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10th July 2019
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News

A clean, green environment

Sarah Houlton, 10/07/2019

The annual US Green Chemistry Challenge awards recognise green chemistry technologies that solve environmental challenges while also offering economic benefits and new business opportunities. The awards are managed by the American Chemical Society’s Green Chemistry Institute, but headline sponsor the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was not involved in the awards in 2018 because of funding issues. It is back in support in 2019. There are four winners this year: three awards have been made to companies, and the fourth to a university-led partnership.

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Better, safer, small molecule drugs

Cath O’Driscoll, 10/07/2019

Scientists say they have hit on a new way to make safer, more versatile small molecule drugs that could pave the way to treatments for a slew of currently hard to treat or untreatable diseases.

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Biodegradable cigarettes

Maria Burke, 10/07/2019

An Italian company is starting to produce cigarette filters made from biodegradeable biopolymers – which should make cigarettes easier to recycle.

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Cancer prevention and progress

Cath O’Driscoll, 10/07/2019

Cancer prevention efforts should be the ‘base’ of the pyramid of approaches to tackle the disease – with early detection as the layer above and treatment at the top, according to Siddhartha Mukherjee, oncologist and Pulitzer prize-winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies. However, progress in building the base has stalled in recent years, Mukherjee told BIO president James Greenwood, speaking at a keynote session at the BIO annual convention in Philadelphia in June, 2019.

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Chemistry imagined

Kathryn Roberts, 10/07/2019

Imagine Chemistry (IC) is speciality chemicals company Nouryon’s approach to research, development and innovation (RDI).

CIA Industry awards 2019

Neil Eisberg, 10/07/2019

The UK Chemical Industries Association (CIA) announced the winners of the Chemical Industry Awards 2019 on 13 June at St George’s Hall, Liverpool.

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Drones deliver on-demand medicines

Shem Oirere, 10/07/2019

Ghana has become the latest country in Africa after Rwanda to deploy new technology in delivery of medicine, blood and vaccines to patients across the country by using unmanned aircraft systems or drones. The ‘Fly to Save a Life’ project has provided a lifeline to nearly 12m people in remote districts of the country who rely on 2000 health facilities for healthcare services and access to medicines, blood and vaccines.

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HPV vaccination progress

Shem Oirere, 10/07/2019

Zimbabwe has stepped up its vaccination campaign for human papilloma virus (HPV), targeting girls aged 10-15. The Ministries of Education and Health both stated an ambition to immunise at least a million girls by the first half of 2019.

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Light trapping pixels

Anthony King, 10/07/2019

The smallest pixels yet have been created by trapping light with gold nanoparticles. They could be used to change the colour of buildings while consuming very little energy.

Memory boost drug

Cath O’Driscoll, 10/07/2019

Researchers in the US have reported the synthesis of a selective phosphodiesterase 4 enzyme (PDE4) inhibitor that could help to protect against memory loss, without the usual side effects seen in inhibitors of this class of enzyme.

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New therapy for H. pylori

Cath O’Driscoll, 10/07/2019

H. pylori bacteria are commonly known to be the cause of stomach ulcers. Less well known, however, is the fact they are the strongest known risk factor for gastric cancer – the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide.

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Organic cows better for birds

Anthony King, 10/07/2019

Organically farmed cows are good for birds, according to a study of EU agri-environment schemes and birds in Finland. Organic cattle farming has a positive impact on the abundance of insect eating birds and birds such as swallows and martins that migrate over long distances.

Protein supplement for autism

Cath O’Driscoll, 10/07/2019

Dietary supplementation with certain amino acids may be of benefit for some children with autism, according to researchers. The suggestion follows the discovery that one group of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) share a similar profile of amino acid metabolites in their blood: with lower levels of so-called ‘branch chain’ amino acids – leucine, isoleucine and valine – and higher levels of ornithine, glutamine and glycine than usual.

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Recyclable food packaging

Maria Burke, 10/07/2019

Current food packaging, such as crisp and coffee packets, contain materials that act as a barrier against oxygen and moisture, essential for food preservation. But they aren’t easily recycled as they are made from several layers of plastic and metal fused together. These are often polyethylene terephthalate (PET) films coated with a thin layer of a metal – usually aluminium.

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Regeneration for astronauts

Cath O'Driscoll, 10/07/2019

The human body is not well adapted for life beyond the Earth’s atmosphere. Without exercise, astronauts can lose 20% of muscle mass in a space flight lasting just five to 11 days, while bone density is depleted at a rate of 1-2% a month, according to Ruth Globus of Nasa’s Ames Research Center in CA, US.

Sugar stabilised vaccines

Anthony King, 10/07/2019

Researchers have reported a method to stabilise fragile vaccines for weeks at a time at temperatures up to 40°C – potentially allowing life-saving medicines to reach remote regions of the world.

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Vaccine for coeliac disease

Cath O’Driscoll, 10/07/2019

Coeliac disease is one of the world’s most common genetic autoimmune diseases. Currently, there is no cure and the only option is strict adherence to a life-long gluten free (GF) diet.

Now, however, researchers at Cambridge, MA-based ImmusanT say they have a therapeutic vaccine that could restore immune tolerance in those with the most common underlying genetic risk factor for the disease.

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