Spanish News May 2017

Cancer cure and vaccine discovered in Valencia

A ground-breaking cancer vaccine for prevention and immune therapy for patients has been discovered by researchers at Valencia's La Fe hospital, but is unlikely to see the light of day due to lack of financing, scientists complain.

They have tested the drugs on laboratory rats and are now ready to carry out clinical trials, but need at last €50,000 to do so, covering a year's worth of salaries for investigators.

According to dean of pharmacology at Valencia University and head of clinical pharmacology at La Fe, Dr Salvador Aliño, the vaccine has proven to be effective against 'all types of cancer' in animals, provided it is administered before tumours form. At present, the vaccine is only useful as a preventive tool, and would involve innoculating every member of the population who did not have cancer.

Once a tumour has formed, the vaccine would not work because in the process of cancer's appearing, the organism 'develops a certain level of tolerance' which the preventive drug is not capable of quashing. For this reason, Dr Aliño and his research team in Valencia have been working on developing a medicine made with genetically-modified cells that effectively 'silence'' the genes responsible for this 'tolerance' the tumour-developing process creates.

Once the 'tolerance genes' are 'silenced', the preventive vaccine can then be administered since it will then be able to work and will disperse and destroy any cancerous cells present in the body at the time. This means a complete cure for all types of cancer in just two injections with no side-effects.

Dr Aliño says his team has managed to block the molecule CTLA4 using antibodies directed at proteins in the surface of the cancer cells, but that another molecule, known as Foxp3, also creates 'tolerance' and is located inside the cancer cells rather than on the surface.
Researchers now want to ascertain whether combining the anti-cancer vaccine with the 'gene silencer' inside, as well as on the outside, of the cancer cells would be effective – and so far, it has proven to be in animals.

The next stage is to carry it out on humans via clinical trials. With €50,000 for the clinical trials, the medication could be ready for use in mainstream hospital oncology departments within a year, says Dr Aliño.

Brits Arrested in Costa Blanca Drug Racket

A drug said to be 80 times stronger than traditional cannabis has been found smuggled into Alicante-Elche airport and two local residents arrested. Border police seized 12.2 kilos of a synthetic type of hash hidden in packages from Hong Kong, with a street value of around €3.5 million. The substance had been shipped by air mail, hidden in bags of sweets and packets of coffee from Hong Kong and was addressed to a bar in El Campello heavily frequented by the local British community.

Unlike traditional cannabis, which is dark brown in colour, police say the high-strength version was pale and lightweight. It is designed to dissolve in water and administered by spraying it onto an ordinary cigarette so it soaks through the paper and tobacco and is inhaled through smoking.

Protesting Farmers Block Murcia Roads

Hundreds of tractors blocked the entrance to Murcia City during a massive protest over water supply issues in the Mar Menor area.
They had been calling for a crisis meeting with regional agricultural minister Antonio Sánchez Solís and when this was not forthcoming they took drastic action. Between 200 and 300 tractors in a slow-moving crocodile brought city traffic to a standstill.

After a whole night, a morning's rush hour plunged into chaos and gridlock and Sánchez Solís finally agreed to meet with the farming communities.

The river Segura Hydrographic Confederation, which covers water courses and supply in the Cartagena district, stopped nitrates from farm fertilisers from leaking into the Mar Menor nine months ago after the sea went green, but no effort has been made, according to farmers, to regenerate this inland sea and salt water levels in underground water pockets used for irrigation are out of balance.

Owner Of Stolen Yacht Sees His Craft Being Towed On The Motorway

A yacht-owner who had been a victim of theft found his boat being towed along a motorway two provinces away the following day.
The proprietor reported his €45,000 craft as having been stolen from the Marina Greenwich Port in Altea (Alicante province) overnight, but the next day, a member of the man's company told police he had seen it on the back of a lorry. It was spotted on the AP-7 motorway in Oropesa del Mar on the coast of the province of Castellón, over 200 kilometres north of its rightful location.

Traffic police tracked down the vehicle and the yacht within the hour and found its identification plates, engine serial number and boat ID number had all been changed and were fake.

Spain is world's number one holiday destination - again

Spain has been voted the world's top tourism destination, way above Australia, the US and Italy. Its nearest rival is France, followed by Germany. These top three countries have kept their positions from last year. Japan has soared from 9th to 4th, whilst Canada is up from 10th to 9th. The USA has dropped to 6th place whilst the UK is level-pegging with Japan. Australia is 7th with Italy 8th.

The report warns Spain's transport network is showing signs of starting to decline and needs to be upgraded, but Spain's cultural and natural resources – its historic heritage, monuments and vastly varied and beautiful countryside – are rated just as highly as its excellent beaches, which typically earn more blue flags than any other country in Europe. Tourism in Spain is not just about sun, sea and sand, but that its natural and man-made attractions mean it is equally popular for sightseeing, sports and nature, and for active or relaxing breaks which are not beach-related.

Picasso Ceramic Sculptures

A collection of ceramic sculptures created by Málaga-born artist Pablo Picasso has just fetched €1.21 million at Sotheby's in London.

The lot contained 86 pieces, of which the one that fetched the highest price was the pictured white, red and black Gros Oiseau Visage Noir (Big bird black face), created by the cult cubist artist in 1951 and selling for €146,250. Taureau (Bull), a clay jar made in 1955 fetched €117,000.

Picasso started experimenting with ceramic pottery in 1947 whilst he was staying in the south of France. He began working in the Madoura pottery studio in Vallauris, perfecting his technique in modelling many different types of figures and discovering new forms of art. His imagination was in perfect harmony with the pliable nature of potter's clay.

Cutting Off Electricity

Electricity firms will be required to give three warnings and then wait at least four months before cutting off power due to non-payment. Two months' grace after the three warnings will be given to the average householder, but those listed as 'vulnerable' will get a four-month breathing space to try to find the money before they lose their connection.

Utility boards must now inform customers of their non-payment as soon as this occurs, then request the money via a legal document known as a burofax sent by registered post, or by email with a digital signature.

Regional authorities must also be informed and will keep a permanent database of customers whose supply has been disconnected so they can check whether those affected are considered 'at risk of social exclusion'.