The News – 27 Feb 2015

Overview

  • Scientists from Australia and the UK have done the most in-depth analysis yet of 100 pancreatic cancer genomes and highlighted 4 subtypes that may help guide future patient treatment.
  • Tasmania’s Resources Minister is putting pressure on his cabinet colleagues to go bald to support leukaemia patients.
  • Serco is facing a wages bill of about $60,000 to pay for extra staff to ensure it meets contract deadlines for sterilising equipment at Fiona Stanley Hospital.



News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 27th February 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.

http://www.garvan.org.au/news-events/news/how-the-landscape-of-the-pancreatic-cancer-genome-is-coming-into-view

Scientists from Australia and the UK have done the most in-depth analysis yet of 100 pancreatic cancer genomes and highlighted 4 subtypes that may help guide future patient treatment. The study is published in Nature …

Using whole genome sequencing, the team revealed broad patterns of ‘structural variation’, or change, previously invisible when it was feasible to sequence only protein-coding genes (around 1% of the genome).


… With the benefit of a global view, four kinds of genomic rearrangement were detected in the new study, including ‘stable’, ‘locally rearranged’, ‘scattered’ and ‘unstable’1.
…Professors Andrew Biankin and Sean Grimmond, laboratory heads at Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research and the University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB) respectively, led the study, arising out of a much larger ongoing project2. Both are now based at the Wolfson Wohl Cancer Research Centre, part of the University of Glasgow in Scotland. They collaborated with bioinformatician Dr Nicola Waddell from IMB, who interpreted the sequencing results.



Pancreatic cancer has a median survival of 6 months and a 5-year survival that remains less than 5%. There is an urgent need to find a better way of selecting patients for current therapies and to develop new therapeutic strategies.
 
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-26/tasmanian-minister-encourages-cabinet-to-shave-for-leukaemia/6265200

Tasmania’s Resources Minister is lobbying his cabinet colleagues to cut off all their hair and build awareness of [leukaemia]

Paul Harriss urged the Government front bench to go bald to raise awareness about leukaemia and raise funds to support its sufferers.
But he said he had a little trouble in drumming up support around the cabinet table.

In 2004, Mr Harriss’s 29-year-old niece Jenna Bradburn was diagnosed with aplastic anaemia, a type of blood cancer.
She received a bone marrow transplant in 2005.
Like many Tasmanian leukaemia patients, Ms Bradburn had to travel to Melbourne for treatment.
She backed her uncle’s campaign and said without financial help from the Leukaemia Foundation her struggle with the disease would have been much harder.

Mining companies MMG and Grange Resources also committed to give money to the Leukaemia Foundation.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-25/serco-faces-bill-for-fiona-stanley-equipment-delays/6262874

Serco is facing a wages bill of about $60,000 to pay for extra staff to ensure it meets contract deadlines for sterilising equipment at Fiona Stanley Hospital.

The company, which delivers non-clinical services at the new $2 billion hospital, was criticised for failing return sterilised equipment to operating theatres and the emergency department within strict deadlines.
The Health Department has now assigned its own staff to the hospital to work with Serco personnel to ensure sterilisation is completed on schedule.
That arrangement could continue for up to two months at a cost estimated at $4,800 a week.
Dr Hames told Parliament that Serco must improve or face losing the contract.

The Minister said the cost of department staff would be met by Serco, and there would be no additional cost to government.
“And in fact, if the contract was taken off them, then we would take back the funds that would otherwise be spent on servicing that contract,” he said.
The Health Minister was unable to say what fines Serco would face for contract breaches.
“That will be determined as part of the contract,” he said.

The Minister also faced questions over the use of porters to move patients in the hospital.
A shortage of porters at Fiona Stanley Hospital created delays, which forced some doctors to collect their own patients.
Dr Hames told Parliament the porter issue was not a contract breach.

Dr Hames said the operator would not be fined, but had been required to increase staff numbers.


Labor moved a motion condemning the privatisation of non-clinical services at the hospital, and the Minister’s handling of Serco’s performance.
“This is an embarrassment for this minister. Privatisation was his key initiative,” Opposition health spokesman Roger Cook said.
“And, as we’ve seen, the privatisation birds are coming home to roost as his key failure.”

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