EMEA Health and Science Correspondent
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Sep 29, 2013

Roche immunotherapy drug may be ‘game changer’ in lung cancer

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – An experimental Roche drug that seems to work particularly well against lung cancer in smokers may be a “game changer” for these normally difficult-to-treat patients, researchers said on Sunday.

Presenting detailed data from an early-stage trial of the drug, called MPDL3280A, in patients with a form of the disease called non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), investigators said what they had found was “great news for lung cancer patients”.

Sep 28, 2013

Europe should shift focus to bowel cancer screening to save lives: scientists

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – European governments should divert funds to routine bowel cancer tests from less effective breast and prostate screening programs, scientists said on Saturday, presenting what they called “irrefutable” evidence that bowel screening saves lives.

Many governments devote significant funds to breast cancer screening, but studies in recent years have found that routine breast mammograms can also lead to so-called “over-diagnosis” when tests pick up tumors that would not have caused a problem.

Sep 27, 2013

Immune drugs hold hope of “clinical cure” for deadly skin cancer

AMSTERDAM, Sept 27 (Reuters) – A new generation of drugs
designed to trigger the immune system to fight cancer is
offering the prospect of a “clinical cure” for some melanoma
skin cancer patients who until a few years ago were more likely
to be facing a swift death.

Cancer specialists gathering for a European conference at
the weekend said the so-called immunotherapy drugs, a class led
by Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Yervoy, or ipilimumab, have
transformed an area of oncology in which until recently doctors
barely had time to get to know their patients.

Sep 23, 2013

United Nations reports ‘dramatic’ progress in fight against AIDS

LONDON (Reuters) – The global rate of HIV infection and the number of AIDS-related deaths have been dramatically reduced, thanks to expanding access to treatment, the United Nations said in a report issued on Monday.

In its annual update on HIV, which it said now infects around 35.3 million people worldwide, UNAIDS said deaths from AIDS and HIV infection rates were falling, while the number of people getting treatment is going up.

Sep 23, 2013

“Disgustologist” digs deep into science of revulsion

LONDON (Reuters) – Valerie Curtis is fascinated by faeces. And by vomit, pus, urine, maggots and putrid flesh. It is not the oozing, reeking substances themselves that play on her mind, but our response to them and what it can teach us.

The doctor of anthropology and expert on hygiene and behaviour says disgust governs our lives – dictating what we eat, wear, buy, and even how we vote and who we desire.

Sep 19, 2013

Gene sequences of deadly Saudi virus show complex transmission

LONDON (Reuters) – Genetic analysis of samples of the deadly MERS virus that has killed 58 people in the Middle East and Europe shows the disease has jumped from animals to humans several times, scientists said on Friday.

At least 132 people have been infected with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus since it emerged about a year ago, and it has killed 58 of them, according to the World Health Organisation.

Sep 18, 2013

Gene discovery could lead to new types of HIV treatments

LONDON (Reuters) – Scientists have identified a gene which they say may have the ability to prevent HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, from spreading after it enters the body.

In an early-stage study in the journal Nature, researchers said the gene, called MX2, appears to play a key role in how HIV is controlled in human cells, so using it could lead to the development of new, less toxic treatments that harness the body’s natural defenses and mobilize them against the virus.

Sep 12, 2013

Nuclear plants don’t raise child leukaemia risk: study

LONDON (Reuters) – Despite fears to the contrary, children who live near nuclear power plants have no greater risk of developing leukaemia or a type of cancer known as non-Hodgkin lymphoma, according to a large British study published on Friday.

Researchers who studied some 10,000 children aged under 5 and analyzed birth records for nearly every case of childhood leukaemia in Britain from 1962 to 2007 found no apparent extra risk from living near an atomic power station.

Sep 12, 2013

Global Fund seeks $15 billion to control three big killers

LONDON, Sept 12 (Reuters) – The world’s biggest funder of
the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria said on
Thursday it needs $15 billion over the next three years to begin
bringing “the three big global pandemics” under control.

In a report released ahead of a pledging conference later
this year, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria said
timely investments could avert $47 billion in extra treatment
costs and save millions of lives, but warned that acting too
late would mean missing important opportunities.

Sep 12, 2013

Huge tobacco use in India seen killing 1.5 million a year

LONDON (Reuters) – Tobacco inflicts huge damage on the health of India’s people and could be clocking up a death toll of 1.5 million a year by 2020 if more users are not persuaded to kick the habit, an international report said on Thursday.

Despite having signed up to a global treaty on tobacco control and having numerous anti-tobacco and smoke-free laws, India is failing to implement them effectively, leaving its people vulnerable to addiction and ill health, according to the report by the International Tobacco Control Project (ITCP).

    • About Kate

      "I cover health and science news for the region of Europe, Middle East and Africa -- from flu pandemics to the newest planetary discovery to the latest drug and research developments. I joined Reuters in 1993 and worked in London, Amsterdam and Frankfurt before moving to BBC television to work on European politics for Newsnight for 2 years. Since returning to Reuters, I have also worked as a parliamentary correspondent in Westminster and on the main news desk of the London bureau."
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