Cancer treatment for MS patients gives 'remarkable' results

  • 18 January 2016
  • From the section Health
Media captionBBC team follows MS patient Steven Storey's progress after the new treatment

UK doctors in Sheffield say patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) are showing "remarkable" improvements after receiving a treatment usually used for cancer.

About 20 patients have received bone marrow transplants using their own stem cells. Some patients who were paralysed have been able to walk again.

Prof Basil Sharrack, of Sheffield's Royal Hallamshire Hospital, said: "To have a treatment which can potentially reverse disability is really a major achievement."

Around 100,000 people in the UK have MS, an incurable neurological condition. Most patients are diagnosed in their 20s and 30s.

The disease causes the immune system to attack the lining of nerves in the brain and spinal cord.

Image caption An MS patient's stem cells being removed from the freezer prior to transplant

Immune system 'rebooted'

Read full article Cancer treatment for MS patients gives 'remarkable' results

Gene editing treats disease in mice

  • 1 January 2016
  • From the section Health
DNA sample to be tested for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Image copyright Science Photo Library
Image caption Muscle strength in the legs of mice was improved when researchers used the gene editing therapy

Researchers in the US have used gene editing to treat mice with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

A team at Duke University used a system known as CRISPR-Cas9 to delete DNA that was preventing cells from producing a protein essential for muscle function.

Read full article Gene editing treats disease in mice

GM insect trials urged for UK

  • 17 December 2015
  • From the section Health
Diamondback moth Image copyright Oxitec
Image caption Diamondback moths are not a threat to human health but do destroy crops

The government should launch a field trial of genetically modified insects, according to a House of Lords report.

The Lords Science and Technology Committee says GM could make insects unable to transmit diseases such as dengue and malaria.

Read full article GM insect trials urged for UK

Gene editing: Is era of designer humans getting closer?

  • 3 December 2015
  • From the section Health
gene editing graphic Image copyright SPL

An international meeting of leading scientists has said it would be "irresponsible" to allow the creation of genetically altered humans.

But they said basic research involving embryo gene editing should continue in order to improve understanding of human biology.

Read full article Gene editing: Is era of designer humans getting closer?

The promise of gene editing

  • 1 December 2015
  • From the section Health
Sohana and her mum Sharmila
Image caption Sohana and her mum Sharmila

Sharmila Nikapota, the mother of a child with a rare genetic disorder, has high hopes for gene editing.

"For us this technology holds the unimaginable dream of a cure," she says.

Read full article The promise of gene editing

Rapid tests 'would cut antibiotic use'

  • 23 October 2015
  • From the section Health
Pills Image copyright Thinkstock

Rapid diagnostic tests are urgently needed to help doctors know which patients need antibiotics, a report says.

The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance calls for tests to indentify viral and bacterial infections.

Read full article Rapid tests 'would cut antibiotic use'

Air pollution: invisible health threat

  • 6 October 2015
  • From the section Health
Walking, cycling and driving
Image caption Walking, cycling and driving - you can see one of the air pollution monitors on my belt

How safe is the air that we breathe? The VW diesel emissions scandal has highlighted the issue of air pollution.

The two pollutants which give most cause for concern are the toxic gas nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM2.5), particles so small they can be ingested deep into the lungs.

Read full article Air pollution: invisible health threat

Stem cell trial aims to cure blindness

  • 29 September 2015
  • From the section Health
Media captionWhat causes age-related macular degeneration?

Surgeons in London have carried out a pioneering human embryonic stem cell operation in an ongoing trial to find a cure for blindness for many patients.

The procedure was performed on a woman aged 60 at Moorfields Eye Hospital.

Read full article Stem cell trial aims to cure blindness

Nigeria reaches polio 'milestone'

  • 25 September 2015
  • From the section Health
polio vaccination Image copyright WHO/T.Moran
Image caption Nigeria will need three years without polio cases to be declared free of the disease

Nigeria has been removed from the list of polio endemic countries in what is being regarded as a "milestone" on the quest to eradicate the disease.

The announcement by the World Health Organization (WHO), was made at a meeting of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) in New York.

Read full article Nigeria reaches polio 'milestone'

'I don't fear death'

  • 10 September 2015
  • From the section Health
Adrian and Christine Small Image copyright FERGUS WALSH/BBC
Image caption Adrian and Christine Small at Thames Hospice in Windsor

"I don't fear death" says Adrian Small.

The 68 year old has terminal pancreatic cancer.

Read full article 'I don't fear death'