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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 09 December 2017
22 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 9 DECEMBER 2017 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM What were the attitudes to disability in ancient Greece? A new book tells all, exploring attitudes towards disability across four continents throughout history A new book is exploring the taboo of disability and helping to shine line on the role of people with disabilities through history around the world. Titled The Routledge History of Disability, the book starts from ancient Greece and trav- els through to the modern day looking at 20 countries across four continents and covering 28 periods throughout history. "I think it's important to recognise that people with disabilities have always been present throughout history and that we have always been active, vital members of society and not simply passive recipients of care," said co-editor Nancy Hansen on CBC Radio's Weekend Morning Show. Hansen, who is also the director of the interdisciplinary master's program in disability studies at the University of Manitoba, knows firsthand Greek scientists make promising breakthrough for leukaemia patients A new study has isolated a gene which, when targeted with drugs, leads leukaemia cells to start dying After decades of largely unchanged treatments, a new study led by Greek scientists is showing great promise for leukaemia patients, revealing a gene that 'blocks' the disease. Reported in the scientific journal Nature late last month, researchers from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, the Gurdon Institute, and their collaborators show that inhibiting the METTL3 gene with certain drugs destroys the cells of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) - an aggressive cancer of the blood - without negatively impacting nonleukemic blood cells. The study goes on to re- veal why METTL3 is required for AML cell survival, by deciphering the new mechanism it uses to regulate several other leukaemia genes. CRISPRCas9 gene-editing technology was used to screen cancer cells for vulnerabilities. These leukaemia cells with mutations in the genes were then created in mice, with each gene tested in a bid to find which were essential for the leukaemia's survival. "This mechanism shows that a drug to inhibit methylation could be effective against AML without af- fecting normal cells," said one of the study's authors, Dr Konstantinos Tzelepis. They ended up with 46 possible genes, but it was METTL3 that was found to have the strongest effect. The real breakthrough came when they discovered that while it was essential to the survival of the leukaemia cells, it was not required for healthy blood cells. Joint project leader Pro- fessor Tony Kouzarides stressed the importance of new treatments for AML and said that their study "will inspire pharmaceutical efforts to find drugs that specifically inhibit METTL3 to treat AML". AML is a cancer that af- fects people of all ages. The condition develops in cells in the bone marrow crowding out the healthy cells, in turn leading to lifethreatening infections and bleeding. With patients often requiring months of intensive chemotherapy and prolonged hospital admissions, outcomes are currently poor for the majority, but joint project leader Dr George Vassiliou is positive about the future thanks to their innovative approach. "We believed that we had to think differently and look in new places for ways to treat the disease and in METTL3 we have found an exciting new target for drugs," he said. "We hope that this dis- covery will lead to more effective treatments that will improve the survival and the quality of life of patients." "They were actively involved in employment [and] education, and people were expected to participate fully in society," she said. "At the same time, those with difficulties were looked after by various agencies in the state." what it is like to live with a disability, having cerebral palsy and using crutches. For her, co-editing the book was quite personal and important in helping her to better under- stand her place in history. She found that while in some cultures people are uncomfortable around disability, others such as the Ottoman Empire were quite progressive. Meanwhile, when it comes to the current day, Hansen says that her country of origin Canada, while taking some positive steps forward, does not have a favourable history with disability. "There was eugenics legislation in British Colombia and Alberta until the 1970s, but contrast that to today, where there are processes for the development of federal accessibility legislations," she said. "There have been really posi- tive instances and progress is being made." Hansen hopes the book will help lead to a more positive future for people with disabilities. "Hopefully this book will give people a better understanding of disability and disabled people from a more positive perspective," she said. "Seeing that we have lives that are active, vital and fully of quality, texture and depth." Mitsotakis promises ND won’t become a family affair The New Democracy leader said that in the instance that the party comes to power he will not appoint any relatives to his cabinet or key state positions, as was the case in the past New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis has vowed that he will not appoint any of his relatives to cabinet or key state positions if the party wins the next election. "I know it's tough and perhaps unfair, especially for Dora [Bakoyannis] who has given so much to the party," Mr Mitsotakis told Kathimerini of his sister, the former foreign minister. "But at this point it is an imperative part of the mission I have undertaken." New Democracy President, Kyriakos Mitsotakis. PHOTO: EUGREEKA He also went on to say that he would like to dissociate the procedure of electing a president from general elections, and that in the case that parliament cannot elect one, that it would be down to the people to make a choice. Meanwhile he also took the opportunity to raise criticisms of current Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. Regarding economic policies, he claimed that the left wing leader is leading Greece to a "fourth memorandum" and that he has "kept the country bogged down and made the poor poorer". "The claim that we are emerging from the memorandums is the new big lie of the SYRIZAANEL government," and noted that the government has committed to further pension cuts after 2019 with Tsipras set to be remembered as "the prime minister of taxes". Among reducing taxes, which Mitsotakis said is a "non-negotiable personal pledge", he said that the next New Democracy administration would be investigating the controversial arms deal with Saudi Arabia, which was also condemned by Amnesty International. Greek police seize 136 kg of cocaine A 33-year-old Serbian-Croatian man was arrested in connection to an international smuggling ring that is estimated to have profited over €15 million Greek police have seized 136 kilograms of cocaine from an Athens apartment in the southern seaside suburb of Varkiza. The operation also led to the arrest of the apartment's inhabitant, a Serbian-Croatian man suspected of being involved in an international smuggling ring that has been importing drugs from Latin America. According to police, the man who has yet to be publicly named, was charged with felony drug offences. Authorities are now searching for a 33-year-old Serbian man who is suspected to be an accomplice to the matter. PHOTO: LYKAVITOS Based on the drugs seized and the amount believed to have been already trafficked, police have estimated the smuggling ring's profits to total over €15 million (AU$23 million).
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