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Age reversal in dogs, blood donor heroes, and Charles Dickens’ contribution to medicine &#8211

Cost of NHS drugs may rise following trade talks with the US, threatens Trump

Trump is threatening to follow through on one of his key campaign promises – lowering the cost of drugs for Americans by forcing other countries around the world to pay more. The President of the United States has claimed that other countries are ‘freeloading’ by paying discounted rates on drugs for which Americans are paying higher rates. This has been disputed by several experts, including Nigel Edwards, Chief Executive of the Nuffield Trust, who said that the disparity was due to ‘high drugs pricing, rather than one side of the Atlantic subsidising the other”.

Read more in  The Telegraph.


Millions of babies in Australia saved by single blood donor

James Harrison’s life was saved by blood donors after he had to undergo surgery as a teenager – and this was a debt he has dedicated his life to repaying through regular donations of his own blood. In the 1960s, Harrison’s blood was found to contain a rare antibody that helps to combat haemolytic disease, which can be fatal for babies and foetuses. Now at the age of 81 and after having donated his blood 1173 times, James Harrison is estimated to have saved the lives of more than two million babies.

Read more in The New York Times.


Ageing in dogs could be reversed thanks to pioneering work by a Harvard start-up – and humans could be next.

Rejuvenate Bio, a synthetic biology start-up founded by George Church of Harvard Medical School, is developing plans to extend the lifespans of dogs and eventually humans. This is being trialled using gene therapy and a therapy called ‘CRISPR’ (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats). The process works by ‘reprograming’ cells in the body to revert to a more youthful state. If the process is successful in dogs; the start-up will look at introducing the treatment to humans.

Read more in the Technology Review.


Exhibition in London to display Charles Dicken’s extensive contribution to medicine.

A new exhibition at the Charles Dickens Museum in London is to highlight the influence that the Victorian author and social campaigner has had upon medicine. In several of his works, Dickens described conditions that had not yet been medically recognised. His descriptions were so detailed that they have been used to help doctors understand ‘the relationship between symptoms and disease’ and have also been used in teaching diagnosis.

Read more in The Guardian.


Recruitment drive fails to prevent over 1,000 doctors leaving the NHS

Despite efforts by the Department of Health and Social Care to recruit 5,000 doctors into the NHS, GPs are continuing to leave the health service. Figures published early this week show that the number of GPs has decreased from this time last year by just over 1,000.  Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, expressed alarm over the figures and called for urgent action to address the recruitment and retention problem, saying “it is clear that substantial efforts to increase the GP workforce in England are falling short.”

Read more in The Times (£).


Quote of the week

Jessica Morris, of OurBrainBank, on her own brain cancer and the passing of Tessa Jowell:

“Tessa Jowell died during May, which happens to be brain tumour awareness month. Our colour is grey. It’s strangely apt. Because what we need to crack glioblastoma is to use our grey cells to think creatively and empathetically – patient and doctor alike. That’s the kind of approach she espoused. She put it the best: “I hope always my politics are the politics of aspiration, ambition, possibility and the future.”

Read more in The Guardian.

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