The Health News – 24 August 2015

Overview:

• At the Queensland University of Technology’s (QUT) Dr Mia Woodruff who leads the Biomaterialas and Tissue Morphology Group has been doing research to help future hospital by allowing surgeons to print 3D models of areas of the body that they operate on, and printing a “scaffold” that can be implanted as a replacement.

• The Government said it would give businesses until the August 1, 2017 to prepare for the smoking in outdoor will be banned, which will cover all outdoor dining areas at restaurants, cafes, take-away shops and licensed premises. Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy said smoking related illnesses killed 4,000 Victorians each year, and cost more than $2 billion in health care and lost productivity.

• In a report released by advocacy group Bowel Cancer Australia, five leading cancer specialists argue there is unmet need for new therapies and research. Associate Professor Peter Gibbs is a medical oncologist at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and he co-authored the Bowel Cancer Australia report.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 24th August 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-23/robotronica-hospital-of-the-future/6682908

Imagine a hospital where broken bones and damaged tissue can be replicated and replaced by 3D printed body parts.

That is the vision of Queensland University of Technology’s (QUT) Dr Mia Woodruff.

Dr Woodruff, who leads the Biomaterials and Tissue Morphology Group at QUT’s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, has been spearheading research into the area for the past few years.

Her work could potentially help future hospital patients twofold: by allowing surgeons to print 3D models of areas of the body they are to operate on; and printing a “scaffold” that can be implanted as a replacement.

The research, which uses a biofabrication machine that imparts tens of thousands of volts and robotic precision to produce 3D plastic scaffolds out of fibers much thinner than a human hair, will be on display at Robotronica … at QUT’s Gardens Point campus.

Dr Woodruff said a scaffold had to emulate exactly the structure of the tissue it was replacing.

“We don’t just make a solid block of plastic,” she said.

“We can design a scaffold with the proper architecture, and we can make scan data set talk to our 3D printers, which will then print that scaffold into a 3D shape.

“What makes this quite a novel approach is you don’t just make a scaffold material that implants into a defect; we can also put things like patient’s own stem cells into the scaffold.

She said the materials had to be strong enough so that surgeons did not break them.

“If we don’t consult with clinicians we can end up making something they can’t use,” she said.

Dr Woodruff said clinical trials involving large animals with similar bone structure to humans had been going on for the past two years.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-23/victorian-outdoor-dining-smoking-ban-to-begin-august-2017/6717962

Smoking in outdoor dining areas will be banned throughout Victoria within two years, the State Government says.

The Government said it would give businesses until the August 1, 2017 to prepare for the ban, which will cover all outdoor dining areas at restaurants, cafes, take-away shops and licensed premises.

Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy said smoking related illnesses killed 4,000 Victorians each year, and cost more than $2 billion in health care and lost productivity.

Smoking has been banned around Victorian schools, hospitals, courts and police stations since April.

Victoria will be the last state to impose the ban on outdoor dining areas.

Victoria’s Opposition Health spokeswoman Mary Wooldridge accused the Government of dragging its feet on the issue.

Ms Hennessy said the two-year period was not unusual before implementing such a ban, and would allow for practical applications of the bans to be worked through.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-21/bowel-cancer-research-drastically-underfunded-doctors-say/6716192

Doctors who treat bowel cancer say the disease is drastically underfunded compared with other cancers.

In a report released by advocacy group Bowel Cancer Australia, five leading cancer specialists argue there is unmet need for new therapies and research.

Bowel cancer is deadlier than breast cancer, but the report said it gets nowhere near the same amount of government research funding.

Associate Professor Peter Gibbs is a medical oncologist at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and he co-authored the Bowel Cancer Australia report.

“Colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer that we see and the second leading cause of cancer deaths, but we as cancer specialists don’t feel it gets the due recognition that it deserves,” he said.

“Traditionally, bowel cancer has unfortunately been quite a neglected cancer; there’s other cancers that are much more high-profile.

“Breast cancer in particular, more recently prostate cancer is getting a lot of attention, which is great, but bowel cancer certainly needs a lot more effort and research and funding put into it given it does cause more deaths than either of those cancers.”

Associate Professor Gibbs said Federal Government data clearly shows there are inequities in cancer funding.

He said that in the past eight years, $31.5 million had been spent on breast care nurses, $7 million for prostate cancer support services and nothing for bowel cancer specialist support.

Over the past decade, the report said bowel cancer researchers received 40 per cent less funding than those studying breast cancer, which has a higher survival rate.

In a statement, the National Health and Medical Research Council said bowel cancer applications were historically more successful than breast or prostate cancer applications.

A spokeswoman said the council had simply received significantly fewer applications for research on bowel cancer.

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