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Advances in cancer diagnosis and the Paterson Inquiry – this week’s Friday Five

Third person in the UK catches Coronavirus

Another case of coronavirus infection has been confirmed in the UK.

The patient was diagnosed with the infection in Brighton and was transferred to a specialist infectious diseases unit at Royal Free Hospital in North London.

It has been confirmed that the patient did not catch the virus in the UK, nor in mainland China, but from a country elsewhere in Asia.

Read more in the BBC News.

Hope for HIV vaccine crushed by trial failure

A trial testing an experimental vaccine against HIV on more than 5,000 people in South Africa has been stopped after it was found that it did not prevent HIV.

Despite the results, the search for a preventative HIV vaccine will continue.

NHS England and NHS Improvement London have announced an ambition to become the first city in the world to stop new HIV infections and make preventable deaths from HIV a thing of the past.

Read more in the BBC News and The PharmaTimes.

Signs of cancer can appear long before diagnosis

A landmark study investigating genetic mutations suggests that tests could detect cancer earlier.

The findings, based on samples from more than 2,500 tumours and 38 cancer types, revealed that signs of cancer can appear years or even decades before diagnosis.

The work was carried out as part of the Pan-Cancer Analysis of Whole Genomes project, the most comprehensive study of cancer genetics to date.

Read more in The Guardian.

Ian Paterson subjected more than 1,000 patients to needless operations

An independent inquiry into the breast surgeon Ian Paterson found that more than 1,000 patients were subjected to unnecessary and damaging operations over 14 years before he was stopped.

Paterson was able to perform harmful surgery on patients in NHS and private hospitals because of “a culture of avoidance and denial” in a “dysfunctional” healthcare system where there was “wilful blindness” to his behaviour.

The surgeon is now serving a 20-year jail sentence imposed in 2017 for wounding with intent.

ZPB’s, Managing Partner and Director of Insight & Strategy, Alex Kafetz, shared his reflections of the inquiry in the Health Service Journal and addressed why the transparency of information available to patients is vital to prevent a scandal like this occurring again. 



Quote of the week

Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt urged his successor to find a way to ensure patients can access a high cost drug for the rare disease phenylketonuria:

“One of the most difficult challenges for the health secretaries of all parties is meeting people who are denied access to a medicine that is not available on the NHS. He did that with the Orkambi families just before the election and did a brilliant job in securing access to that medicine which will transform the lives of many, many families. I hope he will now use the same magic to get access to Kuvan…”


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