Daily digest April 23 2015

Missed the news? Read our summary of the latest health stories here

Tailor-made cancer vaccine raises hopes of personal drugs

A cancer vaccine that is tailor-made to work on individual patients has come a step closer following a study showing that a prototype injection causes the complete control of aggressive tumours in laboratory mice.

The therapeutic vaccine works by stimulating the body’s own immune system to identify and attack cancer cells while leaving healthy tissue unharmed.

Scientists at the University of Mainz in Germany said that it could be a blueprint for 'personalised' cancer vaccines targeted against the specific tumour cells of each individual patient and that they have already begun early clinical trials on seven patients suffering from skin cancer.

Read more on the Independent website: click here

NHS unlikely to hit £22bn savings target, says think tank

The NHS is highly unlikely to make the £22 billion of efficiency savings it has agreed and so is likely to need the next government to give it even more than the £8 billion extra a year it has already asked for from the Treasury, the King’s Fund warned on Thursday.

The think tank’s gloomy prognosis is based on a survey of the views of finance directors of hospital trusts and other NHS organisations, a majority of whom voiced deep pessimism about the target.

Last October Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, committed the service to plugging £22 billion of the expected £30 billion gap in its finances by 2020 through productivity gains of 2 per cent or 3 per cent a year between now and 2020. Since then the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have promised to provide the other £8 billion by 2020 from government funds, though Labour has refused to do the same.

Read more on The Guardian website: click here

A cure for asthma within five years

Asthma could be cured within five years after scientists discovered what causes the condition and how to switch it off.

In a breakthrough that could change the lives of Britain’s five million sufferers, researchers at Cardiff University and King's College London identified which cells cause the airways to narrow when triggered by irritants like pollution.

Crucially, drugs already exist which can deactivate the cells. They are known as calcilytics and are used to treat people with osteoporosis.

Read more on the Telegraph website: click here

Obesity 'down to bad diet not lack of exercise'

Being dangerously overweight is all down to bad diet rather than a lack of exercise, according to a trio of doctors who have reopened the debate about whether food, sedentary lifestyles or both are responsible for the obesity epidemic.

In an article for the British Journal of Sports Medicine the authors – who include British cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra, an outspoken critic of the food industry – accuse food and drink firms such as Coca-Cola of having wrongly emphasised how physical activity and sport can help prevent people becoming very overweight.

The truth, they say, is that while physical activity is useful in reducing the risk of developing heart disease, dementia and other conditions, it 'does not promote weight loss'.

Read more on The Guardian website: click here


This is a free article for registered users

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this? You can register for free access.