The Health News United Kingdom October 23 2017

  • The NHS will fund gene therapy for the first time, with a £500,000 treatment for “bubble baby syndrome”.Three babies are born each year with an immunodeficiency condition which leave them at constant risk of developing life-threatening infections. Strimvelis made by GlaxoSmithKline, is only the second gene therapy for an inherited disease to be licensed anywhere in the world.
  • A new law that will introduce a minimum price for the sale of alcohol in Wales has been unveiled by the Welsh government. The public health (minimum price for alcohol) bill is expected to be introduced before the Welsh assembly on Monday by the public health minister, Rebecca Evans. It will address longstanding health concerns about the effects of excessive drinking and the availability of cheap, strong alcohol.
  • Researchers at the University of the West of Scotland have discovered a protein that can stop viruses developing. The team had already established that the same protein can suppress cancer. Now the fight is on to fully understand how it works in the hope of turning the laboratory research into a treatment. The protein is called Hira. It could suppress the uncontrolled division of cells that causes cancer.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 23rd of  October 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto. Health News

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/10/23/nhs-fund-gene-therapy-bubble-babies/

The NHS will fund gene therapy for the first time, with a five hundred thousand pound treatment for “bubble baby syndrome”. Three babies are born each year with an immunodeficiency condition which leave them at constant risk of developing life-threatening infections.
If left untreated, infants need to be kept isolated from the outside world, which is why the condition is known as “bubble baby syndrome” and usually die before school age.
The current treatment for the condition is a stem cell transplant, which can restore the immune system if successful.  However, closely matched stem cell donors are hard to find, and transplants can fail, and carry a risk of death or complications. Today the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) said the NHS should fund the gene therapy Strimvelis made by GlaxoSmithKline. The treatment is so rare that it is only offered by one hospital in the world, in Italy.
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Strimvelis is only the second gene therapy for an inherited disease to be licensed anywhere in the world. The draft guidance, which is  the first time NICE has applied its new cost effectiveness limits for treatments for very rare conditions,  recommends the treatment when no suitable matched related stem cell donor is available. Severe combined immunodeficiency due to adenosine deaminase deficiency, or ADA-SCID, is an inherited genetic condition. It affects the body’s white blood cells, leaving people with the condition without a properly functioning immune system and therefore with a high risk of developing life-threatening, recurrent infections.
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Professor Carole Longson, director of the centre for health technology assessment at Nice, said:  “Strimvelis represents an important development in the treatment of ADA-SCID, offering the potential to cure the immune aspects of the condition and avoid some of the disadvantages of current treatments. This means that children born with ADA-SCID will now have a better chance of being able to lead as near normal a life as possible, going to school, mixing with friends, free from the constant threat of getting a potentially life-threatening infection.

The condition is extremely rare, but became known across the world following the 1976 TV film “The Boy in the Plastic Bubble” starring John Travolta.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/oct/23/welsh-government-plans-minimum-pricing-for-alcohol-sales

A new law that will introduce a minimum price for the sale of alcohol in Wales has been unveiled by the Welsh government. The public health minimum price for alcohol bill is expected to be introduced before the Welsh assembly on Monday by the public health minister, Rebecca Evans.

It will address longstanding health concerns about the effects of excessive drinking and the availability of cheap, strong alcohol. The problem is estimated to lead to fifty thousand alcohol-related hospital admissions a year, costing the Welsh NHS one hundred twenty million pounds annually. In two thousand fifteen there were four hundred sixty three alcohol-related deaths in Wales. In Scotland, the Alcohol Minimum Pricing Act was passed in June two thousand twelve but has not been introduced as it has been tied up in a succession of court challenges amid claims that it breaches European law.

The Welsh bill proposes to introduce a minimum price for alcohol and to make it an offence for alcohol to be supplied below that price. The level of the minimum unit price would be specified in regulations made by Welsh ministers. In two thousand fourteen, research on the impact of introducing a fifty p minimum unit price estimated there would be fifty three fewer deaths and  one thousand four hundred fewer hospital admissions in Wales each year, saving the NHS more than one hundred thirty million pounds over twenty years. It was estimated workplace absences would fall by up to ten thousand days per year. Over a twenty-year period, the introduction of a minimum unit price could contribute eight hundred eighty two million pounds to the Welsh economy in terms of the reduction in alcohol-related illness, crime and workplace absence.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-41664511

Researchers at the University of the West of Scotland have discovered a protein that can stop viruses developing. The team had already established that the same protein can suppress cancer. Now the fight is on to fully understand how it works in the hope of turning the laboratory research into a treatment. The protein is called Hira. Technically it is a histone chaperone complex, but it is easier to understand in terms of what it can do.
Three years ago Doctor Taranjit Singh Rai and colleagues at the Beatson cancer institute and Glasgow University reported that Hira could suppress the uncontrolled division of cells that causes cancer.

Now working at the University of the West of Scotland, Doctor Rai and his colleagues have now established the same Hira protein combats viruses too.There are millions of viruses out there, whose sole purpose is to replicate by getting inside the living cells of organisms like us.
The so-called common cold isn’t as common as billed as it can be any one of more than two hundred different viruses. That is why science hasn’t found a cure for it yet. The older we get, the more Hira builds up in our cells, suggesting it also plays an important role in how they age and die. The trick in using it to fight disease may lie in increasing Hira levels in our cells. But to do that a way will have to be found to use a protein which binds extremely tightly to our DNA.
It is going to take some time, probably years, before this work can move out of the lab and into clinics and hospitals. But the researchers are excited – and confident Hira will one day be the basis of a new approach in medicine.

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