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Farm dust clue to asthma vaccine, doctors 'forget' how to care for dying patients and how aspirin helps fight cancer

A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines

An asthma vaccine could be on the way, according to the Guardian, which reports on a European study finding farm dust protects agains developing the disease.

Scientists have long known children growing up on farms were less likely to suffer from asthma and allergies, but think they have now found the reason why.

The report said farm dust ‘makes the mucous membrane inside the respiratory tracts react less severely to allergens such as house dust mite’ due to a protein called A20, with the finding described as a first step on the road to developing an asthma vaccine.

Doctors have forgotten how to humanely care for the dying, a leading palliative care expert has said.

The Daily Mail reports on comments made by Dr Katherine Sleeman, clinical lecturer in palliative medicine at King’s College London, who said doctors are now trained to be too focused on fighting disease.

She said: ‘My reflection is I would probably have had a better instinct of how to care for a dying person before I went to medical school than after.’

Lastly, UK scientists have suggested aspirin may prevent tumours from ‘hiding’ from the immune system, reports the BBC.

They found that skin, breast and bowel cancer cells were producing high levels of a chemical, called prostaglandin E2, that could dampen down the immune response - effectively letting a tumour hide. But drugs like aspirin are able to change the chemical pathways inside the cancer cells that lead to prostaglandin E2 being produced.

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