Belfast-based science team makes major breakthrough in the ongoing fight against prostate cancer


Prostate cancer has one of the highest morbidity index of all cancers among Irish people. Early stages of the disease cause little to no symptoms, so it is either detected early via a routine check, or too late, when the disease is already at an advanced stage.


If caught and treated early, the 5-year survival rate is almost 90%, whereas late-stage disease carries a significantly lower chance of survival.

It has emerged today that a Belfast team has made a major breakthrough in the treatment of the disease.

Depending on how little or how much the cancer has spread, treatment options are varied, usually involving a combination of radiotherapy, surgery, and support therapies.

Now, researchers in Belfast have tested a novel treatment technique that combines an existing androgen-deprivation therapy with a new compound, OCT1002.

OCT1002 is a novel, hypoxia-activated prodrug that inhibits the expression of genes commonly associated with prostate cancer.

In-vivo testing showed that OCT1002, when used concomitantly with hormone treatment, caused markedly increased apoptosis of malignant cells, leading to enhanced tumor growth control.

The team also believes that this new combination treatment will greatly reduce the chances of relapse, as OCT1002 selectively targets hypoxic (‘low oxygen’) tumor cells. Tumor hypoxia is commonly associated with genetic aberrations in affected cells, which may trigger disease relapse.

Speaking about the breakthrough, study leader Dr. Declan McKenna said that clinical trials are needed, but explained that: “Hormone therapy is an effective treatment but its success with more resistant cancer cells is limited.”

“By combining hormone therapy with this new drug we have for the first time discovered a way to destroy these resistant cells that may otherwise lead to relapse or the spread of cancer cells.”

Irish research team leads the way in possible breakthrough in the fight against aggressive breast cancer


An Irish research team, Breast-Predict, is confident that it has achieved a breakthrough in the fight against Triple-negative Breast Cancer (TNBC). The team is based in St. Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin.

TNBC accounts for about 15% of all breast cancer diagnoses, but has the highest mortality rate due to a lack of truly effective treatment.

The team believes that compound APR-246 can be used to treat TNBC effectively.

TNBC differs from other subtypes in that it does not express estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR) or the amplification of Her2/neu. Since most chemotherapy drugs target one of these three molecular markers, the medical armamentarium in the fight against aggressive breast cancer is severely limited.

Patients diagnosed with TNBC usually undergo chemotherapy, but the disease does not respond well to treatment in many cases, since the targeted receptors are missing. As a result, most patients face a poor outcome.

Crucially, the vast majority of TNBC cases feature a mutated P53 gene, which makes it a target of interest for treatment.

A mutation in P53 renders it ineffective in enabling the DNA damage response pathway, which allows the survival of incipient tumour cells.

APR-246’s mechanism of action targets the aberrant P53 gene, ‘correcting’ its mutation and thus inhibiting tumour progression.

The compound will undergo clinical trials to determine its long-term viability.

Dr Robert O’Connor, Head of Research at the Irish Cancer Society, has welcomed the development and said that “These research programmes focus on finding new ways to prevent as many cancers as we can, ensuring the most advanced personalised treatment options are available and that as many patients as possible thrive after their treatment.”

“The number of people with cancer in Ireland is expected to double by 2040, and more research is vital if to tackle this growing epidemic of cancer.”

Dramatic images surfaced of an American Airlines jet going up in flames on the tarmac of Chicago O’Hare Airport yesterday.


American Airlines Flight 383 was about to initiate its take-off run when the starboard engine caught fire. The crew executed an aborted take-off procedure and halted the aircraft.

Emergency slides were deployed, and all 170 passengers and crew were evacuated in under two minutes. 20 people required medical attention, all for minor injuries.

A spokesperson for American Airlines said that the fire had been caused by a ‘uncontained engine failure’. These ‘uncontained’ events involve engine parts becoming loose, large birds sucked into the turbine, or parts that fail due to wear.

The fire burned so intensely that the outer part of the starboard wing melted. The outcome could have been much worse, however, had the fire broken out after the jet became airborne.

The aircraft involved in the incident, a Boeing 767, was manufactured in 2003 and has flown over 47,000 hours, accounting for 7,500 takeoff-landing cycles.

Mosul offensive: Iraqi units approach city perimeter


Though obscure by dust and dirt thrown into the air by continuous shelling, the Mosul low-rise skyline is within sight of forward elements of Iraqi special forces, the American-trained Counter Terrorism Force (CTF).

CTF operatives are now about 1.2m away from the outskirts of ISIS-controlled Mosul, and scouts report militia fighters darting in between houses, and heavy concentration of vehicles in the area. These vehicles are suspected to be packed with explosives, ready to ram advancing forces.

Iraqi mortar teams are maintaining a constant bombardment on ISIS-held positions, to disrupt staging and reduce battlefield morale.

The situation on the ground is tense, as ISIS militia know that losing Mosul will mean their inevitable end. The city had been designated to be the capital of the new, so-called ‘caliphate.’ A decisive victory for the Iraqi-led coalition here will certain spell ISIS’ demise in the country.

A bitter, bloody, and costly struggle awaits the coalition troops. ISIS have recalled hardened fighters into the city, and conservative estimates put the number of civilians still trapped inside Mosul in the tens of thousands. ISIS have been known to massacre personnel attempting to flee the city, including women and children, and use civilians as human shields to deter direct confrontation.

Morale is said to be high among Iraqi troops, with many no doubt seeking retribution from years of ISIS oppression.

The final assault on Mosul is expected to begin soon.

NASA locates wreckage of Schiaparelli EDM lander on Mars


NASA instrumentation has located the final resting place of the European Space Agency (ESA)’s Schiaparelli probe. The spacecraft crashed into Mars’ surface on October 19 last, after a suspected malfunction on its final approach. Contact with the probe was lost about one minute from the Martian ground.

An ESA spokesperson said that they have not yet discerned the nature of the malfunction, but believe that a software glitch was the root cause of the failure. Telemetry data shows that the parachute designed to slow down the craft’s descent deployed too early, and that the reverse thrusters cut off too soon. According to the spokesperson, data proves that the thrusters did operate briefly, but not long enough to enable a safe landing, as the computer may have interpreted that the craft was closer to the ground than it really was. ESA Mission Control believes that the probe hit the Martian surface at terminal velocity, shattering on impact.

The crash site is located about 33mi away from where NASA Mars rover Opportunity was operating at the time.

Schiaparelli’s main mission was to test new technology for future landings on Mars.

Mosul offensive: ISIS fighters believed to have massacred scores of civilians inside the besieged city


Military observers on the ground around the besieged city of Mosul in Iraq report a large number of civilian casualties, allegedly inflicted by ISIS militia.

The bodies of at least 120 civilians have been discovered inside houses and in shallow graves, most of them with multiple gunshot wounds. It remains unclear which faction carried out the killings, however.

Some 5,000-6,000 were dug in around Mosul at the outset of the battle. Vastly outnumbered by a coalition of around 90,000, ISIS militias have sustained heavy losses since the start of the offensive, though they are fighting doggedly to retain control. The bitter struggle for the city is thought to be ISIS’ last stand in Iraq.

The jihadi fighters have mined all access to the city with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and laid booby traps all over, creating a hazardous environment indeed.

Specialist engineering teams are on the ground, but progress is slow, and clearing has to be done house by house.

Mosul offensive: ISIS attack on Kirkuk is repelled as heavy fighting rages on around Mosul


ISIS fighters mounted an attack on Kirkuk, just over 100 miles south-east of Mosul, while a sulphur plant near Mosul was set on fire, creating a toxic cloud. Noxious fumes drifted towards Qayyarah West airfield, forcing US troops stationed there to wear protective masks. Qayyarah West is the main staging area for US air assets supporting the ground offensive to retake Mosul.

Meanwhile, a large ISIS contingent mounted an attack on the south-eastern city of Kirkuk. ISIS incurred heavy losses, and the assault was ultimately deemed ineffective. Analysts believe ISIS staged this move to divert attention from Mosul.

Local sources on the ground also report that people trapped inside Mosul have began launching hit-and-run attacks against ISIS militia, in what is seen as an uprising against their tyrannical grip on the city.

US engineers also report that all accesses to Mosul are heavily booby-trapped and covered by sniper fire, making progress slow and extremely hazardous.

Irish and…not so proud?

​The Icelandic justice system upholds the people’s best interests, sending corrupt and thieving bankers headlong into slam, allowing the clay-footed giants to fall so the financial framework of the country can be rebuilt on a sound footing.

Meanwhile, the Irish Government enshrines the same corrupt and thieving bankers, covering up their cloak and dagger activities, approving a blanket bailout that fast-tracked the country into years of austerity and recession, and handing over Ireland’s economic sovereignty to a cadre of equally corrupt European puppeteers.

Fourth day of ground offensive in Mosul gets underway, as Iraqi special forces enter the city


The fourth day of ground operations around the northern city of Mosul in Iraq got underway today. Led by Iraqi special forces, army units opened a third front to liberate the city from ISIS control.

Iraqi troops, supported by Kurdish army elements, US air assets, and other mixed militia, have so far made large gains in terms of terrain recaptured, but report heavy resistance from ISIS fighters.

The city of Mosul, considered by ISIS to be the capital of their so-called caliphate, has remained under ISIS control for over two years. According to troops on the ground, the city is heavily booby-trapped, and fighters are putting up a stiff resistance.

US attack helicopters strafed ISIS positions to support Iraqi army units on the ground yesterday, it was reported, and nine suicide trucks loaded with explosives were destroyed before reaching their objectives.

An US serviceman was killed on Thursday, the first casualty of the Mosul offensive.

Meanwhile, an estimated 200 ISIS fighters have so far been killed. It is thought that the ISIS garrison within Mosul includes around 5,000 fighters. Facing them, there is a coalition of over 108,000 troops.

Fanning the flames of war: Russian warships set to sail through the English Channel on their way to Syria


There is a heightened state of military readiness among NATO countries, as fleet of Russian warships will soon steam towards the English Channel.

Two Royal Navy destroyers are on station, ready to intercept the Russian taskforce, which is suspected to be heading for Syria to bolster military assets on the ground. Airborne NATO assets are also on alert.

The taskforce includes Russia’s only aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, and a number of other capital ships. A number of Sukhoi Su-33 Flanker multirole fighter aircraft are on board the carrier. These aircraft are likely to be used to carry out bombing operations on rebel-held areas of the besieged city of Aleppo in Syria.

The Russian warships’s intended course will bring them right through the English Channel, a route that has been deemed to be used as a show of force. It is not usual for Russian ships to navigate this route, instead they usually sail down the Black Sea and on to the Mediterranean through the Bosphorus Strait.

The military buildup is the largest Russian deployment since the Cold War, and it coincides with a period of heightened tensions between opposing factions in Syria and elsewhere. This latest move by the Russians is likely to inflame the situation even further.

Once on station in the Mediterranean, the Admiral Kuznetsov will likely initiate combat operations against targets in Syria, a short flight time away.