Using AI to Improve Communication Between the Doctor and Patient

artificial intelligence

Productive communication with the physician is essential for the patient to see improvements in their condition, however, most doctors have never had their communication skills formally assessed. When the doctor does not describe conditions and treatments to their patient in a comprehensible manner, it can lead to improper medication use, worsening of the condition, and low patient satisfaction. Exploring potential digital solutions to this gap in communication, researchers from The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, Trinity College Dublin, and the University of Edinburgh discussed the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) in enhancing patient-provider interactions in a BMJ article.

“Many clinicians’ communications skills aren’t formally assessed–either during school or in early practice,” said senior author Glyn Elwyn, MD, PhD, MSc, Dartmouth Institute Professor. “At the same time, there is a lot of evidence that clinicians often struggle when communicating with their patients. It’s hard to improve on something when you’re not being given any feedback and don’t know how you’re doing.”

Elwyn and colleagues claim that AI is an innovative solution that could completely change the communication process in healthcare. Providing practitioners with personalized, detailed assessments of their communication skills, AI may provide the first widely used tool for evaluating physician communication. In their article, Elwyn and his associates identify three main areas where AI and recordings of patient-physician interactions could be used to improve communication between the two parties.

Analysis of Conversations

Automatic analysis of words and phrasing in dialogues between a doctor and their patient could reveal whether the two understood each other. This could also provide feedback as to whether the provider is properly recording patient histories, recommending treatments based on evidence, and using words that the patient can understand. AI also has the potential to analyze conversations in real-time and suggest diagnoses that they may not have been considering and offer a broad range of treatment suggestions.

Letting the Patient Speak Their Mind

AI could also analyze the proportion of time that the physician lets the patient speak compared to how much time they spend talking. Many patients complain that their providers do not take pauses and allow them to voice their own questions and concerns, therefore it could be very beneficial to address this issue with AI. When the patient is given space to talk, higher adherence to medications and better memory of information is typically correlated. This analysis of dialogue could eventually provide insight that helps prevent premature decisions such as the ordering of invasive procedures. This AI could, for instance, guide further questioning that leads to a diagnosis of heartburn instead of cardiac pain.

Tone and Style in Voice

Algorithms have already been used to analyze the commercial pilot’s vocal pitch and energy, and this technology could have similar benefits in the healthcare industry. Analyzing these vocal features could help detect high-risk situations in which the doctor is under stress that inhibits their communication skills. In addition, this vocal analysis could also provide insight into the patient’s mental and physical health. Conditions like depression and heart failure can be characterized by distinct vocal changes that an AI-powered speech recognition device could detect.

Challenges Accompanied by AI Use in Healthcare

Despite these benefits, there are many challenges to the application of AI in healthcare. For example, issues such as patient privacy can be brought into question when there are devices in the room recording and analyzing conversations. In addition, even the most advanced AI systems are currently not capable of fulling decoding the complicated dialogue that occurs in the medical setting.

“Five years ago, the idea of using AI to analyze medical communication wouldn’t have been on anyone’s radar,” said Elwyn. “As the technology advances, it will be interesting to see whether healthcare systems can employ it effectively and whether providers will be open to using it as a tool for improving their communication skills.”

Written by: Jack Carfagno

New Trinity Chancellor to Be in Place by Christmas

Trinity will have elected a new Chancellor by the end of 2020, to replace Mary Robinson, whose term finished in June.

In an email to The University Times, Aoife Crawford, the Administrative Officer in Trinity’s Secretary’s Office, said that “the process to appoint a new Chancellor (and two new Pro-Chancellors) will be conducted in Michaelmas term and a new Chancellor is expected to be in place before Christmas”.

Mary Robinson retired as Trinity’s Chancellor in June.

An election will be held during the coming term if more than one candidate emerges.

As Chancellor, Robinson was the head of the University of Dublin. She presided over ceremonial occasions in the College such as commencement ceremonies, and officiated at honorary degree ceremonies.

The Chancellor’s other responsibilities include interpreting the College Statutes and hearing appeals against decisions of the College Board.

Robinson, a former President of Ireland, was elected to the position in 1998.The first female Chancellor since the founding of the College in 1592, she was elected a Scholar of Trinity in 1965 and graduated with a first-class honours degree in law in 1967. She served as a Senator for the University of Dublin from 1969 to 1989.

Robinson, an outspoken campaigner for action against climate change, will now take up a new role in College as an adjunct professor of climate justice in the School of Natural Sciences.

Robinson has said that the climate crisis is “a man-made problem with a feminist solution”. The Mary Robinson Foundation for Climate Justice facilitates action to achieve sustainable development, particularly for those in poor, marginalised areas that are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

Speaking at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in February, she encouraged people to “get angry” at the government’s failure to act to resolve the crisis.

In February, Robinson launched Trinity’s Green Week. Speaking at the launch, she said: “The great thing about what’s happening in this university is students are being very active. I loved the campaign on divestment. I supported it.”

In May, a portrait of Robinson was commissioned for the Dining Hall.

Robinson also became embroiled in controversy this year after commenting on the case of Dubai Princess Sheikha Latifa.

She was criticised by human rights advocates all over the world for calling the princess, the daughter of Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, a “troubled young woman”.

Robinson said she had been invited to Dubai by Princess Haya, one of Sheikh Mohammed’s six wives, to help with what Haya called a “private family matter”.

Several weeks later, however, Haya made headlines after reportedly fleeing Dubai and seeking asylum in Europe.

Written by: Emer Moreau of University Times Ireland

Trinity Professor Receives Pancreatic Cancer Research Award

Professor Maeve Lowery, Trinity’s recently appointed Professor of Translational Cancer Medicine, is the recipient of a recent award from the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund (UK) which will fund her research over the coming three years into the treatment of patients with pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death in Ireland and worldwide. It is expected to be the 2nd most common cause of cancer death in the US within the next two years, reflecting a rising incidence of the disease and lack of effective treatment options. In contrast to other cancers, new cancer drugs including targeted therapies and immunotherapies have not improved survival rates for patients with pancreatic cancer.

Professor Maeve Lowery

Professor Lowery will analyse pancreatic tumours to identify mutations in both the coding and non-coding ‘regulatory’ regions of genes involved in repairing DNA within the cell, and study how these mutations effect how a pancreatic cancer cell grows and how it responds to treatment with drugs in the laboratory.

She hopes that the results of these studies will be used to design a clinical trial for patients with pancreatic cancer; where patients are selected for targeted treatment based on genetic testing that indicates they have similar mutations in their DNA damage repair genes.

“ This research will help us to understand how genetic changes within a pancreatic tumour can predict which drugs will be most effective for that patient.”

The award from the PCRF is important as it will facilitate researchers from complimentary backgrounds working together to improve outcomes for patients with pancreatic cancer. As an oncologist who treats patients with pancreatic cancer and works both on clinical trials and in the laboratory, Professor Lowery will work with her colleagues Professor Adrian Bracken of the Smurfit Institute of Genetics at Trinity and Dr Alex Eustace, translational oncology scientist at the National Institute for Cellular Biotechnology at Dublin City University.

“ The Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund is a charity dedicated exclusively to supporting research to improve the diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic cancer. They have supported a tremendous amount of important research into pancreatic cancer through fundraising and donations, and continue to advocate strongly for pancreatic cancer patients to receive a fair allocation of research funding.  I am delighted to work with PCRF to continue to find ways to improve outcomes for patients with pancreatic cancer.”


Interview with Professor Lowery: you can read a recent interview with Professor Lowery in the the Provost’s Annual Review here (Page 86):


Trinity 37th in Times Higher Education Teaching Rankings


Trinity is 37th in the Times Higher Education European teaching rankings for 2019, climbing significantly from last year.

The 2018 pilot rankings saw College fall into the 51st–75th category.

In a press statement, Trinity Senior Lecturer Kevin Mitchell said the ranking is “a real testament to the quality of teaching, and learning environment we provide for our students in reaching their full potential”.

He continued: “We want our students to develop continuously and support them in meeting the challenges of the future. This ranking would not be possible without the commitment of our staff in helping our students achieve this.”

The rankings are compiled using a balanced scorecard approach, with 13 performance across 4 different categories. The categories are engagement, which examines if the institution effectively engages with its students; resources, which concerns the capacity of the institution to effectively deliver teaching; outcomes, which examines if institution generates appropriate outputs for students; and environment, which examines if the teaching and learning environment is inclusive.

University College Cork was the second-highest Irish university in the rankings, at 48th. The University of Limerick fell in the 51st-75th category, while NUI Galway placed in the 126th-150th category.

Neither University College Dublin (UCD) nor Dublin City University placed in the rankings.

This year saw Trinity continue a downward trend in the QS World University Rankings, falling from 104th to 108th. UCD rose eight places to 185th, maintaining its place as the second-highest Irish university in the world rankings.

Trinity also fell in the 2018 Times Higher Education World University Rankings, from 117th to 120th.

In 2016, Trinity developed a College-wide strategy to improve its position in world university rankings.

In his final “state of the College” address this year, Provost Patrick Prendergast dismissed the rankings as “reductive”.

Prendergast said that they disregarded “the societal engagement, the critical questing creativity, that we take for granted”. Trinity was ranked the 67th best university in the world when Prendergast took up his position.


By: Emer Moreau of University Times

Trinity Professor of Surgery elected Honorary Fellow of the American Surgical Association

Professor of Surgery at Trinity College, Professor Kevin Conlon has been elected to Honorary Fellowship of the American Surgical Association. This is the highest recognition that the American Surgical Association can bestow upon a surgical colleague from a foreign country. At present, there are ninety-five Honorary Fellows from throughout the world.

Professor Conlon is Professor of Surgery at Trinity College Dublin based in Tallaght Hospital. He is a surgical oncologist with an interest in upper gastrointestinal cancer, particularly gastric and pancreatic malignancies. He is internationally recognised and widely published in the field of surgical oncology and is a member of many cooperative groups.

He is currently the Editor-in-Chief of Digestive Surgery and has served on the editorial board of multiple international journals. He is a member of many cooperative groups. He is currently President of the European-African-Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary-Association  (E-AHPBA) and Secretary General of the International Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary-Association (IHPBA). He is a member of the Council of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and of the Council of European Digestive Surgery. He is also a member of the European Surgical Association and the International Surgical Group.  He is a Past-President (2011) of the Pancreatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland (PSGBI). Prior to joining Trinity, he was Associate Chairman of the Department of Surgery and Director of the Minimally Invasive Therapeutics Programme at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York. At Memorial Hospital, he was part of the executive team responsible for the development of their cancer disease management system and the initiation of a multidisciplinary regional care model for the patient with cancer. The American Surgical Association was founded in 1880 and is the country’s oldest and most prestigious surgical organisation.

As a premier academic surgical society, its mission it to strive for excellence and leadership in science, education, and patient care while promoting diversity, integrity, and innovation.

Prior to joining Trinity, he was Associate Chairman of the Department of Surgery and Director of the Minimally Invasive Therapeutics Programme at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York. At Memorial Hospital, he was part of the executive team responsible for the development of their cancer disease management system and the initiation of a multidisciplinary regional care model for the patient with cancer.

The American Surgical Association was founded in 1880 and is the country’s oldest and most prestigious surgical organisation.

As a premier academic surgical society, its mission it to strive for excellence and leadership in science, education, and patient care while promoting diversity, integrity, and innovation.

Trinity College Dublin Lab Solves Hepatitis C Detection Problem

By David Kelly

Featured Image Credit: Nexu Science Communication 

Scientists from Trinity College Dublin have discovered how Hepatitis C virus (HCV) “ghosts” our immune system and remains undiagnosed in many people.

The highly infectious and sometimes deadly Hepatitis C is transmitted via infected blood or blood products. Replicating well in the liver, it is the leading cause of liver disease worldwide. Despite killing 399,000 people annually, Hepatitis C is rarely accompanied by any obvious clinical symptoms.

Diagnoses often occur only six to twelve months after the infection. This triggers a low-level inflammatory response. These responses eventually cause fibrotic scarring of the liver. This non-functioning liver tissue results in a build up of toxins, often referred to as jaundice.


Jaundice, and other side-effects of liver fibrosis, are usually the first noticeable symptoms of Hepatitis C virus infections. However, by then there is often significant damage to the liver. While HCV is treatable with new medicines, early detection could prevent unnecessary damage.

The Normal Immune Response

A group of scientists, led by Nigel Stevenson, Assistant Professor in Immunology at Trinity, set out to understand how the virus avoids being discovered for months after infection.

Normally, our cells intercommunicate using molecules called cytokines. These molecules work by activating specific cascades of other molecules within our cells called signalling pathways. These signalling pathways trigger hundreds of molecules within our cells to increase inflammation and anti-viral activity.

This immune response kills and clears viral infections from our cells and bodies. However, uncontrolled inflammation is dangerous. Therefore, ‘Suppressor of Cytokine Signalling’ (SOCS) regulators are deployed to control and eventually shut down signalling pathways.

The Hepatitis C Ghost

The Trinity scientists discovered that the HCV abuses our immune response by triggering our SOCS regulators.

“We’ve discovered that HCV hijacks this regulatory process by causing the expression of SOCS in our cells. By increasing the expression of SOCS, HCV basically dulls the normal immune response to viral infection. Without a strong signal our body’s cells cannot then mount an effective inflammatory and anti-viral response that clears infection” explained Dr Stevenson.

“This ability shields HCV from our body’s normal, effective anti-viral immune response and creates a perfect environment in which to survive, replicate and infect other cells. Many diseases are mediated by increasing the inflammatory response to an inappropriately high level, but in this case, it is the lack of adequate inflammation that enables HCV to go undiagnosed, leaving it free to rapidly replicate and infect other cells.”

Dr Stevenson explained to HeadStuff that inhibiting the HCV-p7 protein reduces the induction of the SOCS regulator. Therefore, targeting this protein may be an efficient mechanism to restore the effective immune responses against HCV, especially in patients that do not respond to existing therapy.

Hepatitis C
The HCV p7 protein
Credit: Nexu Science Communication

“If chemists developed effective therapeutics that inhibit HCV-p7, these medicines might be useful in restoring effective immune responses against HCV” added Dr Stevenson.

The Trinity Immunologists

Dr Stevenson’s research aims to decipher the mechanisms by which pathogens target and evade immune responses. They have a specific interest in inflammatory and anti-viral pathways, such as the tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF) and interferon (IFN)-alpha pathways, respectively.

Dysregulation of TNF production has been implicated in a variety of human diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, major depression, psoriasis and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

His research group investigates specific diseases such as HCV, HIV and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). RSV blocks immunity and is a major global problem affecting children and the elderly. There are no effective vaccines or therapeutics for this virus.

Tackling HIV’s Immunity

Last year, Dr Stevenson’s lab discovered a mechanism by which HIV evades the immune system, and which shows precisely how the virus avoids elimination. The new research shows that HIV targets and disables the Interferon signalling pathway, thus avoiding the immune response that is designed to cure viral infection.

Hepatitis C
Credit: Nexu Science Communication

“We discovered that HIV promotes the destruction of the anti-viral Interferon signalling pathway. Essentially, HIV uses the machinery in our own cells to do this, and the virus is thus able to reduce the production of many important anti-viral molecules. Without these anti-viral molecules, our immune system can’t clear viral infections” explained Dr Stevenson.

“Our new revelation sheds new light on how HIV avoids elimination, which, in turn, may explain why HIV is still not a curable disease. We feel this discovery could mark a paradigm shift in our understanding of how this virus evades our immune response. It should open the door to a new era of HIV research aiming to cure and eradicate this deadly virus.”

New Research from TCD and RCSI Reveals How the Body Clock Controls Inflammation

New research reveals how the body clock controls inflammation
New research reveals how the body clock controls inflammation. Pictured left to right: Dr Richard Carroll, Dr Annie Curtis, Mariana Cervantes and George Timmons at RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland). Credit: Patrick Bolger

Researchers at RCSI and Trinity College Dublin have revealed insights into how the body clock controls the inflammatory response, which may open up new therapeutic options to treat excess inflammation in conditions such as asthma, arthritis and cardiovascular disease. By understanding how the body clock controls the inflammatory response, we may be able to target these conditions at certain times of the day to have the most benefit. These findings may also shed light on why individuals who experience body clock disruption such as shift workers are more susceptible to these inflammatory conditions.

The body , the timing mechanism in each cell in the body, allows the body to anticipate and respond to the 24-hour external environment. Inflammation is normally a protective process that enables the body to clear infection or damage, however if left unchecked can lead to disease. The new study, led by researchers at Dr. Annie Curtis’s Lab at RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) in partnership with Prof. Luke O’Neill’s Lab at Trinity College Dublin, is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), a leading international multidisciplinary scientific journal.

Dr. Annie Curtis, Research Lecturer in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Therapeutics at RCSI and senior author, explained that: “Macrophages are key immune cells in our bodies which produce this  when we are injured or ill. What has become clear in recent years is that these cells react differently depending on the time of day that they face an infection or damage, or when we disrupt the body clock within these cells”.

Dr. Jamie Early, first author on the study, said: “We have made a number of discoveries into the impact of the body clock in macrophages on inflammatory diseases such as asthma and multiple sclerosis. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms by which the  clock precisely controls the inflammatory  were still unclear. Our study shows that the central clock protein, BMAL1 regulates levels of the antioxidant response protein NRF2 to control a key inflammatory molecule called IL-1β from macrophages.”

“The findings although at a preliminary stage, offers new insights into the behaviour of  such as arthritis and cardiovascular disease which are known to be altered by the “, added Dr. Early.

Funded by Science Foundation Ireland, the research was undertaken in collaboration between RCSI, Trinity College Dublin and the Broad Institute in Boston, USA.

The paper, The Circadian Clock Protein BMAL1 Regulates IL-1β in Macrophages via NRF2, will be published on Monday, August 20.

Trinity College Scientists Discover New Link Between Obesity and Cancer

Until now, little had been known about the impact obesity has on the immune system as it attempts to fight off cancerous tumours

By Liz Farsaci for

A new link between obesity and cancer has been discovered by scientists at Trinity College Dublin, it was announced on Monday.

The body’s immune system can fail in the presence of excess fat, reducing its ability to fight cancer and other diseases, the research found.

The study confirms why the body’s immune system – led by cancer-fighting “Natural Killer” cells – stutter and fail in the presence of excess fat.

The link between obesity and health issues such as Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and a range of infections is well known, as is the link between obesity and up to 50% of certain cancers, including liver, kidney and skin cancer.

But until now, little has been known about the impact obesity has on the immune system as it attempts to fight off cancerous tumours.

Through working with humans cell samples and mice, scientists discovered that the Natural Killer cells – white cells that are the body’s first line of defence – get clogged up by excess fat in people who are obese.

This clogging up then prevents Natural Killer cells from getting fuel from lipids, or fats, so they don’t have the energy to kill tumour cells.

At the same time, tumour cells can take in energy from lipids, helping them to grow rapidly, says Prof Lydia Lynch, Associate Professor in Immunology at Trinity College Dublin, who led the research.

“So obesity is a double hit,” Prof Lynch told the Irish Daily Mirror. “Obesity can fuel the tumour, and it can inhibit the anti-tumour response.”

The findings are crucial in the fight against cancer as obesity levels continue to rise in Irish adults and children, says Prof Lydia Lynch.

“Despite increased public awareness, the prevalence of obesity and related diseases continue,” said Prof Lynch.

“Therefore, there is increased urgency to understand the pathways whereby obesity causes cancer and leads to other diseases, and to develop new strategies to prevent their progression.

“Regular treatments may not work in the same way for obese people, and so we need to understand exactly what’s happening to the tumour and to the immune response in obese people,” added Prof Lynch, who also conducts research at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in the US.

The research has just been published in leading international journal Nature Immunology.

Ireland has one of the highest rates in Europe, with one in four adults now classed as obese, while 22% of nine-year-olds are overweight or obese.

A study from the ESRI and Trinity College Dublin revealed at the weekend that 17% of children were overweight and 5% were obese.Only a quarter of nine-year-olds reached the recommended level of physical activity which is at least 60 minutes every day.

Trinity College Dublin Reveals €230m Blueprint for the Campus of the Future

A view of Trinity College and Grand Canal district via drone.
A drone view of the existing campus. Image: Trinity College Dublin

Trinity College Dublin’s first Estates Strategy is revealed.

Trinity College Dublin (TCD) has revealed its €230m capital programme to build the campus of the future as part of the university’s first Estates Strategy.

In July, reported how the university has major ambitions for Dublin, including a plan to build a 5.5-acre campus in the Grand Canal Dock district. This campus will also be a hub for start-ups and a landing zone for foreign direct investment (FDI) companies as well as home to a community of venture capital companies, and public and civic spaces.

‘It will upgrade heritage buildings, support growth areas and position the campus for the future’

The Estates Strategy published yesterday (21 November) includes flagship projects such as the new Trinity Business School, which will open in March 2019. The Printing House Square development, which is also due to open in 2019, will provide on-campus student accommodation for up to 250 students along with a range of student services.

The strategy also includes the E3 Engineering, Environment and Emerging Technologies initiative at TCD. Central to the vision of E3 is the construction of the Learning Foundry, a state-of-the-art 6,086 sq m facility based on the main TCD campus. It will deliver new teaching facilities and an innovative interactive learning space for undergraduate and postgraduate students.

“Space is essential to community, and in Trinity our sense of community comes so much from sharing this beautiful campus,” said TCD provost Dr Patrick Prendergast. “Better management of space will improve connectivity across the university. The building of new transformative spaces, like the E3 Learning Foundry, will enable new approaches in teaching.”

Integrity and intention

Other capital developments will include the expansion of student accommodation at Trinity Hall in Dartry to house 300 new beds for students, as well as the expansion of the School of Law and the refurbishment of the Arts Block.

As mentioned, a masterplan is being developed for the Grand Canal Innovation District centred on a new campus in the heart of Dublin’s docklands. There are also plans for the Trinity St James’s Cancer Institute, which will provide a comprehensive cancer care centre on the St James’s Hospital campus.

As well as these capital projects, the Estates Strategy incorporates a long-term refurbishment plan and conservation plan, which will take in the library as well as other key buildings on campus. It also provides for a residential strategy that will serve the long-term needs of staff and students.

“Trinity has one of the most significant campuses worldwide,” said university bursar Veronica Campbell. “As a university campus, it first and foremost serves the needs of the college community. It provides an environment that supports student learning, enables research, and creates an ambience in which the Trinity community connects and flourishes. We aim to provide facilities that support our students and staff for all their needs, and ensure there is a plan to sustain growth over the long term.

“The Estates Strategy will allow the campus to continue to evolve and support the academic mission, by improving the efficiency and quality of learning space and by introducing adaptive reuse of buildings to meet future requirements. It will upgrade heritage buildings, support growth areas and position the campus for the future.”

New Therapy to Treat Rare Cancer Developed by Scientists at Trinity

In trials using mice, the scientists found the potential therapy was successful at stopping the growth of the tumour
In trials using mice, the scientists found the potential therapy was successful at stopping the growth of the tumour

A new therapy that may hold potential for treating a rare soft-tissue cancer that most commonly affects young people has been developed by scientists at Trinity College Dublin.

Synovial sarcoma, a difficult to treat cancer caused by a genetic mutation, starts most commonly in the legs or arms, but it can appear in any part of the body.

Survival rates after ten years are less than a third in patients with a tumour of 5-10cm in size.

The TCD team used CRISPR gene-screening technology to identify potential therapeutic targets in the cancer biology.

They found a protein, called BRD9, which is needed to keep synovial sarcoma cells alive by partnering with another protein called SS18-SSX that causes the disease to develop.

The scientists then designed a drug to target and degrade the BRD9 protein.

In trials using mice, they found the potential therapy was successful at stopping the growth of the tumour.

“As the term degrader suggests, the drug we created degrades the BRD9 protein, removing it from cancer cells,” said Dr Gerard Brien, Research Fellow in Genetics at Trinity College Dublin and lead author of the research.

“It essentially tricks the cells into eliminating this protein on which they rely, which in turn leads to their death.”

The team also found that the drug does not impact cellular processes in normal cells, which should result in fewer, if any, side-effects.

The next step for the researchers will be to test the new drug in clinical trials with patients, which the scientists hope will take place in the near future.

The research was published in international journal eLIFE.