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Hopes of sea snail painkiller after breakthrough

Scientists at the University of Leicester hope a major breakthrough in the fight against Alzheimer's and cancer may also lead to the development of a new painkiller, using a toxin produced by a sea snail.

We are very proud of this research. It has taken several years of hard work to master the chemistry techniques to create these new building blocks but now that we have conquered it we have access to new building blocks that people have only ever dreamed of before!

Amino acids are Mother Nature’s building blocks. They are used to make all proteins and so are essential for life, however Mother Nature only uses twenty of these building blocks. The Leicester research involves the chemical synthesis of unnatural amino acids that can be used to make unnatural mini-proteins with new 3D structures and importantly new functions.

We are actively using these building blocks to develop new treatments for cancer and Alzheimer's disease. We have also had a summer student use the building blocks to synthesise a toxin produced by a sea snail, and hope to develop this as a new painkiller.

– Dr Andrew Jamieson, lead scientist

Breakthrough in fight against Alzheimer's and cancer

Scientists at the University of Leicester have made a "breakthrough" in the fight against Alzheimer's and cancer, which they have described as "the stuff of dreams."

Dr Andrew Jamieson with Dr Boris Allard from the University of Leicester Credit: University of Leicester

Researchers have developed a new way to make "designer proteins" that can be used to make more effective drugs with fewer side effects.

The advance is announced by the Jamieson Research Group in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Leicester.

Their work, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), is published in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry.


Nottingham's cancer death rate 20% higher than average

Cancer cells under a microscope Credit: PA

Nottingham's cancer mortality rates are around 20 per cent higher than the English average.

Smoking related deaths are around 30 per cent higher, and lung cancer 40 per cent. Cancer Research UK are starting a new marketing campaign in the city, aimed at spotting cancer early, encouraging people to visit their GP sooner with any concerns.

Paralympian joins sarcoma campaign after losing friend

Nottingham Paralympic champion Richard Whitehead is backing a campaign urging people to seek medical advice if they have any lumps on their body which are growing - and especially if they're bigger than a golf ball.

The Gold Ball Awareness campaign was launched as part of Sarcoma Awareness Week, and warns people to stay alert for large lumps around their body - even if they are not painful.

The runner is helping raise awareness after losing a friend to sarcoma.

Man has melon sized tumour removed from leg

Scan of Nigel Phillips' leg Credit: ITV News Central

Retired Police Detective Nigel Phillips had a tumour the size of a melon removed from his leg - it was a Sarcoma, or cancerous tumour. He spotted the lump in the shower.

Nigel Phillips made a full recovery Credit: ITV News Central

A campaign is taking place this week to get people to seek urgent medical advice if they have any lumps on their body that are growing. Many people don't even notice them, as they're often painless.

Nigel Phillips's scar today Credit: ITV News Central

The campaign - called Golf Ball Awareness - is backed by Paralympian Richard Whitehead from Nottingham, who lost a close friend to the disease.


Birmingham man dies from rare form of blood cancer

Ed was diagnosed with Epstein Barr Virus driven lymphoma and hemophagocytosis Credit: Press handout

A Birmingham man has died after battling with a rare form of blood cancer.

Ed Fox, 27, passed away after suffering multiple organ failure despite attempts by his girlfriend to find him a donor.

Friends and family launched an appeal on the internet in an attempt to find Ed a bone marrow match.

His death was announced on his Facebook page "Help Ed - Register as a bone marrow donor'.

It is with great sadness that I inform you that Edmund Fox passed away at 11:40pm (local time) on 21st March 2014 after suffering multiple organ failure as a result of his cancer.

We are very grateful to all those who participated in the appeal for Ed, and despite us not being successful in Ed's case, we are proud of the work we have done (both here in the UK and abroad) to raise awareness of bone marrow donation.

'I would not wish cancer on anyone' says cancer patient

After featuring in an advertising campaign for Pancreatic Cancer Active, in which she says 'I wish I had breast cancer', 24-year-old Kerry Harvey responds to public criticism.

The pancreatic cancer sufferer explains why early diagnosis is so important with her illness, which has an awful survival rate. She says it is only natural to wish for a cancer with a better survival rate, so she could have the potential to have children.

She goes on to explain why she compared the disease with breast cancer and says more awareness is necessary.

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