Newspaper headlines: MS 'cure', Euro 2016 build-up and referendum debate

A medical breakthrough in the search to find a cure for multiple sclerosis and anticipation of the Euro 2016 football championship make the front pages.

The Times says a University of Ottawa study found multiple sclerosis could be stopped or even reversed.

It says: "Results of a trial were hailed as remarkable, with the progression of the debilitating disease halted in almost all patients who had the treatment.

"A quarter of the MS sufferers had their condition effectively suppressed.

"Patients had aggressive chemotherapy combined with a transplant of their own cells.

"The chemotherapy destroyed the immune system instead of suppressing it as in standard treatment. It was then 'reset' using blood stem cells."

The paper notes that the technique is not without risks - one person died as a result.

Image copyright Science Photo Library
Image caption Most patients saw an improvement in their condition

The Guardian calls the therapy radical but risky, for a disease that has proved untreatable for many people.

"Doctors in Canada conducted an experimental stem cell transplant with 24 patients who were expected to be confined to a wheelchair within 10 years, and after receiving the treatment most were able to regain control of their lives, becoming able to walk, play sport and drive," it reports.

"To the surprise of their doctors, some patients recovered functions that had been eroded by the disease, including their sight and their balance.

"Six have gone back to work or college, five married or became engaged and two had children using banked sperm or eggs, as the aggressive treatment made them infertile.

"The long-term results have been universally applauded by scientists and support groups and will lead to a worldwide clamour for the transplants to be more widely available."

The Telegraph says the trial has been hailed by experts as "exciting", "unprecedented", and "close to curative."


Eye-catching headlines


Heated exchanges

The latest televised EU referendum debate is reflected upon by the press.

Taking part were Nicola Sturgeon, Amber Rudd and Angela Eagle on the Remain side, and Boris Johnson, Andrea Leadsom and Gisela Stuart for the Leave camp.

The Times says: "Boris Johnson was accused of being willing to sacrifice millions of British jobs for the sake of personal ambition as three leading female politicians from different parties competed to bait Brexit's most powerful advocate.

"Mr Johnson largely resisted what he described as the effort to 'reduce the debate to a lot of personal stuff'."

Image copyright PA
Image caption The debate was the first head-to-head in the campaign

The Guardian says Ms Sturgeon led a concerted onslaught by senior Remain campaigners to discredit Mr Johnson in a heated television debate.

"The ITV referendum debate saw Scotland's first minister defend the benefits of immigration for the UK and criticise Johnson for standing by Vote Leave's claim that Britain sends £350m a week to Brussels," says the Guardian.

"Johnson fought back, performing strongly on the issue of sovereignty, when the debate descended into a series of heated exchanges over claims of negative campaigning on both sides."

The Telegraph states: "Mr Johnson used his first televised debate of the campaign to call on voters to 'take back control' from 'an unelected elite frankly indifferent to the suffering that their policies are causing'.

"However, his opponents, who included Amber Rudd, the Tory energy secretary, repeatedly focused their attacks on him, branding him 'misleading' and accusing him of backing a Brexit to benefit his career."

The i says there were heated exchanges during the referendum campaign's first major televised head-to-head debate.


Football kick-off

The papers look ahead to the Euro 2016 football championship which gets under way in France on Friday evening.

Many focus on security fears, heightened by the terror attacks in Paris last November including on the Stade de France where France were playing Germany.

As the Times reports: "Bars and bistros in France have been banned from screening European football championship games on large outdoor televisions amid fears of a terrorist attack on fans.

"The 250,000 ticketless British fans who are expected to cross the Channel to be part of the experience will have to watch matches indoors or in heavily guarded fanzones.

"The council in Marseilles, where England play Russia tomorrow night, has written to all the city's bars, cafes and bistros ordering them not to put televisions on their terraces.

"The letter was prompted by police fears that large groups of supporters outside would be easier for terrorists to attack."

The Mirror claims to have highlighted a security breach by getting a reporter onto an unguarded England team bus.

The paper says it exposes a "shocking lapse in the England camp, just two days before they kick-off their first match".

Image copyright PA
Image caption Security is tight for the Euro 2016 football championship

Meanwhile, the Sun says one of its reporters was able to walk unchallenged under a stand at the stadium in Marseilles - and was even offered a ladder to help him get inside.

The paper describes security for the tournament as a "shambles".

The Guardian reports that the French team will attempt to pull the country out of the spiral of negativity that organisers say has blighted preparations.

"Short of a plague of locusts, little more could go wrong for the hosts in the run-up to the tournament," it says.

"France's 1998 World Cup, in which the home team triumphed and which was overseen by the now disgraced former Uefa president Michel Platini, has gone down as helping to mint a new kind of tournament, marrying commercial savvy with sun-drenched football tourism.

"But in addition to the continuing national state of emergency and drastically beefed-up security operations following November's attacks, organisers have had to contend with strikes by railway workers and airline pilots, overflowing bins because of stoppages by refuse workers, a fuel shortage and floods."

On a lighter note, Matt's cartoon in the Telegraph fuses the Euros and the referendum.

An England player is saying: "We aim to limit the number of EU goals we let in to the tens of thousands."


Stuck record

The Times says a scientist has warned that the continuation of world records being broken in athletics is coming to an end.

Olympic athlete-turned-academic Greg Whyte, professor of sport and exercise science at Liverpool John Moores University, believes humans are scraping the ceiling of their capabilities across track and field, says the Times.

Speaking at the Cheltenham Science Festival, Prof Whyte said barriers such as the two-hour men's marathon may never be achieved.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Dennis Kimetto is the men's marathon world record holder

Dennis Kimetto, of Kenya, set the current world best of 2:02.57 in Berlin two years ago.

Prof Whyte said: "The two-hour marathon is a big ask. We assume that we are close to it, but we are around three minutes away and if you dissect that fundamentally you're talking about seven seconds a mile off an incredibly rapid pace."