ISLAMABAD – Researchers have identified that a type of cancer drug can help people with early multiple sclerosis relapsed on previous drugs as well as patients who failed in treatment.

A new study conducted at the University of Cambridge indicated that a drug which reboots a person’s immune system proved to be an effective treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, it was reported. According to the study, the drug known as ‘alemtuzumab,’ which previously used to treat a type of leukemia, through wiping out and resetting the immune system, has shown better results than other current options for MS patients.

The drug significantly lowers the number of attacks (or relapses) experienced by people with MS compared to those patients who are treated with current drug, interferon beta-1a. Moreover, the study revealed that patients taking alemtuzumab had less disability than when they started the trial whereas those who were on interferon therapy had experienced worsening disability.

The effective result was seen both in patients who had not previously received any treatment and those who have continued to show disease activity whilst taking an existing treatment for MS.

“Although other MS drugs have emerged over the last year, which is certainly good news for patients, none has shown superior effects on disability when compared to interferon except alemtuzumab,” said Dr Alasdair Coles, from the University of Cambridge.

“It is certainly the most effective MS drug, based on these clinical trials, but this is definitely not a cure,” he noted. MS is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks nerve fibres and their protective insulation.

The resulting damage prevents the nerves from ‘firing’ properly and  ultimately leads to the loss of the nerve fibre and consequently physical and cognitive disabilities.

Men’s cancer risk ‘to climb to one in two’

Men look set to have a one in two chance of developing cancer in their lifetime, UK experts predict. The increase to 50 out of 100, up from the current 44 in 100 chance, is largely down to people living longer  age is the biggest cancer risk factor, says Cancer Research UK.

The cancers set to increase the most in men within the next 15 years are bowel, prostate and skin (melanoma). But more will survive cancer, thanks to better screening and treatments.

Medical advances mean cancer survival has already doubled in the past 40 years.

And there will be more than 194,000 women diagnosed with cancer in 2027 compared with 160,000 in 2010 - which would mean a woman’s lifetime odds of developing cancer would be 44 in 100, up from 40 in 100.

A pressing task is to find an effective way to screen for prostate cancer.

Not all cancer in the prostate is aggressive or life-threatening - some people live with the condition for a lifetime without any problems.

But doctors still have no reliable test that can spot which of these tumours are safe to leave alone.

Another challenge is getting men to turn up for cancer screening even when a good test for it does exist, says Alan White, chairman of the Men’s Health Forum and professor of men’s health at Leeds Metropolitan University.

A cauliflower a day keeps the cold away

Once the weather turns colder, it feels like everyone is sneezing, sniffling, coughing, shivering, and potentially getting you sick. While it might seem inevitable that you will fall prey to that most common of colds, there are some very natural, effective ways to keep illness at bay.

First, try discerning whether you have a simple (yet, still irritating) cold, or the much more serious influenza virus. Colds rarely cause fevers, and the symptoms come on slowly, usually starting with a sore throat and leading to a stuffy, runny nose that lingers for a few days.

The flu, by contrast, tends to hit people like a truck, with a fever, sore throat, headache, congestion and cough coming on quickly, and often all at once.