Friday Five

Coronavirus concerns, a dark side to digital and a universal cancer cure – it’s Friday Five!

Immune discovery could lead to ‘one-size-fits-all’ cancer treatment

A newly discovered immune cell could be harnessed to treat all cancers, new findings show.

Researchers at Cardiff University have identified a single type of T-cell that could be capable of destroying many different types of cancers, but At least one clinical director has stood down in protest.

T-cell cancer therapies, including as CAR-T cell therapy, are the latest paradigm in cancer treatments and are typically only suitable for certain types of cancers. This one is different in that the cells can attack a wide range of cancers.

Prof Andrew Sewell, the lead author on the study from Cardiff University, said; “There’s a chance here to treat every patient. Previously nobody believed this could be possible.”

Read more on BBC News.

Coronavirus cancels Chinese New Year celebrations

Beijing announced today that several major Chinese New Year events will be cancelled to control the spread of the killer coronavirus.

The new type of Coronavirus, which first emerged 14 days ago in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has been confirmed in more than 500 people and has now killed 18.

The virus has spread across China’s Hubei province and has now been reported in Singapore, Vietnam and Korea. Lockdown measures being put in place to try to control the spread of a new virus.

Read more on BBC News.

England’s poorest get worst NHS care

England’s poorest people get worse NHS care than its wealthiest citizens, including longer waiting for A&E treatment and worse experience of GP services, a study shows.

The study by the Nuffield Trust and Health Foundation found that 14.3% of England’s poorest had to wait more than four hours in A&E in 2017-18, compared with 12.8% of the wealthiest.

The findings sparked concern because they show that poorer people’s health risks being compounded by poorer access to NHS care.

“Poverty is bad for your health, and people in the poorest parts of England face a vicious cycle,” said Ruth Thorlby, a co-author and assistant director of policy at the Health Foundation.

Read more in The Guardian.

Weak antibiotic pipeline increases AMR threat

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed that the lack of innovation in antibiotic development and declining private investments and are hindering efforts to combat drug-resistant infections.

New reports have shown that research and development for antibiotics is primarily driven by small or medium sized enterprises and large pharmaceutical companies are continuing to exit the field.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO said: “Never has the threat of antimicrobial resistance been more immediate and the need for solutions more urgent.”

Read more in the PharmaTimes.


Quote of the week

In her blog on the BMJ, Ilona Kickbusch asks whether we look deeply enough at the impact of the digital transformation on our health and life.

“Social scientists warn of a new phase of the organisation of health and medical knowledge which will be tailored to data extraction and will allow for a new structure of power over individuals if the right political choices are not made”

Read more at the BMJ.