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Imperial-News 169


Imperial-News 169 - 8 April 2005

Welcome to the latest edition of Imperial-News. Delivered to your inbox every Friday afternoon, Imperial-News keeps you up to date with the latest developments at Imperial College London.

In this edition: Smelly cinemas, commercial success for Imperial, and new way to stop cat allergies.

>>> Imperial receives government funding for anti-HIV gel
This week, the Department for International Development and the Medical Research Council announced £25 million worth of funding for trials to develop microbicide gels, a gel which can be applied before sex and protects against HIV transmission. Imperial's Clinical Trials Centre, and the MRC's Clinical Trials Unit will coordinate the study.
news.scotsman.com

>>> 'I love the smell of napalm' - in the cinema?
Sony has patented a device to evoke smells, flavours and even a sense of touch in audience's brains, for cinema audiences. The device works by firing pulses of ultrasound at the audience's heads to alter the normal neural activity in key parts of the brain. Professor Patrick Purcell, Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering is not convinced by the idea: "The problem is, in a cinema, one person's favourite sensation might be awful to someone else."
www.guardian.co.uk

>>> Research suggests a way to control cat allergies
Scientists have discovered a novel method to reduce cat allergic reactions by topping up the immune cells responsible for controlling them. According to research published this week in the Public Library of Science (PLoS) Medicine, the team have discovered a way to decrease allergic reactions by increasing numbers of CD4+ regulatory T-cells. Dr Mark Larché, National Heart and Lung Institute, said: "Although we have known about the role of these regulatory immune cells for a number of years, this is the first time we have found a way to manipulate them to help control allergic reactions."
www.imperial.ac.uk/P6258.htm

>>> Imperial spinout raises £2.5 million
HydroVenturi, an Imperial spinout has raised £2.5m from Porton Capital to develop its new technique for generating power from tidal currents.
news.ft.com

>>> Asthmatics naturally deficient in anti-viral immunity
Asthmatics produce lower levels of a type of immune cell protein needed to fight off infection from colds and other viruses, scientists have discovered. The finding helps to explain why asthmatics are more susceptible to respiratory virus infections. Professor Sebastian Johnston, National Heart and Lung Institute, said: "The discovery that asthmatics produce lower levels of interferons when they encounter respiratory viruses could help in the development of new treatments for asthma attacks. By giving interferons to asthma sufferers it may be possible to prevent or treat the asthma attacks, stopping sufferers from becoming hospitalised through illness."
www.imperial.ac.uk/P6255.htm

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