See Melinda's Blog Commentary on these two articles:
Molecular Fluoresence Imaging Guidance
Nobel laureate brings hope for cancer patients
07 Jan 2010 05:46:00 AM IST
KOTTAYAM: Cancer patients will, in the none-too-distant future, be able to heave a huge sigh relief. That is, when Molecular Fluorescence Imaging Guidance replaces chemotherapy post-surgery, according to Nobel laureate Prof. Roger Yonchien Tsien.
He endorsed the view aired recently by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that researchers should work in tandem with the industry and translate their findings into practical applications.
The professor was delivering a lecture at Mahatma Gandhi University on Tuesday as part of ‘The Erudite Scholarsin- Residence Programme’.
Tsien, who bagged the Nobel in 2008 for his path-breaking work of identifying and developing the Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) from jellyfish, stressed greater accuracy in locating bad cells in the human body “instead of leaving it to grow as a lump” and the need to treat the body as a whole.
Most cancer deaths are due to metabases growing in ‘distant’ organs rather than primary tumours. Imaging by use of molecular fluorescence instead of the existing magnetic resonance method (MRI) will help a lot in treating other diseases such as those afflicting the carotid artery, “since it can locate and decipher anything in a human body up to a nano centimetre in a given area”.
The GFP’s main limitation is that it cannot be put to clinical use since it has to be genetically modified, “which is not ethically permissible”. “I don’t advocate GFP or its genetically modified form in humans and hence the reliance on synthetic molecules evolved from GFP findings,” he said.
Tsien, who is a professor of Biochemistry at the University of California, disclosed that plans are afoot to set up a small collaborative industry for the purpose.
Welcoming the professor, Vice-Chancellor Rajan Gurukkal said it was a great moment for the university since it was for the first time that a Nobel laureate was visiting the campus.
Government is 'dangerously deluded' on GM
THE Government is ‘dangerously deluded’ if it believes genetically modified crops will solve the world’s food security issues, members of the breakaway Oxford Real Farming Conference warned.
Professor John Beddington, the Government’s chief scientist, told the Prime Minister on Wednesday (January 8) that genetic technology would help deliver ‘a new and greener food revolution’ for Britain.
But Colin Tudge, a science writer and organiser of the rival farm conference which took place alongside the Oxford Farming Conference this week, said farmers did not need ‘novel and untried’ technology.
Instead he said the Government must ‘free farmers from the shackles of economic dogma’.
“For decades politicians have starved agriculture of resources on the mistaken notion that the market would deliver a secure food supply.
“As a result tens of thousands of farmers have gone to the wall and Britain has been robbed of the skills it needs to feed the people.
“The Government are desperately pinning their hopes on untried GM technology to save us but scientists who truly understand agriculture know that this can’t solve our food supply problems.
“Our prime objective must be feeding people, not making profits for large business corporations as now,” he said.
Professor Martin Wolfe, director of the organic research centre at Elm Farm, added there were many unanswered questions about GM crops.
The only realistic way to maximise productivity, he said, was through polycultures– using multiple crops and animals in the same space, in imitation of the diversity of natural ecosystems.
“The first priority for research and development should be for ecological agriculture,” he said.