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KMTV releases documentaries putting the spotlight on pig vaccines, leukaemia and IVF


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New films released by the county's dedicated TV channel are taking audiences inside the labs where cutting edge research is being done to save and improve lives.

KMTV, as part of the Kent Thinks Discovers series, has produced four new documentaries in collaboration with the University of Kent.

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Leukaemia: Catching Cancer

Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is a blood and bone marrow cancer which affects more than 250,000 people per year worldwide.

High mortality rates can be, in part, due to unreliable diagnosis and current treatments, including aggressive chemotherapy. These do not often result in effective disease remission.

Doctors Victor Sumbayev and Bernhard Gibbs along with Professor Yuri Ushkaryov (Medway School of Pharmacy) have discovered that leukaemia cells possess a novel biochemical pathway, which helps them avoid the human body’s own anti-cancer immune defences.

Andy Richards, KMTV's editor-in-chief, said: "As we see in the film, AML is a debilitating and life-threatening condition, especially for children and the elderly.

The Science of Making Babies airs tonight at 7.45pm
The Science of Making Babies airs tonight at 7.45pm

"The discoveries made by the Medway School of Pharmacy academics will help with timely diagnosis and non-invasive treatment."

Kent Thinks Discovers: Leukaemia - Catching Cancer airs at 7.30pm today (Saturday) on KMTV (Freeview Channel 7, Virgin 159 and online at kmtv.co.uk).

The Science of Making Babies

In July 1978, the world's first test-tube baby, Louise Brown, was born in Oldham to her parents, Lesley and John.

It's now estimated one in 50 babies born in Britain today are the result of IVF or similar methods that allow an egg to be fertilised.

Leukaemia - Catching Cancer airs tonight at 7.30pm
Leukaemia - Catching Cancer airs tonight at 7.30pm

Professor Darren Griffin and Dr Alan Thornhill (School of Biosciences) are leaders in the field whose work has helped transform the lives of aspiring parents around the world.

Chris Duncan, of Spark Films Productions, said: "We know that IVF is a very sensitive subject. Having children is an emotional decision which carries risks and expectations, something we were interested in exploring with the kind families who offered to speak with us in this film.

"Professor Griffin and Dr Thornhill work to innovate and perfect the methods many of us will rely on to have a family. It was fascinating to film with them in the lab and so interesting to learn more about them as people and how they approach the work that they do."

Kent Thinks Discovers: The Science of Making Babies airs at 7.45pm today (Saturday) on KMTV (Freeview Channel 7, Virgin 159 and online at kmtv.co.uk).

PCV2: From Virus to Vaccine

PCV2 - From Virus to Vaccine airs at 7.30pm on Saturday August 1
PCV2 - From Virus to Vaccine airs at 7.30pm on Saturday August 1

A strain of Porcine Circovirus, known as PCV2, has affected pig populations across Thailand. It spreads rapidly and affects the animal's immune system.

This not only impacts the country's pig production but also the economy as a whole.

Professor Colin Robinson and Dr Alison Walters (School of Biosciences) are leading a British-Thai consortium in mass producing a vaccine to tackle the disease.

Jill Hurst, University of Kent Research Services, said: "Colin and Alison have been excellent ambassadors for the university.

"Their work leading a multinational group is playing an important role in the field of science and in one of the world's fastest growing economies.

"The project ventures into new territory for Thailand, which has never produced vaccines on such a large scale before. This could open up novel and lucrative possibilities for the country's export market."

Kent Thinks Discovers: PCV2 - From Virus to Vaccine airs at 7.30pm on Saturday, August 1 on KMTV (Freeview Channel 7, Virgin 159 and online at kmtv.co.uk).

The Mohawk of Consciousness

Dr Srivas Chennu (School of Computing) uses advanced technology to look inside the brain of patients who are unable to move, talk or respond to those around them.

The Mohawk of Consciousness is available on KMTV
The Mohawk of Consciousness is available on KMTV

Often the result of a stroke or brain injury, the condition is often called locked-in syndrome or persistent vegetative state. Dr Chennu's research helps to assess the quality of someone's life when they are suffering from these conditions.

Chris Duncan said: "This film charts our investigation into brain injury and whether analysing brain activity can reveal the true level of consciousness in patients believed to be in a vegetative state.

"We were so grateful to be invited to meet patients at Headway House and The Raphael Hospital and learn more about what it's like to live with various severities of brain injury. It was a truly eye-opening experience especially given the honesty and openness from those we interviewed."

Kent Thinks Discovers: The Mohawk of Consciousness is available on KMTV (Freeview Channel 7, Virgin 159 and online at kmtv.co.uk).

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