Baker’s yeast used to discover new ways to tackle the malaria parasite

New anti-malarial drugs could be developed after researchers discovered a new mechanism used by the malaria parasite when it infects humans.

20 January 2016

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Fat disorder’s genetic cause to be researched to help future generations

A chronic condition that causes excessive fat to accumulate in the hips and legs and increases the likelihood of associated health problems will be examined by researchers to find out what genetic defects cause it.

19 January 2016


Simplifying malaria treatment could help children and save nursing time, says new research

One child dies from malaria every 30 seconds in Africa, but a new treatment strategy could help healthcare workers tackle the disease in a simpler way, research has revealed.

18 January 2016

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Overweight young people can avoid diabetes risk if they lose weight early enough, says new research

Obese young people can still turn their chances of developing life threatening illness around if they change before middle age, says new research.

5 January 2016

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Malaria drug as treatment for cancer trial to go ahead but researchers hope for more funds to expand scope

A crowdfunding campaign that will allow researchers at St George’s, University of London, and St George’s Hospital, to investigate the effect of a malaria drug on colorectal cancer, has reached its target but will continue for another 11 days.

9 December 2015

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Researchers to investigate how new physician associates help patients in hospitals

A new study will determine whether new physician associates (PAs), who are increasing being used in the NHS, have a positive impact on the treatment of patients as part of the medical team and have a future role helping fill gaps in healthcare provision.

 

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Dangerous swelling in babies linked to mutated gene

Scientists have discovered a new gene mutation that causes potentially fatal swelling in unborn and newborn babies. Identifying the gene is the first step toward a future diagnostic test and targeted treatment for this condition.

23 September 2015

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New system to detect patients’ antibiotic resistance to take just 30 mins

A new device being developed by medical experts will transform the time it takes to detect antibiotic resistance in patients from several days to just half an hour.

The development will allow doctors to effectively treat patients with infections known to have high levels of antibiotic drug resistance, which has been described as one of the greatest health threats to human health.

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Experts warn the Ebola epidemic could return with a vengeance unless lessons about medical trials are learnt

Health experts have warned that a greater flexibility must be brought to medical trials to combat diseases like Ebola to avoid facing another nightmare outbreak.

Pic credit: Maurizio De Angelis, Wellcome Images

The rapidity and spread of the Ebola outbreak and the urgency of a response led to many challenges not least of which was to advise those managing people on the ground of the best way to treat the illness and which treatments might be effective.

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Smoking at trendy hubble-bubble cafes may increase risk of heart disease, say experts

People who smoke shisha regularly could be increasing the threat of heart disease, according to new research.

Shisha smoking, which is also called hookah or hubble-bubble smoking, is a way of smoking tobacco which is sometimes mixed with flavouring, through a bowl using a hose or tube which has become fashionable in Middle Eastern-style cafes.

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Exercise and the heart: the good, the bad, and the ugly

In a new paper about exercise and the impact on the heart, cardiologist Professor Sanjay Sharma says: "The benefits of exercise are irrefutable. Individuals engaging in regular exercise have a favourable cardiovascular risk profile for coronary artery disease and reduce their risk of myocardial infarction (heart attacks) by 50%."

 

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Experts test new Ebola vaccine on front-line medical personnel and at risk groups after promising results

Experts at St George’s, University of London, are working in collaboration with other international researchers on one of these vaccines called rVSV-ZEBOV-GP. Researchers are now vaccinating a larger population to examine the efficacy of this vaccine.

The initial study, which tested the safety, tolerability and immunogenicity of the vaccine, has been successfully completed, with the first volunteer vaccinated in November 2014. Volunteers in Kenya, Gabon, Geneva and Hamburg participated in this harmonised phase I clinical trial.

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Experts criticise ‘inaccurate’ view that B Vitamins have no role in Alzheimer’s disease prevention

Patients in the very early stages of dementia could miss out on a potentially effective treatment after misleading research was published last year, say medical experts.

The researchers, who claimed that B vitamins were ‘sadly not going to prevent Alzheimer’s disease’ , have been strongly criticised.

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Professor who made paralysed man walk takes St George’s role

Renowned neurologist Professor Geoffrey Raisman has joined St George’s, University of London, as a Visiting Professor and will work with the university and hospital next door to investigate new spinal cord treatments.

Last year the work of Professor Raisman and his colleagues hit the headlines when their pioneering surgery enabled a man who was completely paralysed from the waist down to move his legs. This was the subject of a BBC Panorama programme.  The process involved regrowing the cells of a patient’s severed spinal cord by obtaining olfactory ensheathing cells – specialist cells that form part of the sense of smell – and implanting them in the damaged spinal cord. The olfactory ensheathing cells promote neuronal regeneration and recovery of function. His research has previously used rat models of spinal cord injury.  Geoffrey Raisman, who joined St George's in December 2014, will now work with Marios Papadopoulos, Professor of Neurosurgery at the University’s Cardiovascular and Cells Sciences Institute, to develop olfactory ensheathing cell implantation as a treatment for spinal cord injury in the UK. The investigations will be carried out working closely with colleagues the St George’s Hospital’s Neurosurgery department as the leading centre.

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St George’s in genomes project to fight cancer and rare diseases

Patients in the UK will be the first in the world to participate in an ambitious programme to sequence 100,000 genomes as part of a “paradigm shift” in healthcare focusing on the genetic causes of disease.

The South London-based Genomics Network Alliance has been announced as a successful bidder in the race to become a pioneering Genomic Medicine Centre, as part of the ground-breaking 100,000 Genomes Project.

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Research at St George’s ranked fourth in the UK for global impact

The Research Excellence Framework (REF), a new national assessment of research at UK universities has ranked St George’s, University of London, as fourth for impact of its research on the global community.

The expert panels who carried out the assessment also ranked St George’s joint 42nd in the country overall which is a rise of 24 places from a similar exercise carried out six years ago.

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Drugs used for impotence could treat vascular dementia?

Scientists are to explore whether drugs usually used to treat erectile problems by expanding blood vessels could become the next major way to tackle the dementia epidemic.

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Cheap malaria drug could treat colorectal cancer effectively too, say experts

Medical experts say a common malaria drug could have a significant impact on colorectal cancer providing a cheap adjunct to current expensive chemotherapy.

A pilot study by researchers at St George’s, University of London, has found the drug artesunate, which is a widely used anti-malaria medicine, had a promising effect on reducing the multiplication of tumour cells in colorectal cancer patients who were already going to have their cancer surgically removed.

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Cannabis extract can have dramatic effect on brain cancer, says new research

Experts have shown that when certain parts of cannabis are used to treat cancer tumours alongside radiotherapy treatment the growths can virtually disappear

The new research by specialists at St George’s, University of London, studied the treatment of brain cancer tumours in the laboratory and discovered that the most effective treatment was to combine active chemical components of the cannabis plant which are called cannabinoids.

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Eating breakfast daily may help to prevent early development of diabetes risk in children

Children who eat breakfast daily have a lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes than those who skip it or only eat it occasionally, says new research.

They also found that among children eating breakfast, those who eat a high-fibre breakfast cereal also have lower type 2 diabetes risk profiles, indicated by blood samples revealing insulin resistance, compared to children who eat a breakfast with a lower fibre content.

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Loss of sensation in the feet of diabetes patients linked to cardiovascular disease, say researchers

Experts have discovered that loss of sensation in the feet, a result of diabetes, may be a predictor of cardiovascular events such as heart attack and strokes.

Diabetes, which affects 3.7million people in the UK, can cause damage to a person’s blood vessels and nerves, especially if their blood sugar is poorly controlled, leading to poor circulation and loss of sensation in the feet, known as peripheral neuropathy.

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New research finds a way to predict which HIV patients will respond better to future therapeutic vaccine

A new study suggests that HIV patients with a higher level of a particular biomarker, or a measurable indicator found in the blood, may respond more favourably to an experimentalimmune activating vaccine.

Experts at St George’s, University of London, and Norwegian vaccine company, Bionor Pharma Researchers, believe the findings might lead to a more customised vaccine for certain patients, which potentially might permit them to come off antiretrovirals, drugs used to treat HIV.

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Experts to combat the potential ‘health catastrophe’ of deadly tuberculosis among people with diabetes

New research aims to estimate the benefits of different ways to carry out screening both patients with tuberculosis (TB) for diabetes and the other way around in parts of the world where both diseases are common.

Those who live in urban areas and on low incomes in less well-off countries are especially at risk of developing TB.

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Smoking at trendy hubble-bubble cafes may increase risk of heart disease, say experts

People who smoke shisha regularly could be increasing the threat of heart disease, according to new research.

Shisha smoking, which is also called hookah or hubble-bubble smoking, is a way of smoking tobacco which is sometimes mixed with flavouring, through a bowl using a hose or tube which has become fashionable in Middle Eastern-style cafes.

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Centre to investigate causes of cardiac deaths in young opens

A cardiac research centre which will provide expert opinion and diagnosis about the causes of death in young people throughout the UK, has opened at St George's, University of London.

The Cardiac Centre for Pathology (CCP), funded by the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY), was originally opened in 2007 at Royal Brompton Hospital but transferred to St George's this year alongside the charity’s world-renowned Centre of Inherited Cardiovascular Conditions.

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University pledges openness on animal research

St George’s, University of London endorses the need for transparency in animal research and accordingly has signed the Concordat on Openness on Animal Research in the UK.

This Concordat was developed by Understanding Animal Research (UAR) following extensive consultation with academia, industry, funders and the public.

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New study shows that pre-participation screening guidelines are too restrictive and unfair for black athletes

A new study by researchers at St George’s, University of London published in the journal Circulation has found that current European screening guidelines used by sports organisations to detect heart abnormalities lead to over-investigation and potential false disqualification of black athletes with perfectly healthy hearts. 

To protect the health of young sports people, many sports bodies now recommend or insist that athletes are screened for a number of heart disorders that can lead to sudden death but are easily detectable using an electrocardiogram (ECG) - a test that measures the electrical activity of the heart and detects abnormal heart rhythms. New research has found that the application of new screening criteria could reduce unnecessary investigations and potential disqualifications by around 30%.

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Study shows new drugs can increase the function of good cholesterol particles but may not be enough to reduce heart attacks

Researchers have found a new class of drugs can improve the ability of particles in the blood which can increase so-called ‘good’ cholesterol’s ability to clear away fat from blood vessel walls.

 

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Study shows patients with a deadly condition more likely to die in UK hospital than in the USA

Researchers have found that patients in the USA who suffer from a ruptured aortic aneurysm which is a catastrophic bleeding from a diseased weakening of the body’s largest artery are 13 per cent less likely to die than those in the UK.

They also found they also found that patients in both countries stood a better chance of undergoing surgery, and therefore survival, if they were treated on a weekday.

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Deaths report reflects growing impact of lethal ‘legal highs’

The deadly risk of so-called ‘legal highs’ and other designer drugs, such as the notorious ‘meow meow’, has been confirmed by a huge leap in their links to drug-related deaths in the UK.

One expert described experimentation with such drugs as ‘dancing in a minefield’.‘Meow meow’, officially known as mephedrone and now illegal, is just one of a group of drugs called Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS),  which also includes the amphetamine-like substances Benzo Fury and PMA, amongst others.According to data published in the National Programme on Substance Abuse Deaths (NPSAD) report, compiled by experts at St George’s, University of London, NPS are now linked to more drug-related deaths than ever before.The prevalence of these drugs in the post mortem toxicology tests submitted to the report has increased 800% in three years, from 12 in 2009 to 97 in 2012.The number of cases where NPS were identified as the cause of death rose by almost 600% during the same period – from 10 deaths in 2009 to 68 in 2012.In many cases traces of multiple NPS were found, suggesting that drug users are experimenting with combinations of these drugs, as well as alcohol in some cases.These drugs have undergone little or no human testing so their health effects are virtually unknown.Professor Fabrizio Schifano, spokesman for NPSAD, said: “We have observed an increase in the number and range of these drugs in the post mortem toxicology results and in the cause of death of cases notified to us.“These include amphetamine-type substances, dietary supplements, ketamine derivatives, among a host of others.“The worrying trend is that these type of drugs are showing up more than ever before. Clearly this is a major public health concern and we must continue to monitor this worrying development.“Those experimenting with such substances are effectively dancing in a minefield.”The report also indicates an increase in the proportion of deaths involving stimulants such as cocaine and ecstasy-type drugs, following a decline in 2009 and stabilisation in 2010.In total, the number of drug-related deaths reported to the NPSAD during 2012 was 1,613.Opiates/opioids such as heroin and morphine, alone or in combination with other drugs continued to account for the highest proportion (36%) of reported drug-related deaths in 2012, a 4% increase compared to 2011  - a reversal of the decline in such deaths observed in recent years.Regional Highlights:Hammersmith one of worst areas in UK for drug-related deaths, says reportNew figures reveal that Hammersmith and Fulham recorded one of the highest drug-related death rates across the country in 2012 with 11.34 deaths per 100,000 population.Only Liverpool (12.57) and Blackburn with Darwen (11.45) were higher.The type of drugs related to deaths in London also drew a strong contrast to some other parts of England. As in 2011, London had the highest proportion of cocaine-related deaths in the country (15.2%), contrasting greatly with other regions, such as the Midlands and East of England where cocaine was implicated in just 3.4% of drug-related deaths.However, it is important to note that when taking into account absolute figures, Liverpool alone had more deaths involving cocaine, which was 20, than the whole of the following regions: Midlands and East of England; London; and the South of England.Liverpool overtakes Manchester with highest rates of drug-related deaths in the North West, reveals new reportThe number of drugs-related deaths in Liverpool has risen above those in Manchester for the first time since 2006 according to a new study.For the first time in over five years there were more drug-related deaths in Liverpool, which saw 49 such cases, compared to Manchester with 36.The report, compiled by researchers at St George’s, University of London, also found that Liverpool alone had more deaths linked to cocaine than the whole of the Midlands and East of England region, London and the South of England.Drugs deaths in Northern Ireland buck wider UK trend of lethal heroin useDeaths related to drugs in Northern Ireland show a marked difference from the rest of the UK as fatalities are mostly linked to prescription drugs, says a new report.Whereas the vast majority of drug-related deaths in the UK are linked to opiates such as heroin and morphine, in the province most relate to other drugs.The new research from St George’s, University of London, also shows a small decrease in the overall number of drug-related deaths in Northern Ireland. There were 78 such deaths in 2012 as opposed to 82 in 2011.Northern Ireland contrasts the rest of the UK with higher proportions of deaths attributed to drugs such as tramadol, benzodiazepines and anti-depressants. Northern Ireland also displayed a substantially lower proportion of deaths attributed to heroin/morphine and methadone than other regions of the UK, such as the South of England, the midlands and London.

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New £1.2m project launched to speed up introduction of drugs

Researchers at St George’s, University of London will help build a £1.2m data system which will develop ways to quickly identify patients best suited to clinical trials.

The Semantic Data Platform for Healthcare Project (SEMCARE), will help build a data system that will improve how vital data from pioneering clinical trials is used, allowing patients quicker access to new drugs and treatments. The project will determine which volunteers are best suited to a given trial by using clinical criteria such as: age, gender, diagnosis, symptoms and lab results.