The Anonymous Widower

‘Biggest Breakthrough’ On Pancreatic Cancer Is On The Horizon As Scientists Hail Two-In-One Teatment That Could Even CURE The Disease

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the Daily Mail.

These three paragraphs give an introduction to the research.

Scientists are on the cusp of the ‘biggest ever’ breakthrough in the treatment of pancreatic cancer.

UK researchers have developed a two-in-one treatment that could dramatically improve survival and even cure the disease, which is one of the deadliest cancers.

Survival rates for pancreatic cancer have barely improved in the last 50 years and it has the worst prognosis of any common cancer.

It is a state, that you don’t want to go near.

This is the heart of the new two-in-one treatment.

One of the treatments is immunotherapy, whereby a drug fires up the immune system to fight the cancer.

The drug is a checkpoint inhibitor, which means it blocks proteins that stop the immune system from attacking cancer cells. It has had stunning results against some types of cancer.

But pancreatic cancer tumours have a thick outer layer which stops the drug in its tracks.

The second treatment, known as high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU), involves blasting the tumour with pulses of sound waves.

This creates tiny bubbles in the cells, which bounce around with such force that they puncture holes in the protective barrier – allowing the immunotherapy drug to get to work.

I find it strange that I when I wrote Glencore & Strategic Partner Britishvolt Strengthen Relationship And Agree To Build Battery Recycling Ecosystem In The UK, I found that a similar technique is being investigated by the Faraday Institute in the recycling of lithium-ion batteries.

In this article on the BBC, which is entitled As The World looks To Electrify Vehicles And Store Renewable Power, One Giant Challenge Looms: What Will Happen To All The Old Lithium Batteries?, I found this paragraph.

The team has also found a way to achieve direct recycling of the anode and cathode using an ultrasonic probe, “like what the dentist uses to clean your teeth,” he explains. “It focuses ultrasound on a surface which creates tiny bubbles that implode and blast the coating off the surface.” This process avoids having to shred the battery parts, which can make recovering them exceedingly difficult.

Umpteen million tiny bubbles can’t be wrong! It sounds to me that engineers from the Faraday Institute and Medics from the Institute of Cancer Research have been imbibing pints of the thinking man’s liqueur; real ale in a serious meeting in a pub.

But if it works don’t knock it! Just use the technique on your project to remove an awkward coating.

My son, who died of pancreatic cancer was a coeliac like me, but he had never been tested and as he was a sound engineer in the music business, he lived on a diet of Subways, cigarettes and high strength cannabis.

I asked the Professor at Liverpool University’s Pancreatic Cancer Research Unit, if this had contributed to his death and he nodded.

But my son certainly, didn’t have my strong immune system, which is because I’m coeliac and have been gluten-free for nearly thirty years. I know it is strong, as it gave the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine a good kicking. But by the time I got the second dose, it had worked out it was a friend, so I got no reaction.

I have three questions.

What is the hard skin of the pancreatic cancer made from?

Do all cancers have hard skins?

When patients are given immunotherapy drugs, do they go gluten-free for a Tesco effect (Every little helps!)?

February 7, 2022 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Goodbye To My Gallstones

It is now some weeks since I said goodbye to my gallstones.

They were in my bile duct and were discovered by using an ultrasound probe on an endoscopy at Homerton Hospital. I didn’t even put on a hospital gown.

I had that endoscopy, as I did my two previous ones at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge to check for coeliac disease without a sedative, as Addenbrooke’s likes to be efficient and cutting out sedatives reduces the manpower required, cuts the need for recovery beds and allows patients to drive home.

After this endoscopy, I came home the way I arrived – on the bus!

I would say that a good endoscopy operator should be able to do the procedure without a sedative. Although in this case, the nurse holding the oxygen tubes up my nose, was stroking my beard to calm me down. Not that I needed it! But it was a nice action!

I had the removal of the gallstones with a sedative, but I only remember the anaesthetist saying something like “Lovely” as he threaded the camera and attachments down my throat.

They broke into my bile duct from the duodenum and then inserted a balloon, which was then inflated to flush the stones back into my duodenum.

I must have dropped off and I woke without any pain or even discomfort.

One complication for me, was that I am on Warfarin, but I dropped my INR to one before the operation, so that there wasn’t blood everywhere.

I have had some after effects.

Where Has My Constipation Gone?

Since I was about sixty, I have suffered from constipation and my GP has prescribed a laxative.

I felt it was a family trait as my father was also a sufferer.

But since the operation, I have only taken one pill, that may not have been necessary.

My Appetite Has Returned

I am certainly eating better and I have not put on any weight.

Conclusion

If you have gallstones and removal is suggested, go for it!

October 14, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Ultrasound On A Chip

The latest episode of BBC Click is a must-watch.

One section is about a new ultrasound device from Butterfly Network.

Their product called Butterfly iQ; is an ultrasound sensor on a chip, that converts a smart phone into a full function medical ultrasound machine.

But as an engineer, who knows a bit about this sort of technology, I doubt that all the applications are medical ones.

Typical hospital ultrasound machines cost tens of thousands of pounds, but the price of the sensor on the Butterfly Network web site is in the order of a couple of grand. Software is probably extra, but even so, Southampton Hospital has bought four and one is in their paediatric ambulance.

I have one big question.

Is the device open source? This would enable, an imaginative programmer, as I once was, to convert the device, so that it is able to perform an important application.

I would be very disappointing if it wasn’t!

To get a snapshot of the power of ultrasound, read the Wikipedia entry for ultrasound.

A Video

I found this on the Internet.

As you can see, it’s not very big.

Conclusion

This is an amazing development and it will revolutionise so much of healthcare and other fields.

October 19, 2019 Posted by | Computing, Health, World | , , | Leave a comment