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.”


De Montfort University students have their say on social media content rules

By George A. Picton-Clark

social media

Photo courtesy of

De Montfort University students were asked whether or not they thought sites such as YouTube should have stricter rules upon the content that can be uploaded to the platform.

This question was asked after a BBC reports over the age restrictions of social media and the scandal of YouTube star Logan Paul who uploaded a video which featured distressing content.




Computer Security student goes the extra mile to help elderly


by Lucy Billington-Groom

As Christmas draws ever closer it’s the time of year that we feel the need, as a nation, to help those around us. I spoke to a De Montfort University student about the Square Mile project he’s involved with and why more of us feel the need to offer our services during the winter months.

William Dilling, pictured , a computer security student, has been regularly participating in drop-in sessions to aid the elderly in the use and understanding of technology for the past three months.

The project is run by De Montfort’s own Square Mile in which students visit community centres in Leicester and the public can come along and get help with their technology based issues.

The sessions are free and there is no sign-up required. With a varying attendance every session it’s a very relaxed and non-committal environment.

Each session is easy-going and takes on a question based structure and, if you have no idea on what to ask, they start with a basic walk through: how to log in, how to get on the internet, how to type, etc.

When asked about his motivation behind his volunteering William said: “It’s a real feel- good experience, not being from Leicester it allows me to feel more connected to the community and I feel like a real part of Leicestershire life.”

The project is called IT4Free and they provide a set of computers to work with or you can bring your own device: phone, tablet or laptop for specific help.

In recent years it has become more imperative that the elderly are able to access and use new technology, “everything is going digital,” said William, “bills, banking, and even more recently pensions which is a worry for many of the people that see me for help.”

William continued: “It doesn’t particularly help with my studies but does help build me as a person and makes me more unique in an employability sense.”

It’s around the holidays that traditionally people become more charitable. “It’s helping people in a time that is hardest,” states William, “it’s cold, it’s a time to share with family and if you don’t have family then it can be very isolating. No one deserves to be alone especially at a time dedicated towards family in such a large way.”

When asked about students being stereotypically lazy and selfish William replied, “I think we’re the same as everyone, I don’t think there is a difference young or old it’s how you were brought up, if you’re not helping people now chances are you never will.

“It’s you as an individual that makes a difference despite age, race or gender.”

So embrace the season of giving and perhaps give a little of your time this Christmas.

IT4Free can be found at Woodgate community centre on Wednesday 1.45pm-3.30pm.

Students record their own BBC radio drama

Journalism students got to record their own radio drama during a tour of the BBC studios in Birmingham.


DMU meets a dalek

The De Montfort University students also saw The Archers recording studio during their visit on Tuesday.

The tour was offered to up to 15 students as a field trip on Tuesday 1 March during Enhancement Week, and started at 10.30am.

Members of the tour were shown around the foyer, where there was a life size dalek, a lift resembling the tardis and three dresses from Strictly Come Dancing on display.

Some people recorded a horror genre radio play, with a pre-written script. Some were in charge of sound effects while others were the voice actors.

The story was about a group of friends staying at a haunted house, and will be made available to the people involved in a few weeks’ time.


Just a few Archers props

The Archers recording studio contained a wide variety of props for creating both indoor and outdoor sound effects, including different sinks, a door for opening and closing, a coat for putting on or taking off and stairs with three different types of flooring.

According to the tour guide, intimate scenes are recorded by the actors involved kissing their own hands – although those who know each other have no qualms about kissing properly!

Depending on the sound effects used, some scenes are recorded separately. Sounds that cannot be manually created, such as cows, birds, weather noises, etc are recorded in a room connected to the main studio by a large window.

When the sound quality is particularly important, with no echoes or background noise, the actors are recorded in a soundproof room.

The tour also included the BBC 1 West Midlands studio. The people behind the scenes have a few techniques to make the studio appear much larger than it actually is, such as using particular camera angles and having the scene filmed on a low platform, rather than at floor level.

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Here’s a slideshow of the visit, including a door prop, kitchen sinks and an oven for creating sound effects.

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