treat an animal that already has a tumor, a small tumor, every day for fourteen days, the tumor does not develop and even shrinks. The tumorous mass diminishes. If I treat it for forty-two days, the tumor is completely eliminated,” the scientist affirmed. Producing a medicine based on this discovery, nevertheless, will require years of clinical trials and a significant financial investment, two things that Brazil cannot currently offer. Chudzinski-Tavassi has applied for a patent on the tick saliva and is presenting her team’s discovery in medical publications and at conferences around the world. However, she affirms that going beyond her laboratory “proof of concept” will be very difficult. “Discovering this is one thing. Turning it into a medication is something completely different,” she declared.last_img read more

18 Nov

The caterers of Istria and Kvarner will close the bars for 60 minutes tomorrow

first_imgThe Association of Caterers of Kvarner and Istria has launched an action to save jobs and preserve the economy, and is asking those responsible for a lower VAT on food and loans for liquidity and investments. The caterers of Kvarner and Istria will close their catering facilities on Thursday, September 10, starting at 11:55 a.m., in order to warn of the difficult situation in which the caterers found themselves due to the coronavirus pandemic and to encourage urgent action by the responsible institution. preserving jobs and preventing the collapse of the economy. It’s a name action “5 to 12” initiated by the Association of Caterers of Kvarner and Istria, with the intention of saving the fate of thousands of employees in the sector, but also to encourage citizens and caterers to show solidarity. The Association of Caterers of Kvarner and Istria invites caterers from their region to join the action “5 to 12” and close their facilities for 10 minutes on September 60, thus making the responsible authorities aware that it is really “5 to 12” to take further steps. They also call on all citizens to show solidarity and understanding for the period of the day when catering facilities will be closed to support the action. The measures adopted so far have saved over 700.000 jobs and saved the Croatian economy until the beginning of the tourist season, but this solution is unfortunately only a temporary salvation, he points out. Vedran Jakominić, vice-president of the National Association of Caterers, a well-known Rijeka entrepreneur and owner of the popular King’s Caffe, and adds: “Tourism as a sector of the economy accounts for a large share of Croatia’s GDP. The close connection of tourism with the catering and event industry makes them interdependent, ie the survival of one is crucial and absolutely necessary for the survival of the other. In an effort to maintain the same level of offer to which guests are accustomed, the caterers have completely exhausted all the resources at their disposal and for them further business is not possible without certain measures and assistance.” The very name of the action indicates the importance of speed of reaction in order to preserve jobs in the coming months. The symbolic temporary closure of catering facilities is intended to indicate the possibility that these hours will become a much longer period of time. To prevent this, caterers are demanding that the responsible authorities suspend the collection of VAT until March 01, 2021, lower the VAT rate on food, including beverages, to 10%, and support through liquidity loans and investments in cooperation with HAMAG BICRO and HBOR. The Association of Caterers of Kvarner and Istria conducted a survey on a sample of 500 caterers, of which even 60 place records a decline in business of over 50 placeuntil done 40 place believes that in the current conditions it will not survive until next season. Besides, even 80 place employers in the hospitality industry, will be forced to cancel contracts with employees due to business downturns and other inconveniences that have befallen them. last_img read more

19 Aug

Drivers Slow down and help reduce wildlife deaths on highways says university

first_imgResearch by the University of Costa Rica’s (UCR) Ecotourism School has found that speeding drivers are the main cause of death of wildlife on roads in Costa Rica’s Pacific region.Professor Carlos Pérez Reyes and a group of students traveled the region’s busiest roads in 2012-2103, including Route 27 between San José and Caldera, Route 23 in Caldera, Route 17 between Caldera and Puntarenas, Route 34 in the South Pacific and Route 2 connecting San José with the Panama border at Paso Canoas.For a full year the group traveled 650 kilometers, working from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. to count the number of wild animals killed on the roads. Their research determined that Route 34 is the most dangerous for animals, tallying 95 percent of animal roadway deaths, according to the university report, released last Friday.Most of the animals were mammals, accounting for 41.8 percent of the total, followed by reptiles at 23.5 percent, birds at 32.6 percent and amphibians at 1.31 percent.The species most affected by speeding motorists were the black vulture (Coragyps atrattus), iguanas (Iguana iguana), opossum (Didelphis marsupialis) and anteaters (Tamandua mexicana). These species represent 60 percent of the total found.“The roadways’ consequences for animals [in Costa Rica] are numerous, especially the fragmentation of their habitats by our constant need to transport products. We have divided mountains without considering that there are many species living there,” Pérez said.The study also showed that most animals die in the early morning hours, mostly on straight stretches of roads, where the speed limit is over 60 kilometers per hour at altitudes no below 50 meters above sea level.Most deaths occurred in November, January and April, the months that coincide with an increased influx of tourists to destinations in the Central and South Pacific. Most animals were killed near agriculture farms and forested areas.Pérez urged drivers to help reduce wildlife deaths by slowing down. “It is evident for us that more animals die in straight stretches of roads, where drivers feel safer and therefore drive faster. Speeding is the main cause of death,” he said.Pérez and his students now plan to distribute information to help raise awareness. He also recommended the government place more barriers, predator decoys and animal repellents.“Every animal has an important role in the ecosystem, and each death causes an imbalance in nature,” he said.Several public and private initiatives to reduce wildlife roadway killings started in 2006, including the hanging of ropes over roads and the building of culverts that cross under them.A Public Works and Transport Ministry report earlier this year noted that currently the South Pacific — the area with the most deaths — has 33 wildlife crossings, including four hanging ropes for monkeys, squirrels and other arboreal species, and 29 tunnels.Pérez believes these efforts are important, but more needs to be done, he said.“We must increase the number of street signs, we need more wildlife crossings and more monitoring on the roads to evaluate results,” he said. Facebook Comments Related posts:New traffic signs aim to reduce wildlife deaths on Costa Rica’s roads Costa Rica utility company helps protect wildlife along 250 km of power lines President Solís promises to submit bill in December against animal abuse President Solís signs new Animal Welfare Lawlast_img read more