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HighlightsHighlights Archive

Media Monitoring: 9 – 15 May

By May 14, 2024No Comments

NHS launches tool to improve bowel cancer screening for people with sight loss

  • Thousands of people with sight loss in England will find it easier to participate in life-saving bowel cancer screening thanks to a new specially designed NHS tool.
  • People who are blind or partially sighted will be offered a specially designed tool to support them complete faecal immunochemical test (FIT) kit, which can detect signs of bowel cancer.
  • The FIT aid tool is an adaptation which makes the standard FIT test more accessible with a channel that enables the sample to be guided into the bottle, as well as a stand that holds FIT tube steady to help those with manual dexterity issues. It includes options for braille instructions, an audio CD or a link to audio and video instructions.


Inheriting two copies of APOE4 linked to risk of Alzheimer’s at a younger age, studies suggest

  • A new study was published by researchers in Spain, confirming that people who carry two copies of an Alzheimer’s risk gene, called APOE4, have a very high chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
  • They found that by the age of 65, nearly all APOE4 double-carriers showed abnormal levels of amyloid in their cerebrospinal fluid, a key early sign of Alzheimer’s disease, and 75% had positive amyloid scans.
  • Their analysis of brain tissue showed that almost all APOE4 double-carriers had signs of Alzheimer’s disease in their brains by the age of 55.


Rise of drug-resistant superbugs could make Covid pandemic look ‘minor’, expert warns

  • The Covid-19 pandemic will “look minor” compared with what humanity faces from the growing number of superbugs resistant to current drugs, Prof Dame Sally Davies, England’s former chief medical officer, has warned.
  • She paints a bleak picture of what could happen if the world fails to tackle the problem within the next decade, warning that the issue is “more acute” than climate change.
  • Breakthroughs such as genomics and artificial intelligence are “reinvigorating” the science of new antibiotics.


UK refuses to sign global vaccine treaty, reports suggest

  • The Telegraph is reporting that Britain is refusing to sign the World Health Organization’s (WHO) pandemic accord because it would have to give away a fifth of its vaccines.
  • Under the terms of the latest draft of the treaty – now in its ninth and final iteration – all member states would be obligated to give up 20% of tests, treatments and vaccines to the WHO to distribute in poorer countries during emergencies.
  • Countries are due to finalise negotiations on the accord on May 10, with a view to adopting it at the WHO’s annual meeting later this month.


Blood Test Accurately Detects Early-Stage Pancreatic Cancer

  • Scientists have developed a blood test that can accurately detect early-stage pancreatic cancer, according to results from a large study.
  • The test is a liquid biopsy, a type of test that uses blood or other bodily fluids to detect or monitor cancer.
  • The blood test, developed by Ajay Goel, Ph.D., of City of Hope Duarte Cancer Center in California and his colleagues, analyses small bits of RNA released by tumours.


World’s Three Largest Health Philanthropies Join Forces in $300 Million Initiative to Support Innovation in Developing Countries

  • The Novo Nordisk Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Wellcome Trust have announced a new partnership, committing $300 million over three years to stimulate innovative research in developing countries into three of the world’s most critical global health challenges and their interlinkages – including climate change, infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
  • An additional funding stream would aim to support research for greater understanding of the interplay between nutrition, immunity, infectious and non-communicable (NCDs), and developmental outcomes.
  • The announcement by the world’s biggest health philanthropy heavyweights also aims to signal the urgency of making bigger global health investments more broadly to face new and emerging threats.


Finance hurdles for SMEs threaten to stymie UK growth, say MPs (paywall)


The Monthly Diagnostics data for March 2024 can be found here.

  • The total number of patients waiting six weeks or more from referral for one of the 15 key diagnostic tests at the end of March 2024 was 354,900. This was 21.8% of the total number of patients waiting at the end of the month.
  • Nationally, the operational standard of less than 1% of patients waiting six weeks or more was not met this month.
  • Compared with March 2023 the total number of patients waiting six weeks or more decreased by 52,200 while the proportion of patients waiting six weeks or more decreased by 3.2 percentage points.
  • In the last 12 months, the proportion of patients waiting six weeks or more at the end of a month has varied between 20.8% (February 2024) and 27.6% (April 2023).
  • The estimated average time that a patient had been waiting for a diagnostic test was 2.9 weeks at the end of March 2024.
  • There were 1,624,600 patients waiting for a key diagnostic test at the end of March 2024. This is a decrease of 3,700 from March 2023.
  • A total of 2,253,700 diagnostic tests were undertaken in March 2024. This is a decrease of 48,600 from March 2023.
Ben Kemp