June 22, 2024

I, Science

The science magazine of Imperial College

On the news this week: Diet drugs for mosquitoes; new cancer treatment; and hangover tips.

First up, researchers have found a way to curb the bloodthirstiness of mosquitoes with drugs that trick them into feeling full. These so-called diet drugs activate the NPY receptor found in the brain, which is involved in controlling appetite in many animals, including humans. Feeding these drugs to mosquitoes can make them feel falsely satisfied for up to two days, so they’re much less likely to want to suck your blood. However, because these drugs can also affect people, it might take a while before they can be safely deployed as a method of disease control.

Next, a new cancer treatment nicknamed the ‘Trojan Horse’ drug has seen success this week in treating 150 cancer patients. These patients, who were from the UK, US and parts of Europe had become resistant to standard cancer treatments. Toxic chemicals were hidden inside antibodies, in order for the toxic chemicals to be released inside the tumours. 6 different cancers have responded to the treatment thus far, including bladder and cervical cancer. There are plans to expand the trial to include more cancers. Professor Johann de Bono, the study leader, says that the treatment could be viable for cancer patients in general in 5 years or less.


And finally, after careful testing, researchers have found that beer before wine is a useless rhyme. Volunteers were asked to drink 2.5 pints of beer followed by 4 large glasses of wine, or the same drinks in the opposite order. They were then asked to rate their hangovers the next morning and the results were pretty conclusive, the quantity of alcohol is far more important than the order of the drinks. So, to avoid the dreaded hangover next time, just drink less!


This week’s news was written and presented by Tristan Varela, Harry Lampert, and Aaron Hadley, who are studying for a MSc in Science Communication at Imperial College London.


Banner image: Swarm of gnats, LibreShot