Greggs’ share price saw a 6% year-on-year rise yesterday following the government’s decision to make a U-turn over the pasty tax.The high street retail bakery chain’s share price peaked at a high of 506.50p during early morning trading on Tuesday (29 May) at 8.16am, following the news that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, had decided to scrap plans to add 20% VAT to hot takeaway bakery products served straight from the oven.Greggs’ shares dropped by 4% to 528p on Wednesday 21 March when Osborne first outlined the now-scrapped VAT rules in the Budget, decreasing the company’s overall value by £20m. The company’s share price has fallen 14.5% overall in the past three months.The firm had warned that, with savoury sales representing over a third of its turnover, implementation of the tax could have had a material impact on its sales and profit.Greggs published an interim management statement on 16 May, ahead of its annual general meeting, reporting a 4.3% increase in total sales in the first 19 weeks of its new financial year. But the company additionally revealed its like-for-like sales (LFLs) suffered – dipping by 1.8%.British Baker will be reporting on the pasty tax U-turn in the next issue of the magazine, published on Friday 1 June.
With the discovery of a compound that can slow the degradation of insulin in animals, scientists at Harvard have opened the door to a potential new treatment for diabetes.The new approach, described by David Liu, professor of chemistry and chemical biology, and Alan Saghatelian, associate professor of chemistry and chemical biology, uses the compound to inhibit insulin-degrading enzyme (IDE). Inhibiting IDE in mice, they have shown, elevates insulin levels and promotes insulin signaling in vivo. Eventually, using this compound in patients may help maintain higher insulin levels to improve glucose tolerance and thereby treat diabetes. The discovery of the compound, and tests demonstrating its efficacy in mice, are outlined in a May 21 paper in the journal Nature.“This work validates a new potential target for the treatment of diabetes,” Liu said. “What we show is that inhibiting IDE in an animal can improve glucose tolerance under conditions that mimic the intake of a meal if you administer this compound beforehand.”For decades, insulin-based diabetes treatments consisted of three main strategies — inject insulin into diabetics, provide drugs that stimulate insulin secretion, or administer drugs that make the body more sensitive to insulin.“What’s been missing has been the ability to regulate the degradation of insulin,” Saghatelian said. “The technological leap we’ve made was in identifying a molecule that allows that to happen. This opens up a new avenue to control insulin signaling in vivo.”To identify the new molecule, Liu, Saghatelian, and their co-workers turned to DNA-templated synthesis, a method of creating molecules that self-assemble according to an attached DNA sequence. The system works by combining DNA “templates,” or short segments of DNA, with the chemical building blocks of molecules, each of which is linked to a complementary piece of DNA. As the DNA segments bind, the building blocks are brought together and react with one another, forming molecules of greater complexity. The composition of the resulting molecules can be identified by sequencing their associated DNA strands.“We took a library of about 14,000 DNA templates and combined it with several sets of DNA-linked reagents,” Liu said. “The resulting synthesis of about 14,000 small molecules was largely driven by, and programmed by, DNA base pairing. At the end of that process, we had 14,000 strands of DNA, each with a unique compound at its end.”Researchers then took that library of DNA-linked compounds and incubated it with IDE in the hope that some might bind to the enzyme.“Our hypothesis was that the molecules that were retained by IDE might modulate IDE’s activity,” Liu said. “In this case, right out of the library, we found quite a potent and selective inhibitor. Perhaps most important, this molecule had a good half-life in animals, so it could be used to answer the 60-year-old question of what happens when you slow down the natural degradation of insulin in the body.”Identifying a molecule that could inhibit IDE, however, was only the first step.Researchers were also able to show that the compound remained active in the body, and experiments with mice showed that it was able to help regulate blood-sugar levels.“To validate that this strategy of slowing the degradation of insulin is actually therapeutically useful, we have to show that this compound can transiently inhibit the target, and show that it has a benefit in animals,” Liu said. “That is what we demonstrate in this study.”In addition to pointing the way toward a new way to treat diabetes, researchers uncovered information about how IDE works in the body.“In the process of resolving some seemingly paradoxical results, we discovered that IDE is actually somewhat misnamed,” he said. “It doesn’t just degrade insulin, it degrades at least two other important glucose-regulating peptide hormones, glucagon and amylin.”While the discovery of the molecule is exciting, Liu emphasized that it may still be some time before the compound finds its way onto pharmacy shelves.“To develop a drug requires a number of additional tests and developments,” he said. “But this work validates IDE as a new target for the treatment of diabetes, and it provides experimental tools that can be used to develop this compound further into potential therapeutic leads.”“What this paper has done is given a proof of concept that targeting this protein is the way to go,” Saghatelian said. “To make the leap from this molecule to a drug, there are other factors that need to be optimized. But we’ve hung the carrot out there for the pharmaceutical industry and other labs to start looking at IDE as a potential target for treating diabetes, and to push through the remaining obstacles that are there. We’ve shown it’s worth the effort to look into this more deeply, and hopefully what we’ve done is opened people’s eyes to IDE as a valid therapeutic target.”Researchers from Stony Brook University, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, the University of California, Irvine, and the University of Chicago contributed to the research.
Although many of the faces from last year haven’t changed, the UW women’s soccer team’s position in the Big Ten standings certainly did. The team is only one point out of first place heading into its final three games.According to senior defender Whitney Owusu, this drastic improvement from last year’s team that finished the year in 10th place can be attributed to the Badgers’ resiliency.“The difference from last year’s team is we’re more confident and more together as a team. We know that we can and should win,” she said. “When we get scored on we don’t get down, and we know we can get back into the game.”“The change has to do with our attitude and mentality,” goalkeeper Michele Dalton added. “I don’t think it has much to do with skill, that has always been there but I think the mentality of the team has really turned around. Not just from last year, it’s been a progressive change. We’re more confident stepping out onto the field, and we know we can compete with these teams.”The Badgers had an impressive weekend and came from behind twice, finishing the weekend with two draws against Big Ten co-leaders Penn State and Ohio State. Last year, the team lost games against the same teams by a combined score of 7-0.Head coach Paula Wilkins has also been impressed by the success accomplished by her young team this year. According to Wilkins, another year of growth, both mentally and physically, has contributed to the team’s strong play this year.“As a team we focused a little more on fitness, but the change was more due to mentality,” Wilkins said. “We made sure we were more consistent and didn’t give into the little things that went wrong during games. Our results show the maturity of the players.”A big part of the team’s success is the outstanding play from forward Laurie Nosbusch. The sophomore has seven goals and 12 total points so far this season. She was also responsible for the game-tying goal against Penn State, which earned her Big Ten Player of the Week honors, while teammate Monica Lam-Feist took home Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors. That marked the fourth time this year she had scored the game equalizing or winning goal.“I’m a forward and it’s my job to score goals,” Nosbusch said. “I know that if my teammates give me a good pass I can finish it.”Although Wilkins gives credit to the superb play of Nosbusch, she also points out the great play of the players setting her up.“It’s always nice to have a player like that on your team,” Wilkins said. “As a coach you get your paycheck based on those players. It’s really exciting seeing her play, and I think it’s great how the players around her are creating opportunities for her. Laurie’s finishing off what she’s supposed to be doing, and players like Paige Adams, Erin Jacobsen and Leigh Williams are getting her the ball.”The Penn State game also marked the last home game for the seniors of the team. These players include Owusu, Stephanie Krombach, Ashley Hedges and Krista Liskevych, all of whom have greatly contributed to the Badgers’ success this year.“It was really emotional playing our last game at home, especially when they were calling out all the seniors at the beginning of the game, but it was a really fun game,” Owusu said. “I’m glad we got to end with Penn State on our home field. This year has been amazing, but my best memory has to be our two comebacks this weekend.”Although the Badgers are in a good position for the Big Ten title hunt right now, they know there is a lot of work left to be done. With the next three games against Michigan, Michigan State, and Northwestern — all of whom are ranked in the lower half of the Big Ten — Wilkins knows the team needs to step it up down the stretch.“The key is being the most consistent game after game. Every game matters and every moment matters and the teams that grasp that are the ones that are successful,” Wilkins said. “We look one game at a time and one play at a time — hopefully we’ll do well.”“It’s exciting,” Owusu added. “I mean last year we were fighting to make it to the Big Ten Tournament, and this year we’re fighting for a championship.”