By 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.
LAS VEGAS >> The Lakers have experienced issues far more serious than Lonzo Ball’s shooting accuracy.The Lakers (0-2) enter their summer-league game against the Sacramento Kings (0-1) on Monday at Thomas & Mack Center struggling to stop teams in different ways.After allowing the Clippers to shoot 46 percent from the field on Friday, the Lakers then limited the Celtics to a 38.6 percent clip on Saturday. In both games, though, the Lakers drew plenty of whistles. After collecting 33 fouls against the Clippers, they had 25 fouls against the Celtics.“We’re just trying to change our mentality defensively where we take more pride in it and hold guys more accountable,” said Lakers assistant Jud Buechler, the team’s summer-league head coach. “I think we’ve made progress. That doesn’t happen over night. We’re not seeing it in the results of the win column. But you’re seeing little improvements through the last two games.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error For a player who prides himself on his versatility, Lakers rookie forward Kyle Kuzma has tried to ensure he does not become among the many workers that fall victim to this trend in many industries.A jack of all trades, a master of none.So with the Lakers selecting him with the 27th pick in the draft, Kuzma tried to show his worth amounted beyond his ability to play multiple positions and willingness to make hustle plays. He wanted to prove he could shoot the ball well. So, Kuzma took on the repetitive task in focusing on that skill recently in gym workouts.In the Lakers’ 86-81 loss to the Boston Celtics on Saturday at Thomas & Mack Center, Kuzma provided some early returns on investment. He posted a team-leading 31 points, while shooting 12 of 26 from the field and 5 of 10 from 3-point range. Kuzma became mindful he would have to tinker with his approach when accounting for the distance in the 3-point line from the basket in college basketball (19 feet, 9 inches) and in the NBA (23 feet, 9 inches).“I have to get my legs into it,” Kuzma said. “The college 3, you can shoot like it’s a free throw. But it being that deep, I have to really focus on getting my legs into it and the mechanics in my shot. By doing so, I’m more efficient and effective.”Standing outDefenders quickly grew exhausted and irritated on figuring out ways to stop Kobe Bryant. To a much smaller scale, the same thing happened in Thomas Bryant’s summer-league debut. The Lakers rookie forward posted 13 points on 4-of-5 shooting, five rebounds and one block in 17 minutes off the bench during Friday’s loss to the Clippers.“His effort was awesome,” Buechler said. “He was the one guy that really gave us energy.”Consistency might become Bryant’s toughest opponent. Bryant, whom the Lakers selected 42nd overall, had zero points on 0 of 2 shooting and one rebound in 15 minutes on Saturday against the Celtics.“They’re expecting me to go out there, show my passion and energy and run the floor and get the guys open,” Bryant said on Friday. “Get some easy points and easy rebounds; just fight my way out there.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersThe Lakers want more improvement, obviously.“We have to take pride on defense every possession and not put our heads down when we give up a bucket,” Lakers second-year guard David Nwaba said. “It’s important we take the right shots.”That way the Lakers can accomplish two things. They can limit teams from scoring in transition. In turn, the Lakers will have more chances to score that way.“When they’re scoring and we’re taking it out of the net every time, we can’t really fast-break really well,” Buechler said. “When we get stops, rebounds and get the ball to him, guys are running and we can get easy layups at the baskets.”Practice makes perfect