A new treatment that kills cancer in a few hours

This new type of super-precise radiotherapy promises to transform the way we treat certain types of lung cancer, after a Melbourne-led clinical trial revealed the treatment significantly improved survival chances. Stereotactic ablative body radiotherapy (SABR) uses thin beams of radiation to directly attack the tumour. It’s also cheaper than traditional radiotherapy. In this way, the tumour receives a very high dose of radiation and the surrounding tissues largely avoid it, minimising side effects. And patients only need to come to hospital three or four times, rather than regularly over the space of two months. https://www.smh.com.au/national/like-winning-lotto-the-treatment-that-kills-cancer-in-a-few-hours-20190212-p50xdo.html

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Using AI to prevent youth suicides

The Otsu school in Japan will feed  AI information from about 9,000 suspected bullying cases, reported by their elementary and junior high schools, between 2012 and 2018. This information will include details on the students involved — their ages, genders, absenteeism records, and academic achievements — as well as when and where any bullying incidents took place. Through an AI theoretical analysis of past data, they plan to properly respond to cases without just relying on teachers’ past experiences. The hope is that the AI will allow school officials to identify the bullying cases that are likely to escalate in seriousness so that they can intervene and diffuse situations before it’s too late. https://futurism.com/the-byte/school-bullying-artificial-intelligence

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Research that shows how the immune system could be more effective

An elevated body temperature can kill. Yet fever—which is precisely that—is a common response to infection. Recent research shows how febrile temperatures encourage a particular protein called Hsp90 to shepherd immune-system cells to sites of infection. This research suggests ways in which the process might be regulated to a patient’s advantage. Drugs that increase Hsp90 production should promote the migration of T-cells to lymph nodes, and so aid the treatment of infections that need a larger immune response. Conversely, drugs that diminish Hsp90 production might help reduce T-cell movement in people with so-called auto-immune disorders, such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, in which immune-system cells attack the body they are part of. www.economist.com/science-and-technology/2019/01/15/how-fever-helps-combat-disease-has-now-been-better-understood

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A solar powered tent for the homeless

This solar powered tent folds up into a rollaway backpack and was produced by girls who hope that one day, their tent will improve the lives of people experiencing homelessness in their community. The teens, none of whom had coded, soldered, sewn, or 3D-printed before they joined forces, won a $10,000 grant from the Lemelson-MIT Program to develop the invention. They were recruited by DIY Girls, a nonprofit that teaches girls from low-income communities about engineering, maths and science, to go after the grant. https://www.buildingandinteriors.com/10205/

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A safer way to blow the whistle

Users of Whispli can communicate anonymously and continuously with either designated areas in the organization or with third parties. After initial contact, they can answer questions and provide more details and progress the issue, accessing Whispli from anywhere using their own username and  password. It creates one single source for the reporting of misconduct and wrongdoing. https://whispli.com/story-whispli-sylvain-mansotte/

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Finding koalas with heat seeking drones

Heat from animals can be identified using high tech sensors in cameras flown in drones. Artificial intelligence algorithms are used to analyse the thermal imagery to determine what’s seen and can identify koalas. Field tests after the heat-sensing camera work showed it was 100 per cent accurate. https://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/heat-seeking-drones-find-brisbane-s-hiding-koalas-20181003-p507km.html

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Personalised cancer therapy

CAR-T is a novel way of treating cancer that is “personalised”. It involves giving patients genetically modified immune cells. Cells are taken from a sample of the patient’s blood and reprogrammed in the lab to create ones that are genetically coded to recognise and destroy the cancer cells. It has been shown in trials to cure some patients, even those with advanced cancers where other treatments have failed. It is the first in what is expected to be a rapidly expanding class of personalised cancer therapies available, initially for children, on the NHS in the UK. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-45407514?

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A cotton shirt you don’t have to iron

Imagine a shirt with the soft, natural feel of cotton but it doesn’t need to be ironed. Imagine as well active wear that breathes and is not smelly. While some synthetic fibres can do this, they are made from petrochemicals and every time you wash them, tiny microfibers of material are pulled free and enter our waterways. These fibres do not break down and can build up in the food chain. When you wash cotton, fibres are also shed but these are biodegradable and will break down rapidly. Some 100 % cotton products currently don’t need ironing but these tend to have been treated with chemicals to give them their special properties. CSIRO is working on the solution. https://blog.csiro.au/best-of-both-whorls-cotton-with-the-benefits-of-synthetics/

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World first melanoma blood test

Australian scientists have developed a world-first blood test capable of detecting early stage melanoma, which could save thousands of lives each year. The test works by detecting antibodies in a person’s blood, which develop to fight off cancerous cells, and highlight if a person may have melanoma. www.9news.com.au/national/2018/07/18/06/52/australian-melanoma-blood-test-early-stage-detection-cancer-prevention

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An automated restaurant experience

At one of Alibaba’s high-tech Hema grocery stores in Shanghai you can enjoy an automated dining experience. As you enter a quick QR code scan shows you your table and automatically notes your seat in the system for Hema’s robotic waiters. You can look at a fresh array of seafood and handpick your own ingredients, paid for in-app. A raised highway of robot pods has replaced human waitstaff with humans mostly left to the greeting and cooking. www.axios.com/alibaba-robot-restaurant-shanghai-china-automation-41348039-2540-4a42-8495-f0991db71574.html?

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