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Global News: Science

Read the best science news from around the world this week

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New drug for breast cancer patients

A new drug, which is currently only given to very rare forms of breast cancer, could be used to treat one in five breast cancer patients. Researchers at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute found that around 8,000 more patients may actually respond positively to the drug, rather than the limited number that are receiving it at present. This is because thousands of more common forms for the cancer may be more biologically than previously thought. At present, the therapy is only available as part of clinical trials but will hopefully reach market in the future.

Gene therapy technique ‘cures’ boy of sickle cell anaemia

A teenage boy with the inheritable condition, sickle cell anaemia, has been successfully cured of his disease as a result of gene editing techniques. A French research team used bone marrow stem cells from the patient and edited genes so they would allow his faulty genes to perform correctly when the stem cells were put back into his body. The treatment has successfully cured the boy of this painful disease, which is very common and affects roughly 3.2 million people worldwide. This is the first time gene therapy has been used to help such a common disease, rather rarer genetic disorders.

Intel buy out self-driving car company

Multi-national technology company Intel have bought Mobileye, a driving assistant software maker, for $15.3 billion, making it the biggest ever acquisition of an Israeli tech company. Mobileye make artificially intelligent chips and cameras for cars and trucks, including the self-driving. The buy-out comes less than a year after a man was killed in a self-driving Tesla car, when it failed to recognise a truck parked in front of it, as well as more deaths in recent months.

Vitamin B protection from air pollution

A small-scale human trial suggests that B vitamins may offer some protection against the impacts of air pollution. B vitamins such as B12, B6 and folic acid can be found in a variety of meats and vegetables. Groups that took four weeks of vitamin B supplementation had a 28-76 per cent lower damage to their genes as a result of exposure to fine air pollutants. These initial results arrive at a time where air pollution is becoming an issue all around the world. With the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, issuing a “red alert” health warning for people living in London earlier this year.