The News – 8 Oct 2014

Overview

  • Sydney-based biotech company Regeneus offering stem cell treatments to injured athletes is under fire for talking up the AFL’s “approval” of its procedure and allegedly misleading the stock exchange.
  • A Spanish nurse who treated two Ebola patients at a Madrid hospital is thought to be the first person to have contracted the virus outside Africa.
  • Couples in the Central West are being encouraged to participate in a trial which provides a $200 subsidy for couples to use in strengthening their relationship.


Stories Discussed
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 8th October 2014. Read by Rebecca Foster.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-06/biotech-company-under-fire-over-afl-approval-claim/5794026

A listed company offering stem cell treatments to injured athletes is under fire for talking up the AFL’s “approval” of its procedure and allegedly misleading the stock exchange.

In August, Sydney-based biotech company Regeneus, which raised $12 million by listing on the stock market last year, put out a press release headed “ASX Announcement” which said the AFL “approved” the use of its liposuction-based stem cell procedure for injured players.

Sports physician and stem cell researcher Dr Mark Young is concerned about Regeneus’ claims.

Regeneus has had much fanfare for its product, which costs $10,000 per treatment.

Its announcement said an independent clinical trial had demonstrated the procedure “reduces pain and halts cartilage degeneration in arthritic joints”.

However, the … statement left out some key information.

“It is misleading because the control (placebo) group in that trial also achieved the same reduction in pain and slowing of cartilage degeneration,” the letter said.

The control group simply had saline injected into their knees.

Orthopaedic surgeon Dr Justin Roe works at the same clinic as the researchers who conducted the study for Regeneus.

“To not have stem cells harvested and to have something saline put in the joint was just as good as having the stem cells harvested,” Dr Roe said.

“So, in a scientific, evidence-based term, there was no difference between the two.”

Martin Pera, who is Professor of Stem Cell Biology at the University of Melbourne and runs the Australian Research Council’s special initiative on stem cells, applauds Regeneus for funding a proper clinical trial, but wonders why the company cherry-picked the evidence in its statement to the ASX.

But Professor Pera wonders whether this is worth the $10,000 cost for a Regeneus treatment.

“I’d say that the bulk of the clinical evidence show there was no difference (between the treated group and the placebo).”

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-07/spanish-nurse-being-tested-for-ebola-in-madrid/5794426

A Spanish nurse who treated two Ebola patients at a Madrid hospital is thought to be the first person to have contracted the virus outside Africa.

“She is a health professional who took care of the infected with the disease who were repatriated and cared for at Carlos III hospital,” the director of Spain’s public health department, Mercedes Vinuesa, told a media conference.

Health Minister Ana Mato also told the news conference that an emergency protocol had been put in place and authorities were working to establish the source of the contagion.

Both the patients the nurse helped care for died from the disease.

Spanish priest Miguel Pajares, 75, was infected with Ebola in Liberia and died at Madrid’s La Paz-Carlos III hospital on August 12.

Another Spanish missionary, Manuel Garcia Viejo, 69, was repatriated from Sierra Leone and died at the same hospital on September 25.

Both were members of the Hospital Order of San Juan de Dios, a Catholic group that runs a charity working with Ebola victims in Africa.

Spanish health officials said they were monitoring 30 other health workers who attended the priests.

The assistant nurse was admitted to hospital on Monday morning with a high fever, Spanish newspaper El Pais reported.

Doctors then isolated the emergency treatment room, the report said.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-07/couples-offered-subsidy-for-counselling/5794842?WT.ac=statenews_nsw

Couples in the Central West are being encouraged to participate in a trial which provides a $200 subsidy for couples to use in strengthening their relationship.

The subsidy can be redeemed for a number of services provided by Interrelate in Dubbo or its outreach locations in Warren, Walgett, Cobar, Coonabarabran and Mudgee.

Interrelate’s Central West Area Manager, Michelle McKenna, said financial barriers could sometimes stop people accessing counselling.

“Sometimes its difficult for us to pay bills isn’t it let alone pay for any counselling so the $200 will certainly go toward that,” she said.

“The subsidy also allows couples to choose workshops, education programs and they also are encouraged to ask for relationship counselling.”

Ms McKenna said couples do not have to have a specific problem to benefit from relationship support with even the drought impacting on relationships.

“A thing like drought can certainly compound any stresses that are already there,” she said.

“This trial that we’re offering is not only for people who are marrying or pre-marriage, it’s for people who could have been married for 20 years and things are changing.”

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