Here you can read the latest research and clinical trials news

Here at the British Research Panel, we try to keep you updated with the latest breakthroughs and news within the world of research. Below we bring a selection of articles regarding recent developments.


How did researchers develop a Covid-19 vaccine so quickly?

How was the Covid-19 vaccine developed in less than a year, when the fastest vaccine development prior to this was the mumps vaccine, taking 4 years?

Experts inform us of a number of contributing factors:

  • Researchers were not starting from scratch. They had been studying coronaviruses for over 50 years
  • Worldwide collaboration meant researchers sharing their coronavirus data with other scientists due to the time pressures of the pandemic
  • Large scale funding including the European Commission pledging $8 billion for Covid-19 research

Rigorous guidelines throughout the process and constant monitoring and collection of safety data after the vaccine distribution will ensure safety.

Click here to read more about how the pandemic has transformed vaccine research.



Diabetes drug shows promise in treating and reversing heart failure

People with heart failure who received the diabetes drug, empagliflozin, showed significant improvement in heart structure and function.

Scientists divided the 84 participants into two groups. One group receiving 10mg empagliflozin daily and the other receiving the placebo. After 6 months, 80% of those who received the treatment showed improvements and the heart returned to near normal in this group of participants. These patients experienced reduced heart size and thickness, as well as lower congestion levels.

Read more here!



Researchers restore vision in old mice

Through resetting the chemical markers that accumulate on DNA as cells age, cells in mice were reprogrammed to a ‘younger’ state.

After the mice received injections, the expression of the three additional genes caused nerve regeneration from injured eye cells.

The injection also improved vision acuity in mice with age-related vision loss and reset epigenetic patterns to a more youthful state in mice, as well as human cells grown in the laboratory.

Read the full story here.



First person receives Covid-19 vaccine in UK 

90-year-old Margaret Keenan became the first person to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. “I can finally look forward to spending time with my family and friends in the new year, after being on my own for most of the year,” she said happily.

This was the first of 800,000 doses to be dispensed in the coming weeks, with up to four million expected by the end of the month. 50 hospital sites around the UK had been providing vaccines to patients and health care workers on “V-day”. The UK makes history, being the first country in the world to start using the Pfizer vaccine.

Read the full story here.



New research suggests immunity to COVID is better than we first thought

New research suggests that key parts of the immune system can remember SARS-CoV-2 for at least 8 or 9 months and possibly years.

Our adaptive immune response to COVID-19 involves our body producing B and T cells. Researchers showed that these B cells last at least 8 months, meaning antibodies could be produced rapidly 8 months post-infection if exposure to the virus would occur again. Researchers also studied those in Wuhan who were infected with COVID-19 earliest. These people showed that T cell memory was still present 9 months after infection.

Reinfection is rare; however, it is clear that our immune systems can “remember” and respond to SARS-CoV-2.

Read the full article here.



Covid Pfizer vaccine approved for use next week in UK

The UK is the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for widespread use.

The UK has already ordered 40 million doses, with the first 800,000 arriving in the coming days for those in high priority groups. Vaccination centres are being set up and experts have created a priority list targeting those at highest risk. The UK has ordered a further 100m doses of the Oxford University vaccine and mass immunisation will occur as stocks become available.

Read the full article here.



Ulcerative Colitis: Bacteria findings in a study raise hopes for new treatment

Researchers suggest that introducing the “missing” microbes or substances that these microbes produce could help those suffering from ulcerative colitis.

The study included 2 groups:

·       Patients who had their colons removed and pouches created because of ulcerative colitis

·       Patients who underwent the same procedure for reasons other than inflammation

Patients treated for ulcerative colitis had much lower levels of secondary bile acids in their faeces than the other group. These acids are known to have an anti-inflammatory role. An experiment on mice with comparable conditions also suggested that through adding these secondary bile acids, inflammation was reduced.

Interested in reading more? Click the link below.



New study suggests link between type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular risk

Researchers have identified a link between type 2 diabetes and an increased risk in cardiovascular health issues. Early treatment for people with type 2 diabetes for cardiovascular disease could significantly reduce cardiovascular events and mortality.

A study in the UK including 331,000 people with type 2 diabetes, and 379,000 without concluded that even when optimally controlling the five risk factors for cardiovascular issues, those with type 2 diabetes had a 21% increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The five cardiovascular risk factors included cholesterol, triglycerides, smoking, blood glucose and blood pressure. Researchers noted that people with type 2 diabetes tend to poorly manage their cardiovascular risk factors and there is great potential to reduce cardiovascular health issues by early management, care and drug intervention.

To read the full article, click the link below!



Combination cancer vaccine effective in mouse models

A new vaccine combining chemotherapy and immunotherapy resulted in an increase in the death of cancer cells and the development of fewer tumours in mice. By adding a synthetic bacterial DNA sequence, even better results were achieved. The mice receiving treatment survived an average of 40 days, compared with 27 days for those receiving no treatment. After removing the tumours and then reintroducing cancer cells, none of the mice who were treated with the vaccine developed new tumours, whereas the unvaccinated mice all died of the disease.

For the complete article, click on the link below.



New Research Results:  Pfizer’s Coronavirus Vaccine Is Safe and 95% Effective

A new COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer is 95% effective with no serious side effects.
The trial included 44,000 participants, half of which received a placebo. Out of the 170 Covid-19 cases, 8 were in the vaccine group and 162 in the placebo group. An immunologist at Yale stated that results were most promising for people over 65.
Pfizer plans to apply for emergency approval from the FDA “within days” after 2 months of observation for safety issues. Approval would mean 50 million doses available by the end of the year and up to 1.3 billion by the end of next year.

To read the full article, click the link below!



Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech is strongly effective, early data from large trial indicate

Pfizer and BioNTech announced that their vaccine has exceeded expectations so far. Participants in their study who received two injections of their vaccine, three weeks apart experienced 90% fewer cases of symptomatic Covid-19 than the control group. Phase 3 is ongoing and the companies will not file for an emergency use authorization until participants have been observed for safety issues for at least two months after their second dose. The current situation is promising, with more information expected to follow in the third week of November. It is still too soon to predict the impact and long-term effects of this vaccine.

If you want to find out more, click the link below!



Honeybee venom kills aggressive breast cancer cells

The active component, melittin in honeybee venom has been found to kill two aggressive types of breast cancer cells. Scientists at Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research in Perth, Australia and the University of Western Australia have found melittin to kill both triple-negative breast cancer and HER2-enriched breast cancer. Melittin is capable of punching holes in the outer membrane of cancer cells with negligible effects on healthy cells. This quality could potentially make it easier for chemotherapy to penetrate cells, reducing the required dosage. Melittin is also able to disrupt the passing of chemical messages required for cell growth, slowing down the growth of tumours.

Want to read more? Click on this link!



Link found between metabolic syndrome and worse COVID-19 outcomes

A study carried out on 287 COVID-19 patients at two hospitals in LA and New Orleans has shown that patients with metabolic syndrome are almost five times as likely to be admitted to an intensive care unit or need ventilation. Metabolic syndrome requires possessing three of the following five medical conditions:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes or prediabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Hypertriglyceridemia
  • Low high-density lipoprotein levels

The research highlights that obesity, hypertension and diabetes are more common in people who die from COVID-19 than heart or lung conditions. 56% of those studied who had metabolic syndrome required intensive care, 48% required ventilation and 26% died. Interestingly, the research suggests no link between the individual conditions making up metabolic syndrome and death due to COVID-19.

If you are interested in reading more, click the link below!



Research gives green light for migraine relief

Green light alone could be as effective as drugs in reducing migraine frequency and severity. After previous research from the University of Arizona College of Medicine, showed the pain-relieving effect of green light in rats, the team continued their research on 29 participants with episodic migraine, and 22 with chronic migraine. Participants spent 1-2 hours daily in a room lit by white light for 10 weeks. The same process was then carried out with an LED strip emitting green light. The green light decreased the frequency of headaches by 60% each month and the intensity of pain fell from an average of 8, before treatment to 3.2 afterwards. Pain was measured on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the most intense.

Interested in reading more? Take a look below.



Stem cells repair damaged circuits in mice with Parkinson’s

A professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison implanted dopamine-producing neurons into the brains of mice, resulting in improved motor skills 4 and 5 months after the transplantation. Dopamine-producing neurons are the cells that die in Parkinson’s disease. The transplanted neurons sent out nerve impulses, via axons to the region of the brain crucial for coordinating movement, known as the dorsal striatum. The team conducting this experiment was able to switch off the cells, causing the improved motor skills to disappear. This provided proof that the transplantations had been responsible for the improvements.

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Shot to Prevent H.I.V. Works Better Than Daily Pill in Women

A clinical trial has been cut short due to such promising results. The more effective drug will be given as six injections per year compared to the daily pill. The trial compared the new injected drug, cabotegravir, with the daily pill, Truvada on 3223 participants in Sub-Saharan Africa. 34 women taking Truvada became infected with HIV during the trial, compared to just 4 women receiving injections. The injection proved to be 89% more effective as the pill and it will also be a more reliable form of medication as many women struggle to take the pill regularly.

Read more about this here.