A new experimental drug has shown extremely promising results in the treatment of metastasized ovarian cancer, with trial doctors going as far as saying that it is the ‘biggest breakthrough ten years.’
Ovarian cancer may cause few or no symptoms when it first develops, so it is commonly detected at an already advanced stage, making treatment options difficult. About a fifth of cases actually present with distant metastases, with most of these being terminal and requiring supportive or palliative care. Ovarian cancer kills an average of 4,000 people a year in the UK alone.
A new drug, ONX-0801, is currently being tested in a phase one clinical trial conducted at the Royal Marsden cancer hospital in London. The compound has shown extremely positive results so far, after seven out of fifteen women who were administered the trial drug experienced substantial tumour shrinkage.
Notably, ONX-0801 was only being tested for safety, but the unexpectedly beneficial therapeutic results encouraged the investigators to quickly move to further trials.
ONX-0801 was administered to women who had poor or negligible therapeutic response to standard chemotherapy treatment.
The drug is an alpha-folate receptor (aFR)-mediated inhibitor of thymidylate synthase. Administered intravenously, it selectively targets and binds to tumour cells where aFR expression is higher. Healthy cells remain relatively unaffected as aFR expression is significantly lower. Once bound, ONX-0801 inhibits both DNA synthesis and cell division, inducing cell apoptosis (death of the cell.)
Though initial results regarding the therapeutic outcomes of ONX-0801, further research and trials are needed to confirm its viability in the fight against ovarian cancer.
A whole squadron of F-35 fighter jets has been grounded due to a dramatic increase in hypoxia incidents on board.
All F-35 aircraft attached to the 56th Fighter Wing at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, US, have been grounded while an investigation into a number of ‘physiological incidents’ takes place.
Five pilots flying different F-35 jets based at Luke have experienced hypoxia symptoms on board since May 2, forcing the grounding of all aircraft at the base.
Hypoxia problems are relatively common in combat jet aircraft. Issues with the life support gear on board F-22 Raptors were identified and resolved back in 2012. And the F/A-18 Hornet’s fleet has also experienced similar problems across all its variants.
The current issue is of particular importance, as Luke Air Force Base is the pilot training hub for the F-35A variant. Pilots from several nations attend F-35 training programs a the location.
The aircraft, which has had a troubled development history, is manufactured in three versions: The F-35A is the Air Force model, and was declared airworthy and combat-ready in August 2016.
The F-35B is custom-made for the US Marine Corps (USMC). The F-35C, designed to be flown from carriers, is a ‘work in progress.’ 220 machines in total have been built, but none has seen combat yet.
The F-35 program is the most expensive military weapon system in history, having gone over $163bn over budget, and delivered seven years behind schedule.
The jet’s astronomical per-unit cost has caused heated controversy over the years, with experts citing that it delivers poor value for money when compared with older generation aircraft.
Sources inside the Russian Defense Ministry have confirmed that a Su-27 jet was launched to intercept a long-range B-52 bomber flying over the Baltic Sea.
The Su-27 jet, codenamed ‘Flanker’ in NATO nomenclature, shadowed the US warplane on Monday morning until the B-52 left neutral airspace near the Russian border.
The Su-27, manufactured by Sukhoi, is a fixed-wing, twin-engine, air superiority war machine, designed to outmaneuver America’s fourth generation fighter aircraft such as the F-14 Tomcat and the F-15 Eagle.
The incident is the latest is a series of wargames and mid-air interceptions that highlight the inherently dangerous cat-and-mouse game played by the major superpowers on contested airspace.
There has been a significant buildup of American and NATO forces across countries bordering with Russia in recent times, amidst heightened international tensions concerning North Korea, Syria, and their allies.
Top Gun’s exhilarating mix of state-of-the-art fighter planes, rock music, and young and rowdy Navy pilots turned the movie into an instant blockbuster. It also launched the career of a hitherto relatively unknown Tom Cruise to international stardom, a status that the rather diminutive actor enjoys to this day. Even the US Navy, which had helped finance the movie -and enjoyed tight control over its script in exchange for a favorable rate to lease its aircraft and other assets to the filmmakers- benefited from Top Gun’s massive success. The Navy set up recruitment booths outside the theaters where the movie was being shown, to try and steer moviegoers towards a career in naval aviation.
All that was 21 years ago, believe it or not. Talks of a sequel surfaced every now and again, but the untimely death of Tony Scott appeared to shelve the project for good.
Nevertheless, the Hollywood machine has worked its magic, and the much-expected sequel to Top Gun is finally a go.
It isn’t unclear when filming will start, or who will star in it, apart from the leading man himself, who will reprise the role of talented but troubled F-14 pilot Pete Mitchell, callsign Maverick.
And in Cruise’s very own moniker lies the title of the sequel.
Tom Cruise had said that he ‘did not want a number’ accompanying the movie’s title, so the sequel to the 1986 classic will be called Top Gun: Maverick.
Little is known about the plot, or indeed who the director will be. Top Gun: Maverick will reportedly have a similar look and feel to the original, but it’s all guesswork at the moment.
Stay tuned for updates.
A number of long-range B-52 bombers will be deployed to the UK to take part in upcoming joint wargames with NATO forces.
The deployment takes place against a backdrop of uncertainty about the future role of US forces in the defence of the continent.
President Donald Trump has alienated many European countries with comments about the perceived obsolescence of NATO, and his views that Germany is not ‘paying enough’ towards defence spending.
Nevertheless, a number of bombers and up to 800 troops will soon arrive in the UK. The upcoming wargames will take place across the Baltic region, right on Russia’s borders, later this month.
The B-52 Stratofortress is one of the US Air Force’s longest serving aircraft.
It first entered active service in 1955, and carried out a large number of bombing operations throughout the Vietnam War, notably during sustained bombardment campaigns as part of operations Rolling Thunder and Arc Light.
The aircraft, which completed its sixtieth operational year in 2015, has seen action as recently as 2016, conducting sorties in Afghanistan.
Having undergone a large number of modifications throughout its long history, the B-52 is likely to remain operational at least until 2045, some 90 years after the aircraft first entered service. This is an unprecedented length of service for any aircraft, civilian or military, in history.
The end of days inches yet a bit closer after US President Donald Trump announces that his country will no longer abide by the Paris Agreement on climate.
Trump, who is almost as oblivious to scientific reality as our very own Danny Healy-Rae from the Kingdom, has unilaterally decided that the US will withdraw from the historic deal on climate reached in Paris in 2015.
The agreement was reached after decades of wrangling and toing and froing regarding global warming and climate change. Those countries responsible for producing 55% of the global carbon and gas emissionns ratified it, and the agreement became legally binding a few months later. Only two countries -Syria and Nicaragua- opted out.
The overall aim of the deal is to keep global temperature increases to less than 2C, with particular effort put into maintaining the figure at 1.5C.
The US will now be free from such obligation. It is worth mentioning that energy companies poured tens of millions of dollars into supporting the president during his campaign, lobbying hard to exert influence over future decisions that could potentially affect their own coffers.
It is now clear that such covert moves paid off, as energy giants stand to gain big time financially after today.