New research carried out by the UCL Institute of Child Health and Brunel University has revealed that green tea can hold back the growth of cancer.

GTThe study, based on a mouse model, shows that the use of catechins extracted from green tea leaves can suppress the growth of, one of the most fatal forms of childhood cancers (Neuroblastoma) by boosting the body’s own anti-tumour response. Sparks, the charity funding the study, hopes the research will lead to the development of less toxic treatments for children with cancer.

Professor Arturo Sala, at Brunel University, said: “Aggressive neuroblastoma can be one of the most difficult cancers to treat in children and new non-toxic approaches are needed. Green tea extracts are currently being used in clinical trials for adult the US and could be potentially useful in children with neuroblastoma as well as other cancers. We’ve found that the extract acts to stop the neuroblastoma cancer producing a type of cell known as myeloid suppressor cell, which prevents the immune system from attacking tumours. I sincerely hope our efforts have helped unlock new non-toxic methods to boost the body’s innate defence against neuroblastoma”

John Shanley, chief executive of Sparks, said: “Funding research that helps prevent, diagnose, treat and cure conditions affecting the health of children is at the heart of what Sparks does. Our funding into less toxic cancer treatments brings with it hope of improved treatments for children for neuroblastoma and other forms of childhood cancers.”

The team are now looking to begin clinical trials in which a clinical grade catechin extract of green tea leaves, known as Polyphenon E, will be combined in treatments for children with relapsed neuroblastoma, or who are undergoing cancer immunotherapy.

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The Guardian’s 2013 University Guide league table makes Cambridge the UK number one university with arch rival Oxford coming in second.

Image by: Laura Martell

Scotland’s first university, St Andrews swapped places with the London School of Economics this year and is ranked third, with the University of Warwick being judged the fifth best UK university

The guide was put together by ranking universities according to how much they spend on each student; the ratio of students to staff, their graduate’s career prospects, plus a “value-added score” that compares first-years academic results with and their final degree award. Before finalising the university rankings the guide also includes data provided by the annual National Student Survey which asks students how content full-time undergraduates are with their courses.

With 2013 being only the second year that students have faced higher tuition fees the university league table is likely to be scrutinised more than usual. Naturally, students will be comparing university ranking with the size of their tuition fees before deciding which university to attend. Unsurprisingly, those institutions at the top of the university league table will charge students £9000.00 per annum, but according to research undertaken by the Guardian newspaper, the low ranking universities are “almost as likely” to charge the maximum tuition fees allowed by the government.

London Metropolitan University, which jumped two places to 118th in 2013, charged between £4,500 and £9,000 each year for its degree courses with Manchester Metropolitan and University of East London, non-movers at 108th and 115th, charging its students the maximum annual fees for some of their courses.

Not all ranked universities intend to sting students. Last year the University of Sunderland became the first ranked university to proposes that it would charge less than £9,000 for all of its courses. The reduced fees, however, have not helped elevate Sunderland in the Guardian's leage tables dropping to 57th place along with University College Falmouth.

Read the 2012 article and Guardian University Guide