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Gene therapy offers hope for those with paralysis

Researchers at King’s College London (KCL) have made significant progress to being able to offer a treatment to those with paralysis due to spinal injuries.

The treatment is still in the early stages of testing, after the gene therapy was administered to rats, but offered significant hope as it saw the subjects able to use their front paws again.

The gene therapy works by delivering a gene that promotes the production of an enzyme called chondroitinase directly into the spine.

Danger of Sanofi’s dengue vaccine confirmed in new study

A study that thoroughly analyses the impact of Sanofi’s dengue vaccine has confirmed what was feared – children without prior exposure to dengue had an increased risk of hospitalisation and the development of severe dengue.

UK immigration rules to be waived to bring in more doctors

The NHS’ recruitment crisis has been on-going for a number of years, with an ageing population and a higher workload meaning that service struggles to retain and recruit more staff.

One of the major barriers that has prevented the NHS being able to go some way in plugging workforce gaps is the current regulation capping non-EU skilled workers to just 20,700 people per year.

The Government introduced the cap in an attempt to meet the self-imposed target of reducing immigration to below 100,000.

Report highlights that half of women in science face harassment

Arriving at a particularly low point for the reputation of the biotech, after STAT revealed that a party at BIO International Convention had employed topless dancers adorned with the logos of sponsors, there has emerged a report detailing the pervasive abuse women in science face.

Broken down into bare statistics, the report found that 20% of female science students, 25% of female engineering students and 40% of female medical students had experience some form of harassment.

Vaccination rates in parts of US fall to dangerous levels

The anti-vaxxer movement is the scourge of meticulously researched science and yet, in certain states in the US, it seems to be gaining ground.

A recent study published in PLOS Medicine discovered that, of the 18 US states that permit non-medical exemptions (NME) from childhood vaccination, 12 displayed increasing rates of non-vaccination.

J&J continues to shed assets, with $2.1bn diabetes unit sale

Just last week, Johnson & Johnson announced that it had received an offer from Fortive for its medical sterilisation unit, potentially bringing in $2.8 billion. It has now revealed that it has accepted a $2.1 billion offer for LifeScan from Platinum Equity.

J&J actually received the first offer back in March and were given a deadline of mid-June to decide whether to accept the offer.

Investors stump up cash for anti-ageing start-up

Defeating the ageing process is a pie-in-the-sky idea that has resulted, so far, in a rich vein of parody rather than genuine medical advancement – see Silicon Valley’s lampooning of the blood transfusions offered by certain companies, purportedly, to delay ageing.

One Isle-of-Man-based start-up, however, has managed to raise $50 million on the back of the portfolio of prospects it holds in the space.

Brexit negotiations: Is the public’s health a priority?

Published on 12/06/18 at 10:22am

The Brexit decision has created a huge amount of question marks for many industries and each is vying with each other for the ear of the UK Government. Ben Hargreaves states the case that, for the public’s health, the healthcare and life science industries should be at the front of the queue.

Research casts doubts over CRISPR safety

Research emerging from two studies, published in same issue of Nature, has raised significant questions over just how safe CRISPR technology, after it was suggested that it may increase risk of cancer developing.

The research emerged from Cambridge University and the Karolinska Institute, as well as one paper produced by Novartis, with both groups suggesting that CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing may bring into action one key gene, p53.

Another failure in Alzheimer’s creates bleak outlook for treatment

Finding a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease has been one of the aims of big pharma for last few decades, but research in the area has failed to provide the breakthrough that many were hoping for.

With no current treatment available to hinder the progress of Alzheimer’s, any potential success in the area could reap billions in sales. This is why all the big pharma companies have at least dipped their toes into research in the area but have all been met with drug candidate failures.

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