The Health News – 1 April 2016

Overview:
• Doctors in the US have performed the world’s first liver transplant from a donor infected with HIV to an HIV-positive recipient, three years after a US ban on such 

• Malcolm Turnbull is not the first Prime Minister to want to end health funding duck-shoving with a radical plan. There are echoes of Kevin Rudd in his language, if not his solution.

• Periodontist Professor Saso Ivanovski, from Griffith University’s Menzies Institute pioneered a new study using 3D printing to create tissue and bone could revolutionise dentistry and provide benefits for dental health in remote communities.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 1st of April 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-03-31/doctors-perform-first-hiv-to-hiv-liver-transplant/7290156

Doctors in the US have performed the world’s first liver transplant from a donor infected with HIV to an HIV-positive recipient, three years after a US ban on such operations was overturned.

The procedure involved a deceased donor whose liver was transplanted into a patient who had been infected with the virus that causes AIDS more than 20 years ago, doctors at Johns Hopkins University said.

The same donor also gave her kidney to another patient for transplant.

“A couple of weeks ago we performed the first HIV-to-HIV liver transplant in the world, and the first HIV-to-HIV kidney transplant in the United States,” Dorry Segev, professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins Medicine, told a press conference.

Similar HIV-to-HIV kidney transplant operations have already taken place in South Africa.

“This is a very exciting day for us … but it is really only the beginning,” Dr Segev said.

Both patients — whose identities were not revealed — are recovering well from their operations, the medical team said.

The kidney transplant patient has already left the hospital.

The donor’s name was not released, but her family issued a statement describing her as a “very boisterous soul” who fought for justice.

Dr Steve Chadban, a surgeon at Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, said HIV-positive people were still unable to donate their organs in Australia.

Under US law, it was illegal to use an organ from a donor infected with HIV for transplant until Congress passed the HOPE Act, which US President Barack Obama signed into law in 2013.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-03-31/echoes-of-rudd-in-turnbulls-radical-health-funding-tax-plans/7290064

Malcolm Turnbull is not the first Prime Minister to want to end health funding duck-shoving with a radical plan.

There are echoes of Kevin Rudd in his language, if not his solution.

“The blame game, the finger pointing, we’re all sick of it,” Mr Turnbull said today.

In 2007, Mr Rudd identified the Commonwealth-state funding divide as the chronic condition at the heart of the public hospital system.

“I will end the blame game between Canberra and the states,” he declared in the lead up to that year’s election.

His solution was the mirror opposite of Mr Turnbull’s: he would fix public hospitals or take them over. He even threatened a referendum “for a mandate to take Commonwealth responsibility for full funding of public hospitals into the future”.

It was a big idea. Mr Rudd dubbed it “the single biggest reform to our system since the introduction of Medicare”.

But in early 2010, he settled on a smaller plan. The Commonwealth would lift its funding share from 40 to 60 per cent. The idea was to bypass the states by directly funding local health networks. The slogan was “funded nationally and run locally” and savings would be found by identifying — and only paying for — the agreed “efficient cost” for every service.

The Commonwealth bypassing the states was never going to fly, but the premiers happily took the money. When Mr Rudd was rolled by his party, his successor kept the plan.

Mr Turnbull … identified the Commonwealth-state funding divide as the chronic condition at the heart of public hospital system, calling it “this depressing blame game where no one really knows who’s responsible for what”.

His description of the plan to give states the right to levy a share of income tax is Ruddian: “The most fundamental change to the federation in generations”.

It would allow the Commonwealth to get out of public hospitals and hand all responsibility for the system to the states.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-03-31/3d-tissue-printing-could-revolutionise-dentistry/7287560

A new study using 3D printing to create tissue and bone could revolutionise dentistry and provide benefits for dental health in remote communities.

Periodontist Professor Saso Ivanovski, from Griffith University’s Menzies Institute, has pioneered the work which plans to use a “bioprinter” to grow missing bone and tissue from a patient’s own cells.

The new technology will be a significant improvement on traditional methods where bone and tissue are taken from other parts of the body such as the hip and occasionally the skull, Professor Ivanovski said.

“These procedures are often associated with significant pain, nerve damage and postoperative swelling,” he said.

If the study is successful, patients will be able to have a CT scan of the damaged region sent to a 3D bio-printer to manufacture a replacement part.

This means that remote patients could have CT scans done in regional centres that can then be sent off for printing, rather than needing to visit major hospitals for the procedure.

Using structures grown from the cells of the patient also diminishes the risk of rejection and allows the new structure to grow into its surrounding tissue.

The technology is an Australian first and follows similar breakthroughs in manufacturing living human tissue by 3D printing overseas.

The three-year study has been given a $650,000 grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council, and researchers are aiming for pre-clinical trials within the next year.