University of Leicester scientists trial groundbreaking new asthma pill

By Bethany Spence

A new asthma drug that is currently in advanced clinical trials, led by scientists at the University of Leicester, may provide a new treatment method after showing promising results.

Being the first new asthma pill to arrive in 20 years, results seem promising although further testing is required before public release.

In the Phase 2 testing both in Leicester and Vancouver, Canada, the new drug Fevipiprant has been shown to reduce the amount of smooth muscle in a patient’s airway linings.

Any increases in this kind of muscle creates a higher chance of irritation, leading to more frequent asthma attacks and in increasingly severe cases, even asthma related deaths.

According to Asthma UK, approximately 5.4 million UK residents are currently being treated for asthma which is about 1 in every 11 people, or 1 in 5 households.

The University of Leicester has been helping to lead the charge for more variety in asthma medications for the last 50 years, creating the third most influential research into  potential treatments in the world.


University of Leicester Attenborough Building

Professor Chris Brightling, NIHR BRC Senior Investigator at the University of Leicester and respiratory consultant at Leicester’s Hospitals, said: “Leicester is world-leading in asthma research.

“I think the success of lung research in Leicester is largely due to the fantastic participation of our patients in research together with the close working between the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and the University of Leicester.”

Dr Pranab Haldar, clinical senior lecturer at the University, added: “I would say that Leicester’s work has led the way to realising the possibility of personalised treatment for patients with asthma.”


Valentine’s Day battles break out

By Bethany Spence

Valentine’s Day celebrations came early for members of the De Montfort University laser tag society this week (Mon 11th) with a lively Prom themed night, featuring roses, hide-and-seek heart tag and couples tag team game modes at Megazone Leicester.

With each of the couples/teams decided via their compatibility rating as measured by an online website, many people in the society were teamed with people they had never joined up with before.

One of the most powerful teams featured chairman of the society, Louisa Stratton – otherwise known as Vader – and sharpshooter Henry Smith, best known for his appearance as a laser-wielding Gandalf at the Halloween event.

Each of the teams came dressed to kill in various suits and dresses, leading to a very suave James Bond-like team roster.

“It was a great way to put a spin on our normal Monday night society meetings, it adds a spark of extra fun beyond the usual,” said Miss Stratton.

“We do what we can to change up the weekly formula through added board game socials at Bean Gaming, quiz nights and even playing unconventional battle music in the arena due to the cooperation of the Megazone staff.

“They seem to get as much enjoyment out of watching laser tag battles to the death, punctuated by well-loved Disney songs, as we do!”



Bean Gaming: Family fun for everyone


By Bethany Spence

This year saw the city of Leicester welcoming brand new tabletop cafe, Bean Gaming, a cosy haven for board gamers of all ages and skill sets.

After a somewhat rocky start on the crowd funding page, Kickstarter, the cafe turned bar and restaurant, opened its doors and received well deserved 5-star reviews from a wide array of customers.

With over 200 board games from the classics such as Monopoly to the more modern games gracing its shelves, it truly is a place with something for everyone.

At just £2 an hour per person, or £5 for a full day of games (4 hours on weekends, due to demand), customers have access to a full range of games and dedicated space for settling into longer sessions.

The gamers paradise also allows the opportunity to order food and drinks or even alcohol from the on-site restaurants.

To further expand their customer base, the cafe has arranged for a parent and baby group, aptly named the Bean Babies, where families may go along to socialise with others and play games in the child area.

In addition to this group, the cafe runs a regular Dungeons and Dragons group run by experienced players.

The aim is to help perspective Dungeon Masters to construct worlds and to allow people the chance to experience a campaign before ever having to create their own.


After running their 6-course Valentine’s Day menu and gaming event this week at £40 per couple, the cafe will have dealt with one of the busiest times of year before preparing for potential Easter events in the coming weeks.

Bean Gaming Cafe can be found at 22 Silver Street.



Black Friday sales take over Leicester Highcross

By Ollie Churm

Leicester’s Highcross was filled with shoppers this Friday, November 23, as stores took part in the annual Black Friday sales.

Black Friday originated in America and takes place on the day after Thanksgiving as a way to encourage shoppers to spend more money in the run up to Christmas by reducing prices for one day only.

In America, it is usually the busiest shopping day of the year and in recent years, the tradition has made its way across the pond to the UK, where shops and websites have lowered their prices for a 24-hour period.


50% OFF! – A Sale at Urban Outfitters in the Highcross on Black Friday

Leicester city centre was besieged by shoppers on Friday, November 23, as hundreds of stores around Leicester took part in Black Friday.

Casey Ellis, an employee of Urban Outfitters in the Highcross, said: “It has been busier than usual. I mean, we haven’t seen the crowds that you see in America, but compared to an average Friday, we’ve had a lot more sales.

“We had some items that are being sold at 50% off, so we did expect a lot of people to be coming in and we weren’t wrong.”

Mr Ellis continued: “I think it’s a great way for not only the shop to bring in money but also for people to grab a good bargain and maybe get some discounted presents in before Christmas.”

Black Friday was given the name as it is often the day that shops “move into the black”, meaning they have enough money to cover their costs while reducing prices.


Massive Black Friday sales – A 20% off sale on everything at H&M

Erin Howell, 20 and a student who went shopping in the Highcross during the sales said: “I think it’s really good. Some people really struggle financially at this time of year so having a day where prices are reduced on almost everything, can really help people out.”

“I went to the Highcross and made a few purchases that were in the sale and to be honest the only thing is I saw some things that I bought the other week at full price that are now on sale, so that was a bit annoying,” Miss Howell joked.

Black Friday isn’t something all shops decided to take part in however, with supermarket ASDA no longer taking part in the 24-hour event due to an incident that occurred at a store in Wembley where customers were caught wrestling over a television.

George Osborne, 21 and an aspiring bodybuilder and online training coach said: “I’m not too keen on Black Friday if I’m honest. Sure, it’s nice getting some discounted trainers or whatever, but for me and my business it’s not ideal.

“I’ve felt a bit pressured this year to reduce my prices on Black Friday. There have been tonnes of comments on my Youtube asking what deals I’ll have going on and yeah it’s nice to help people out don’t get me wrong, but I’m trying my best to start a company here, so dropping my prices, which I try my best to make reasonable year-round, isn’t great.”

DMU Student attacked near university campus

By Ruairi O’Connor

A student has described how he was attacked and chased by a group of men near the De Montfort University campus, on Eastern Boulevard, early on Thursday morning.

Sam Pullen, 18, a Forensic Science student at De Montfort University (DMU), was returning home late from a night out with friends when he walked past the group and was chased down.

He was on his way home from the Students’ Union bar when he was assaulted by the group, at approximately 3.30am on October 11.

He said: “I walked past the group and heard people running behind me which made me turn around to see these guys chasing me. I was still slightly intoxicated, so I got scared and ran towards campus.

“I was unsure of what they were attempting to do but they hit me whilst I was running away.”

Mr Pullen was not aware of how much discomfort he was in until the following day. However, the scars of the attack are not just physical but emotional too.

He continued: “Physically I was in a bit of pain but it wasn’t too bad until the following day, but afterwards I guess I felt partially relieved I did not end up in anything worse.

“I was also upset, angry and embarrassed at what happened because I had never experienced anything like this before.”

There have been a number of unconfirmed rumours about other recent incidents that have happened around the DMU campus area, plus a confirmed robbery when two men were held at knifepoint in Bede Park, also on October 11.

sam campus.jpeg

HAUNTING ORDEAL: Mr Pullen revisits the scene of the assault against him.

“I would urge people to stick to busy areas,” Mr Pullen added.

“On top of that, ensure you are always in a group and have each other’s contact information in case you get drawn into and difficult situations and also to let each other know you have arrived at home safely.”

Any victims of or witnesses to a crime are urged to report it as soon as possible to police on 101 or to the DMU security team on 0116 257 7642.

In response to the incidents, DMU’s 24-hour on-campus security team has increased patrols on campus and has had meetings with De Montfort Students’ Union to discuss ways to promote student safety and discuss concerns.