Havana (Prensa Latina) Immunotherapy for cancer treatment tops the list of the most important scientific breakthroughs of 2013, according to the journal Science.
“This year there was no mistaking the immense promise of cancer immunotherapy,” said Tim Appenzeller, chief news editor of the renowned publication.
So far, this strategy of harnessing the immune system to attack tumors works only for some cancers and a few patients, so experts advise not to overstate the immediate benefits.
However, many specialists are convinced to be seeing the birth of an important new paradigm for cancer treatment, Appenzeller said.
The notable publication also selected among major breakthroughs of the year, the mini-organs development in vitro. Such is the case of a tiny brain created by the equipment of Austrian Juergen Knoblich, from induced pluripotent stem cells (IPs). In addition, in the Center for Regenerative Medicine in Barcelona was built a human mini-kidney from a few skin cells.
In the list of Science are also included the cloning technique of somatic cell nuclear transfer, the same used to clone Dolly the sheep seventeen years ago, and vaccine design, a research highlighting the importance of microbes living in the body, discoveries in solar cell technologies, genomic editing techniques, as well as image generation techniques.
In 2012, the Higgs boson (the so-called God particle) was crowned by the journal Science, as the main discovery of the year.
Meanwhile, the renowned journal Nature selected the most prominent science figures of this culminating year.
Among them, Michel Mayor, a 71 years old astronomer who discovered the most Earth-like planet found so far. Mayor determined that Kepler-78b, located about 700 light years away in the constellation Cygnus, is the most similar world to ours, from all the worlds found until today.
Also is included Shoukhrat Mitalipov, who along with his colleagues at the Oregon Health & Science University, obtained stem cells from cloned human embryos for therapeutic purposes, and Feng Zhang, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, for developing a system to edit genomes in a cheaper, easier and more accurately manner.
Tania Simoncelli prevented human genes being patented, while scientific Deborah Persaud was acknowledged after providing the clearest evidence so far that babies born with HIV can be cured.
The journal also included the Russian researcher Victor Grokhousky, for his work on the meteorite that impacted against the city of Chelyabinsk on February 15, and calculation he made about its path; the virologist Hualan Chen, for his work in China on H7N9 avian influenza in humans; the anthropologist Kathryn Clancy, for denouncing the rise of sexual assault in her field, and Henry Snaith, physicist at the University of Oxford, for his research in solar energy.
Likewise, is included the Philippine delegate to the climate summit UN, Naderev Sano, who made an appeal for climate awareness and refused to eat until positive agreements were reached in meetings.
* Head of Science Editorial Department of Prensa Latina News Agency