A Revolutionary Breakthrough in Oncology Treatment

T-cell-cancer

Cancer kills 9,000,000 (9 million) people each year and despite having searched for centuries, a cure has yet to be discovered by scientists. At the center of the immune system is the T cell, a type of leukocyte which respond against bacterial and viral infections alike in an effort to keep their host healthy and alive. T cells determine between threatening and non-threatening foreign and non-foreign bodies within a host by leveraging a molecule upon the surface of all cells referred to as the “T cell receptor”. Jim Allison was the first person to successfully isolate and purify the molecule which recognizes this lock and key model for infectious disease, auto-immune disease, and other innocuous substances within the body be they foreign or internally created. In 1987, French scientist Pierre Golstein and his team discovered a new protein upon the surface of T cells which he named “CTLA-4”. To study CTLA-4 in laboratory rats, Allison had to build and design a rat antibody, a Y shaped protein which would trigger a reaction by CTLA-4. Cancers are mutations and should in theory be visible to the immune system, which is why the scientific community has struggled with the paradox of why tumors go undetected by the immune system for decades. There is no discernible reason as to why the immune system can recognize and resist influenza or any other foreign or domestic body but not cancer. Allison theorized that tumors have evolved an ability to fool the immune system, engaging CTLA-4 which turns on the T cells response to halt its search and destroy measures. Allison hypothesized that if he inserted a Y shaped antibody to block the gap in between the tumor and T cells, the tumor would no longer have its ability to hide, a trait which has been evolved by tumor cells over hundreds of millions of years. This would allow the T cell to infiltrate, attack from within the tumor, shrink, and ultimately kill the growth. Allison spent the next decade trying to turn this revolutionary breakthrough discovery into a medication which could be provided to cancer patients. Allison found Alan Korman, a scientist creating medications for auto-immune disease which provided him with the expert he required to turn this idea into a reality. Korman was tasked with taking the CTLA-4 antibody which Allison and partner Max Krummell developed for laboratory rats, and turn it into a medication which could safely work within human beings with this medication subsequently being named “Ipilimumab” (pronounced “ipi-lim-ooh-mab”). Korman ended up collaborating with a friend from graduate school, Nils Lonberg to accomplish this task. Ipilimumab consists of an intramuscular injection into the leg and a 90 minute intravenous medication drip in comparison to chemotherapy and radiation therapy which take months of treatment to complete and have devastating effects upon overall health as both bad and good tissue are destroyed in an effort to eradicate all tumor cells. Allison’s work with laboratory rats demonstrated that with the help of this newly developed antibody, T cells gained the ability enter into tumors and expand their size in an effort to destroy them from the inside out. This means that the fact that tumors grow initially upon administration is a positive marker and indicative of the medication working as it demonstrates successful infiltration of the tumor cells themselves. Patients often report feeling better after a few treatment sessions, sometimes even a single session, despite computer tomography scans demonstrating that their tumors are growing larger, which under normal circumstances would make a patient feel worse. Some patients even noted increased improvement after having stopped the Ipilimumab treatment, with no further therapy required. On March 25, 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released approval for Ipilimumab. Ipilimumab and its successors have treated nearly 1,000,000 (1 million) patients worldwide with many of these patients achieving permanent remission which is essentially the definition of having been cured of cancer. Although these medications do not work in every single case, they have definitively demonstrated to be a miracle medication for hundreds of thousands of people thus far. After completing this revolutionary discovery, Allison was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2018 for his series of discoveries related to T cells and their ability to halt cancer in its progression in perpetuity

Sweden’s Major Contributions to Vehicular Safety Standards Worldwide

Volvo-XC90-crash-test

In 1959, Nils Bohlin (pronounced “neels bow-leen”) created the 3 point seatbelt while working for Volvo, an invention which Volvo intentionally designed to be patent free so that the advent could be utilized and implemented globally in a concerted effort to save lives everywhere. This was one of the first examples of open source technology in business and manufacturing. It’s been estimated that the seatbelt has saved more than 1,000,000 (1 million) lives over the past 40 years as of 2020. Swedish company Autoliv (pronounced “ow-tow-leeve”) furthered this pursuit towards safety by creating the seatbelt pre-tensioner which instantaneously reels in seatbelt slack during a vehicular accident and has also helped to design newer, better airbag systems and advanced artificial intelligence automobile visual systems

The Guaranteed Path to Heaven for Muslims and its Relation to Najaf, Iraq and Celebrity Undertaker Ali al-Amiya

Wadi-al-Salam-Najaf-Iraq

Shia Muslims believe that to be buried in Najaf, Iraq, guarantees a path to heaven, with many industries related to death found within the city including the manufacturing and provision of burial plots, caskets, grave stones, and grave digging, ironically with those involved, making a living from death. The largest cemetery in the world is Wadi al-Salam which means the “Valley of Peace” in Arabic, with over 5,000,000 (5 million) gravesites. Ali al-Amiya, the most famous person within this Iraqi industry, works at this cemetery as an undertaker. Traditionally, caskets are white, but al-Amiya started the trend of using black caskets. al-Amiya is famous because of his distinctive tombstone designs, innovative funeral services, and because of the way he digs graves. al-Amiya has over 800,000 followers upon Facebook and has a catchphrase that is known by all Iraqis which is, “who is going to bury you like the Prophet Mohammad? Ali al-Amiya!”. al-Amiya offers heavily discounted or free burials for martyrs and the extremely impoverished. al-Amiya is vehemently disliked by most other undertakers within the industry and has nearly been a victim of multiple sting operations in which prostitutes were sent to solicit him as well as physical threats upon his life and his family’s. Modern, progressive thinking undertakers like al-Amiya face resentment in Iraq but the rise of social media has helped combat this animosity. In 2017, a survey found that 85% of Iraqis use social media, specifically Facebook which has demonstrated instrumental in altering public perceptions of Islamic burial traditions

The Annual Hindu Rain Festival of Ambubachi Mela

Ambubachi-Mela-Devi-Kamakhya-menstruation-statue

For 3 days each June, typically always starting upon June 22 and ending upon June 26, but fluctuating due to various influences, the Hindu festival of Ambubachi Mela is observed. Sadhu’s, that is, holy men of the Hindu faith, and pilgrims from all over India gather at the Kamakhya Temple (pronounced “kah-mah-kee-yah”) in Guwahati, India, a site located upon a hill near the Brahmaputra River, to pray for rain. It is believed by Hindus that the presiding goddess of the temple, Devi Kamakhya, who is the Mother Shakti, goes through her annual cycle of menstruation during this festival. The Kamakhya Temple becomes closed for 3 days during the mela as it is believed by Hindus that the Earth, commonly associated as Mother Earth, becomes unclean for 3 days and therefore should be secluded in the same format that some traditionally practicing Hindu women seclude themselves during their own menstrual cycles. During these 3 days, some restrictions are observed by the Hindu devotees (e.g. cessation of cooking, cessation of performing worship which is referred to as “puja”, cessation of reading holy books, cessation of farming etc.). After 3 days, Devi Kamakhya is bathed by cleaning the statue which represents her with red pigment flowing from her vaginal canal, alongside other rituals which are carried out to ensure that the devi retrieves purity. The doors of the Kamakhya Temple are reopened on the 4th day and devotees are permitted to enter Kamakhya Temple to worship Devi Kamakhya. The devotion of these pilgrims is believed to bring rain and fertility back to the Earth

The 18th Century Gin Craze and it’s Association with Murder

19th-century-London-England-Gin-Craze

Gin was highly consumed in poorer areas of London, England as it was a cheaper alternative to beer. Gin was unregulated during the early 18th century, and was often badly distilled and filled with harmful compounds like oil of vitriol which is similar in construct to modern day turpintine, sulfuric acid, and methylated spirits. By 1750, gin consumption was at its peak, with the city of London consuming 11,000,000 (11 million) gallons per year. In the poorest areas of London, specifically upon the east end, it was not uncommon for everyone in public to be permanently drunk; an analogue to the modern day crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980’s. All members of society consumed gin including men, women, and children, with many cases exhibiting severe addictive traits as was the case with Judith Darfour, who took her child into a heath, murdered them to sell their petticoat clothing and acquire more gin, then attended work later that day as if nothing had occurred. Gin related crime soared and Mothers Ruin which refers to “women who killed their family members to acquire funds for gin” was responsible for the deaths of thousands of men, women, and children. When the death rate climbed higher than the birth rate, the British government was forced to intervene, outlawing small gin distilleries and ending the era referred to as the “Gin Craze”

The Chinese Governments Intentional Deception of the World Public Regarding COVID-19

COVID-19

ATTENTION: ALL INFORMATION DISPLAYED HAS BEEN COLLECTED EXCLUSIVELY FROM CANADA’S MOST TRUSTED NEWS NETWORK, CBC NEWS, AS THIS BLOG IS BASED OUT OF VANCOUVER, CANADA

Wuhan, China is the second most populated city in China in respect to the number of universities available to students. Wuhan is economically and geographically within the heart of China, a city subject to a constant flux of people coming in and out, making it one of the worst possible areas in China for a viral outbreak to occur. 4 weeks after the first recorded infection, the Chinese government notified the World Health Organization of the outbreak, but it was far too late by this point as Wuhan was now experiencing an enormous influx of people migrating in and out of the city for the Chinese Lunar New Year festivities. The absolute worst period for a viral infection to occur in China is during the Chinese Lunar New Year celebration as hundreds of millions of people migrate back to their families causing enormous increases in public transport use (e.g. busses, aircraft, taxis etc.). This period of a few short weeks is the largest annual mass migration in the world, as people travel in and out of as well as across China, to be with loved ones

It is believed that Coronavirus Disease 2019, commonly abbreviated as “COVID-19”, developed in Wuhan’s seafood and wildlife market, most likely from bats as this is what the genetic data collected appears to confirm. Often an intermediary animal host plays a role in opportunistic pathogens like COVID-19 and it is believed that pangolins, which are small mammalian creatures, may be this intermediary species. It is not believed that the consumption of bats and/or pangolin is what caused COVID-19 to affect human beings, but rather physical contact during handling of these animals while preparing their meat which was butchered for human consumption

As the number of cases increased in Wuhan, physicians began sharing data in a private Wechat chat group. Well before the world became familiar with COVID-19, a small number of medical professionals within Wuhan attempted to notify the public. Dr. Li Wenliang (pronounced “lee wen-lee-yong”) posted within this chat group with former university classmates that patients had begun coming into his clinic with what appeared to be the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, commonly abbreviated as “SARS”, a viral pathogen which is a coronavirus in and of itself, one which appeared between 2002 – 2004, in China. Dr. Li wrote within this group chat, “7 SARS cases were confirmed in the Huaban seafood market. The main mode of transmission of the virus is droplet transmission at close range or contact with respiratory secretions of patients. This can cause a specialized pneumonia that is evidently contagious and capable of affecting multiple organ systems. The reason Chinese physicians were worried about this new outbreak was because SARS is incredibly infectious, with a relatively high mortality rate of 10%, and a large number of healthcare practitioners died of SARS during the 2002 – 2004 outbreak because of the complexity involved while attempting to impede transmission. On the same day as Dr. Li’s warning, the Wuhan Health Commission sent an urgent internal notice to hospitals with regard to the treatment of pneumonia with an unknown etymology. This memorandum stated, “some medical institutions in our city have seen patients steadily with pneumonia of unknown cause. If you find patients with unexplained pneumonia, actively adjust the resources and treat them on the spot”. This notice warned healthcare professionals to keep the outbreak quiet, stating, “without authorization, no units or individuals shall release treatment related information to the outside”. Dr. Li and his colleagues continued to share information, warning each other to protect loved ones and avoid the Huanan seafood markets but ran into many blockades by the Chinese government for doing so, with their Wechat conversations being monitored and eventually forcibly shut down. It is now understood that Wuhan health authorities purposefully withheld and covered up pertinent information as these authorities and their employees were explicitly told not to speak about COVID-19 under threat of undefined punishment. Dr. Li and 7 of his colleagues were detained shortly after and brought in for interrogation by law enforcement. Law enforcement internal documents state “after investigation and verification by the public security organs, 8 offenders have been summoned and handled according to law. The police will investigate and punish with zero tolerance those illegal acts that fabricate and spread rumors and disrupt social order”. Dr. Li was also reprimanded by the hospital he worked for in addition to the interrogation and intimidation instituted by law enforcement

The central Chinese government frequently received reports from health authorities and hospitals but actively chose to conceal this information, attempting to control the epidemic internally. This contradiction of western medical practice standards prevented Chinese health authorities from properly mobilizing in an effort to control the spread of this new pathogen. Had the Chinese government adopted an approach used by western health authorities and governments, the spread of COVID-19 would have been severely reduced as early detection and intervention would have been implemented ubiquitously across all Chinese outbreak zones. Although internal controls were put into place, the information purposefully kept from the public greatly exacerbated the prevalence of the COVID-19 pathogen. The COVID-19 virus could have been traced during the first 2 – 3 weeks of it first being observed, but this opportunity was squandered and lost due to the mismanagement and political ineptitude of the Chinese state

Critics like Dr. Wu Qiang, (pronounced “woo chung”) who had previously lost his ability to teach university level subjects for defying a ban instituted by President Xi Jinping which stated that university students were forbidden from learning about western democracy, continued to speak out regarding the Chinese government’s incompetency and lack of understanding in handling such a precarious public health danger

On January 9, 2020, the first death of COVID-19 was recorded, experienced by a 61 year old male who visited the seafood market where COVID-19 was first observed. This death was kept under wraps for 2 full days before being made public. It is believed that the local authorities kept this information from the public due to political concerns, as annual political summits were occurring in Wuhan and Hubei province in which Wuhan is situated. On January 22, 2020, the Chinese government finally acknowledged the complexity and severity of the COVID-19 epidemic at a press conference in Beijing, China. Wuhan went into lockdown the following day on January 23, 2020 with all public transport including busses, trains, ferries, and airports shut down, and 11,895,000 (11.8 million) people under forced quarantine

By late January, Wuhan hospitals struggled to cope with the enormous increase in COVID-19 cases confirmed, with staff subjected to intolerable conditions with many experiencing emotional outbursts and talk of suicide due to deceased patients being left upon the floor to be stepped over by healthcare workers and patients alike. With patient case numbers soaring, the Chinese government began constructing 2 new hospitals at blistering paces set, involving 24 hour work schedules in an effort to open both facilities within a few short weeks

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation of Australia, commonly abbreviated as “CSIRO”, the Australian federal government agency responsible for scientific research, began cultivating COVID-19 within the countries highest security facility after the first COVID-19 case was confirmed on January 25, 2020 in the state of Victoria, Australia. The Australians became the first country to isolate the COVID-19 pathogen outside of China, and purposefully grew COVID-19 in the laboratory so that the disease could be better understood in respect to its characteristics and behaviors within biological models. The virus was then introduced to test animals, specifically ferrets because ferret respiratory systems are very similar to that of human beings. The goal for these experiments is to better understand how COVID-19 behaves and how it progresses as this permits for the development of immunizations

900,000,000 (900 million) Chinese have access to smartphone technology, 69% of China’s 1,300,000,000 (1.3 billion) person population. Extreme dissatisfaction with the Chinese government and its handling of COVID-19 was observed online, with unprecedented volumes of complaints and anger reported, more so than at any other time within the past decade of China’s recent modern history. Chinese nationals took particular issue with Wuhan’s local government and its ineffective response towards epidemiological and disaster relief strategies, the paralysis of local healthcare institutions, and the immense risk now faced by Wuhan’s 11,895,000 (11.8 million) person population. Wuhan effectively became cut off from the rest of mainland China due to the COVID-19 epidemic which was accelerating upon an exponential trajectory. There have been reports accompanied by video footage by Chinese citizens of authorities spraying doorways and other high traffic areas with disinfectant in anticipation of overflowing sewage becoming a potential vector of COVID-19 transmission and some reports have demonstrated with video footage, evidence of Chinese authorities welding the doors of entire apartment buildings shut so that no one can get in or out, regardless of the severity of an emergency (e.g. cardiac arrest, cerebrovascular accident, pancreatitis etc.)

Professor Neil Ferguson, an epidemiologist for the Imperial College of London has stated on record that the U.K. estimates that China only detects 10% or less of all infections detected and that up to 50,000 new infections occur each day in China, numbers which are in stark opposition to the official case numbers released daily by the Chinese state. Tragically, Dr. Li, the physician who first attempted to warn the public of COVID-19 died on February 7, 2020 at age 33 causing an outpouring of anger and grief towards the Chinese government. Chinese censors worked around the clock to find and remove commentary online related to this incident

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director General of the World Health Organization has stated upon record that COVID-19 is “public enemy number one” and that COVID-19 could pose a larger global threat than terrorism as a “virus can have more consequences than any terrorist action”

Timbuktu, Mali and its Cultural and Commercial Traditions

Timbuktu-MaliTimbuktu, Mali is located at the precise point where the Niger River flows northward into the southern edge of the Sahara Desert, which is an incredibly difficult place to reach and is why it is often used in the English language as a representative of a far away place. In Timbuktu, men keep their faces veiled while in the presence of women at all times, not even lowering their veils to eat, instead taking in food from underneath the veil. Women predominantly make familial decisions and hold the position of power within society. Timbuktu is made up of various ethnic tribes including the Kel Tamasheq, Songaï (pronounced “sore-eye”) (sometimes spelled as “Songhai”) and Arabs primarily. Timbuktu was founded by the Tuareg people however their numbers are vastly outweighed by the 3 main tribes of Timbuktu during the modern era. Despite once being a trading hub of both of salt and gold, Timbuktu now primarily trades in salt as the price of gold has made gold inaccessible for the average inhabitant. Timbuktu is slowly being buried in the sands of the Sahara Desert as these sands blow in and slowly but surely bury Timbuktu’s structures a little bit at a time. Fortunately, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization has been helping to preserve the city of Timbuktu and its buildings from the elements of sand, wind, and rain which have eroded its structures made from natural materials, mainly adobe and mud brick