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UWTSD student publishes debut novel

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UWTSD student Laura James-Brownsell’s debut Sci-fi novel ‘Destroyers’ was launched recently and is now available to download online.

Currently in her second year of the four-year MArts Creative Writing degree at the University’s Lampeter Campus Laura is ‘overjoyed’ to have completed her first novel.

‘Destroyers’ is a book about a girl called Coral Hughes who lives in a world where almost everyone in the Universe vanishes and an evil organisation tries to use the ensuing climate of terror to inflict their own horrific agenda.

Laura, who is originally from Swansea, also writes her own blog titled ‘The Magic of Stories: Life as a writer with Cat’s Eye Syndrome’.

The blog gives an insight into Laura’s life as a writer and as somebody who suffers from Cat’s Eye Syndrome, which is a rare chromosomal disorder that can affect several parts of the body. Over the years Laura has had several major surgeries but is determined not to allow the condition to hold her back.

Lampeter based Laura James-Brownsell said: “I’m overjoyed to have completed my first novel.  I actually had the idea for ‘Destroyers’ when I was 13 years old and to now see the finished novel available for others to read is extremely exciting.

“Writing has been my passion for as long as I remember and studying creative writing at UWTSD is a fantastic experience. As somebody who suffers from Cat’s Eye Syndrome I’m very grateful to everybody at the Lampeter campus for all their support – I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the course so far and look forward to the next phase of my degree.

“I’d like to stress that the condition hasn’t held me back at all.  My blog is also a way to let people who have Cat’s Eye Syndrome and their families know that although the condition can be an uphill struggle at times everything can be okay.”

Laura’s mentor and tutor Dr Jeni Williams is extremely proud of Laura’s achievements. Literature & Creative Writing Senior Lecturer, Dr Williams said: “Laura is a talented writer who takes her work seriously. She has developed her ambition and skill while studying in Lampeter and intends completing her MArts Creative Writing in 2019.  She has been writing a blog about writing with her disability for a year now and is seeking to build on her online presence with the publication of this dystopian fantasy. It is an impressive achievement and bodes well for the future.”

Laura’s novel can be downloaded from http://amzn.to/2AudhIy

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Police trying to track stolen tanker

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE is investigating the theft of a fuel tanker containing approximately 8,500 litres of diesel (4,000 litres of red diesel and 4,500 litres of white diesel).

The vehicle was taken from Tan Y Foel Quarry, Cefn Coch, Welshpool, between 5.30pm on Wednesday, May 23 and 6am on Thursday, May 24.

The police are asking people to see if the tanker is now in this area.

Anyone with information that can help officers with their investigation is asked to report it by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908, quoting Ref: DPP/0006/24/05/2018/01/C.

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Reprogrammed virus offers hope as cancer treatment

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A CANCER treatment that can completely destroy cancer cells without affecting healthy cells could soon be a possibility, thanks to research led by Cardiff University.

The team of researchers has successfully ‘trained’ a respiratory virus to recognise ovarian cancer and completely destroy it without infecting other cells. The reprogrammed virus could also be used to treat other cancers such as breast, pancreatic, lung and oral.

Dr Alan Parker from Cardiff University’s School of Medicine said: “Reprogrammed viruses are already being used in gene therapy procedures to treat a range of diseases, demonstrating they can be trained from being life-threatening into potentially lifesaving agents.

“In cancer treatment, up until now, reprogrammed viruses have not been able to selectively recognise only the cancer cells and would also infect healthy cells, resulting in unwanted side effects.

“We’ve taken a common, well-studied virus and completely redesigned it so that it can no longer attach to non-cancerous cells but instead seeks out a specific marker protein called αvβ6 integrin, which is unique to certain cancer cells, allowing it to invade them.

“In this case we introduced the reprogrammed virus to ovarian cancer which it successfully identified and destroyed.

“This is an exciting advance, offering real potential for patients with a variety of cancers.”

Once the virus enters the cancer cell it uses the cell’s machinery to replicate, producing many thousands of copies of itself, prior to bursting the cell and thereby destroying it in the process. The newly released viral copies can then bind and infect neighbouring cancer cells and repeat the same cycle, eventually removing the tumour mass altogether.

The virus also activates the body’s natural immune system, helping it to recognise and destroy the malignant cells.

The reprogrammed virus is from a group of respiratory viruses called adenoviruses. The advantage of using these viruses is that they are relatively easy to manipulate and have already been safely used in cancer treatment.

The technique used to reprogramme the virus to identify the protein common to ovarian, breast, pancreatic, lung and oral cancers could also be used to manipulate it so that it would recognise proteins common to other groups of cancers.

Additional refinement to the viral DNA could also allow the virus to produce anticancer drugs, such as antibodies, during the process of infecting cancer cells. This effectively turns the cancer into a factory producing drugs that will cause its own destruction.

The research was carried out in a laboratory, using mice with ovarian cancer, and has not yet reached clinical trials. The next step is to test the technique with other cancers, with a view to starting clinical trials in five years’ time.

Dr Catherine Pickworth from Cancer Research UK said: “It’s encouraging to see that this virus, which has been modified to recognise markers on cancer cells, has the ability to infect and kill ovarian cancer cells in the lab. Viruses are nature’s nanotechnology and harnessing their ability to hijack cells is an area of growing interest in cancer research.

“The next step will be more research to see if this could be a safe and effective strategy to use in people.”

The team includes researchers from Cardiff University; the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, USA; Glasgow University; the South West Wales Cancer Institute; and Velindre Cancer Centre.

The research was funded by Cancer Research UK, Tenovus Cancer Care and Cancer Research Wales.

The paper ‘Ad5NULL-A20 – a tropism-modified, αvβ6 integrin-selective oncolytic adenovirus for epithelial ovarian cancer therapies’ is published in Clinical Cancer Research.

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Money raised by Canolfan Padarn in the Race for Life

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STAFF and service users from Canolfan Padarn took part in this year’s Race for Life which took place on Sunday, May 13.

Service users Debbie, Lowri and Donna had been training for months as part of the centre’s healthy lifestyle group and were joined by staff members Lina, Ellie-May, Heather, Jenny, Dawn and Anwen, along with Heather’s daughter Cala, and Anwen’s daughter Jena.

Canolfan Padarn Support Worker Ellie-May Watkins said: “The crowd gave the crew great support and we’re grateful to everyone who cheered us on. We’d like to say a huge thank you to Queens Road Bowling Club for use of their facilities on the day. Previously, Canolfan Padarn raised £330 for Cancer research, we hope that we will match or exceed that in sponsorship this year.”

Canolfan Padarn is a community resource base for adults with learning disabilities in Aberystwyth, offering social, leisure and work opportunities in the local area.

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