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'Geordie cancer drug' could save thousands of lives

It's known as the Geordie cancer drug and has been hailed as one of the most important new medicines in cancer research.

Developed by scientists in Newcastle, Rucaparib is being tried on patients across the North East

It is one of many potential medications being tested at the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre.

Our Health Correspondent Frances Read has this report.


Could you take part in a clinical trial to save lives?

People who want to find out more about taking part in clinical trials are invited to Freeman Hospital in Newcastle today as part of an event to mark International Clinical Trials Day.

Interactive demonstrations and tests, including a taste test, will be held to highlight the importance of the trials.

Clinical trial, while safe, are a vital part of the process used by scientists and doctors to find cures and treatments for a vast range of diseases and conditions.

North East study gives new hope to liver patients

Newcastle University is leading the world's largest study into liver disease.

The four year programme is being funded by 6 million euros (£4.3m) from the European Commission. It will focus on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which is caused by a build-up of fat in the liver cells.

There is currently no medical treatment for the life threatening illness. It affects nearly a quarter of the European population. Those with type 2 diabetes or overweight at most at risk.

This is Dr Quentin Anstee, the project co-ordinator:


Co Durham children in hospital after contracting E. coli

Four children who attend the same nursery in County Durham are being treated for E. coli.

Two children who attend the Kirklands Day Nursery in Barnard Castle are being cared for in hospital while the other two are being looked after at home. A fifth child with symptoms is being tested.

The nursery has been closed as a precaution and will open again once health authorities have given the all clear.

The source of the infection is not yet known.

Tiny heart monitors bring big benefits for patients

Consultant Cardiologist Dr Mickey Jachuck, holding the old-style implant, and patient Gary Koomson, with the new one which he has had implanted.

Miniaturised cardiac monitors are being implanted in patients at South Tyneside District Hospital.

The monitors, which are about one-third the size of an AAA battery, are nearly 90% smaller than conventional, implantable devices.

They are used for assessing patients with symptoms of dizziness, blackouts or palpitations, which could be signs of disturbances in heart rhythm that may require treatment.

For patients at high risk of having heart problems, the device also has the benefit of offering remote monitoring, allowing for any potential abnormalities to be detected immediately by automatically transmitting information wirelessly to the cardiology team.

Whilst many of the causes for common symptoms are benign, it is important to establish the reason behind them. This is often difficult as the symptoms can occur infrequently and are unpredictable so the ability to monitor the heart continuously, for anything up to two to three years, is extremely helpful in terms of making a diagnosis or reassuring the patient that their heart rhythm is normal.”

– Consultant Cardiologist Dr Mickey Jachuck. South Tyneside Hospital

South Shields father-of-four Gary Koomson was among the first patients to have the new monitor implanted at South Tyneside.

Mr Koomson has a form of the heart muscle disease cardiomyopathy,

I think it’s great: the procedure to implant it was painless and it only took about 10 minutes. It gives me peace of mind because I know that if there any heart irregularities, the doctors will automatically know about it.”

– Gary Koomson

The new Medtronic monitors are implanted in the chest, just under the skin, using local anaesthetic.

The simple procedure takes only a few minutes and the incision measures less than 1cm.

No antibiotics are needed and only a sterile dressing is required to cover the wound.

Previously, implantation of cardiac monitoring devices at South Tyneside District Hospital required a minor surgical procedure, performed in an operating theatre, with antibiotics given intravenously beforehand and the wound, measuring 2cm-3cm, closed with stitches.

GP surgeries in Gateshead rated as inadequate

Rowlands Gill Medical Centre is one of two GP surgeries in Gateshead to be rated as inadequate. Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

Two GP surgeries in Gateshead have been rated as inadequate by the Care Quality Commission.

Dr Syed Masroor Imam and Rowlands Gill Medical Centre have been given the lowest possible rating and could now be placed in special measures.

"If we find a practice to be Inadequate, we will normally put it into special measures, to allow the practice to access support available from NHS England and to ensure there is coordinated response to help the practice improve."

– Care Quality Commission

Under the commissions new programme of inspections all of England's GP practices are being given a rating according to whether they are safe, effective, caring, responsive and well led.

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