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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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CERED wins Careers Wales Valued Partners Award

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CERED staff were presented with a Silver Award Certificate, based on the work the Menter is doing to help students prepare for their future careers, at a special awards ceremony in Cardiff on 14 November.

The Valued Partners Award, which is organised by Careers Wales, recognises the support CERED provides to schools and young people to help them better understand the world of work and more specifically the importance and value of Welsh in the workplace.

Non Davies, CERED Manager said, “CERED is delighted to be recognized as a Valued Partner. The work that Rhodri Francis and the rest of the staff have done delivering Welsh in the Workplace sessions is extremely important to ensure that our young people understand the value of the Welsh language. The information presented often changes young people’s attitudes towards the Welsh language and positively influences their decisions when considering their future.”

Careers Wales creates links between education and employers by bringing schools and businesses together to inform, inspire and engage young people in their future careers.

Launched in 2018, the Business Education Exchange now offers schools the opportunity to engage with over 13,500 employers across Wales through a host of different activities.

As a Valued Partner, CERED has worked with Careers Wales for a number of years now delivering a ‘Welsh in the Workplace’ session to Year 9 pupils as part of ‘Your Choice, Your Future’ days. These career days are held at every Secondary School in Ceredigion on an annual basis.

More than 50 companies from all over Wales attended the awards ceremony in Cardiff, with BBC Radio Wales presenter Jason Mohammed at the helm.

Nikki Lawrence, Chief Executive of Careers Wales, said, “The Valued Partners Award scheme is vital to the work that Careers Wales does, and we really appreciate the support we receive from all our Valued Partners. Ultimately, we would love for employers to contribute to the national curriculum to ensure that the skills students develop will be useful for evolving workplaces.”

“Without our Valuable Partners, we would not have been able to reach so many students so early in the process, for which we are very grateful.”

For more information on how to work with Careers Wales to help raise young people’s awareness and spark their interest in the world of work, email employerengagement@careerswales.co.uk

CERED yn ennill Gwobr Partneriaid Gwerthfawr Gyrfa Cymru

Cyflwynwyd Tystysgrif Gwobr Arian i staff CERED ar sail y gwaith mae’r Fenter yn ei wneud yn helpu myfyrwyr i baratoi ar gyfer eu gyrfaoedd.

Mae Gwobr Partneriaid Gwerthfawr, sy’n rhoddedig gan gwmni Gyrfa Cymru, yn cydnabod y cymorth mae CERED yn ei roi i ysgolion a phobl ifanc i’w helpu i ddeall y byd gwaith yn well ac yn fwy penodol pwysigrwydd a gwerth y Gymraeg yn y gweithle. Cyflwynwyd y wobr mewn seremoni wobrwyo arbennig yng Nghaerdydd ar 14 Tachwedd.

Dywedodd Non Davies, Rheolwr CERED, “Mae CERED yn bles iawn o gael ei gydnabod fel Partner Gwerthfawr. Mae’r gwaith mae Rhodri Francis a gweddill y staff wedi ei wneud yn cyflwyno sesiynau Cymraeg yn y Gweithle yn hynod bwysig i sicrhau bod ein pobl ifanc yn deall gwerth y Gymraeg. Yn aml mae’r wybodaeth a gyflwynir yn newid agweddau pobl ifanc at y Gymraeg ac yn dylanwadu yn bositif ar eu penderfyniadau wrth ystyried eu dyfodol.”

Mae Gyrfa Cymru yn creu cysylltiadau rhwng addysg a chyflogwyr trwy ddod ag ysgolion a busnesau ynghyd i hysbysu, ysbrydoli a thanio diddordeb pobl ifanc yn eu gyrfaoedd yn y dyfodol.

Cafodd y Gyfnewidfa Addysg Busnes ei lansio yn 2018, ac erbyn hyn mae’n cynnig cyfle i ysgolion ddod i gysylltiad â dros 13,500 o gyflogwyr ledled Cymru trwy gyfrwng llu o wahanol weithgareddau.

Fel Partner Gwerthfawr, mae CERED wedi gweithio gyda Gyrfa Cymru ers nifer o flynyddoedd bellach gan gyflwyno sesiwn ‘Cymraeg yn y Gweithle’ i ddisgyblion Blwyddyn 9 fel rhan o ddiwrnodau ‘Eich Dewis, Eich Dyfodol’. Caiff y diwrnodau gyrfa hyn eu cynnal ym mhob Ysgol Uwchradd yng Ngheredigion yn flynyddol.

Roedd dros 50 o gwmnïau o bob cwr o Gymru yn bresennol yn y seremoni wobrwyo yng Nghaerdydd, a Jason Mohammed, cyflwynydd BBC Radio Wales, oedd wrth y llyw.

Meddai Nikki Lawrence, Prif Weithredwr Gyrfa Cymru, “Mae cynllun Gwobrau Partneriaid Gwerthfawr yn hollbwysig i’r gwaith mae Gyrfa Cymru yn ei wneud, ac rydym wir yn gwerthfawrogi’r gefnogaeth a gawn gan bob un o’n Partneriaid Gwerthfawr. Yn y pen draw, byddem wrth ein bodd pe bai cyflogwyr yn cyfrannu at y cwricwlwm cenedlaethol er mwyn sicrhau y bydd y sgiliau mae myfyrwyr yn eu datblygu yn ddefnyddiol i weithleoedd sy’n esblygu.”

“Heb ein Partneriaid Gwerthfawr, ni fyddai modd i ni gyrraedd cynifer o fyfyrwyr mor gynnar yn y broses, ac rydym yn ddiolchgar iawn iddynt am hynny.”

I gael mwy o wybodaeth am sut i weithio gyda Gyrfa Cymru i helpu i godi ymwybyddiaeth pobl ifanc a thanio eu diddordeb yn y byd gwaith, e-bostiwch employerengagement@careerswales.co.uk

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Spate of overnight burglaries in Clarach, Bow Street and Ponterwyd

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POLICE are investigating a spate of burglaries overnight in Clarach, Bow Street and Ponterwyd.

A number of burglaries have been reported, with entry forced to businesses and CCTV cameras damaged or removed.

In Bow Street, entry was forced into an agricultural merchants, where items were taken; and CCTV was removed from a business.

Two vehicles – a VW Passat – registration plate CU16 OAL – and an Audi – registration YT09 TWL – were also reported stolen from a garage in the village.

A VW Crafter – registration plate GM16OTP, along with tools and equipment were stolen from a business in Ponterwyd.

Four businesses at Nantallan Business Park were targeted:

Bikes and steamers were reported stolen from one, a generator and two boxes containing LED lighting from another, a Mitsubishi L200 flatbed truck taken from the third, and tools stolen from a fourth.

Police are treating the incidents as linked, and would like to speak to anyone with information or who witnessed any suspicious behaviour in the Clarach and Bow Street areas.

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Police confirm Ellie Bryan, 18, died in collision

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE can confirm the woman who tragically died following a collision at Commins Coch was Ellie Bryan, from Aberystwyth.
The 18-year-old was a passenger in a Vauxhall Astra which was involved in a collision at around 10pm on Saturday, November 16.
Her family has released the following statement: “We are distraught by our loss of Ellie. She will be missed by us all.
“Ellie was a loving daughter, sister and granddaughter.
“We would like to thank everyone for their support at this devastating time.
“We would appreciate having time to grieve in privacy.”
Police continue to appeal for witnesses or anyone with information about the collision to contact the Serious Collision Investigation Unit.
You can report information online at: http://bit.ly/dppReportOnline, by email at: contactcentre@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk or by calling 101.
If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908. Quote reference: DP-20191116-353.

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