Heroes of Old Treatment

As part of World Hepatitis Day, people all over the world were encouraged to investigate the new treatments now available for hepatitis C. These treatments are more effective, faster, easier to take and with much smaller side-effects than the treatments which were used up until early 2016.

However, all the excitement about the new treatments has obscured one thing: just how much hardship people had to go through before this year to treat their hepatitis C—hardship that quite frequently didn’t even end up in the virus being cleared.

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Hollywood Home Tattoos: The Dangers

Commercially successful but critically despised superhero movie Suicide Squad has certainly been effective at generating publicity for itself (perhaps unsurprising in a film that was re-edited by a movie trailer company in a last-minute salvage attempt).

Among the many attempts to get people talking about it was a peculiar social media campaign in which several of the movie’s stars took up careers as amateur tattoo artists, branding each other and members of the crew with toe-faces or misspelled words so that they could always remember being involved in the making of a film that scored 26% at Rotten Tomatoes.

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Clinical Trials Find Home at New RAH

Minister for Health, Jack Snelling, has confirmed today that most researchers undertaking existing clinical trials as well as new trials being planned, will be housed within the new Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH).

“Face to face patient consultations will continue to occur within the outpatient, inpatient or day treatment areas, as they do at the current RAH,” he said.

In addition, the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) will accommodate some cancer and cardiology researchers, whose work aligns with the existing SAHMRI “research pillars”

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New RAH Will Accommodate Clinical Trials – Health Minister

Research and clinical trials directly involving patients will have access to clinical settings and flexible workspaces at the new Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH), according to Minister for Health, Jack Snelling.

The Minister was responding to a letter from Hepatitis SA Executive Officer, Kerry Paterson, expressing concern over lack of space for clinical trials at the new RAH.

In a letter dated 22 August, he said work was “underway to ensure that research and clinical trials groups operating at the current RAH will be relocated to the new RAH, or to appropriate accommodation within the South Australian Health and Biomedical Precinct“.

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You Can Save a Life for $25

Wednesday, 31 August is International Overdose Awareness Day, and the timing is sadly relevant for South Australians.

The South Australian government has issued a public health warning following the tragic drug overdose deaths of 10 South Australians in recent weeks.

Eight of the deaths were due to heroin use, while the other two cases are linked to the use of fentanyl, an extremely potent synthetic painkiller (which has recently been trialled by the Women’s & Children’s Hospital for use by women in labour). The recent overdose deaths involved people aged between 31 and 56 years old.

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Will South Australians Miss Out on Future Cures?

It is a rare thing that a cure can be found for a chronic disease.

Yet such a thing did happen recently with the revolution in treatments for hepatitis C. The new Direct-Acting Antiviral medicines could cure over 90 per cent of those treated, in 8 to 24 weeks with minimal side effects. Compare this to previous treatment regimens of 24 to 48 weeks, often with severe side effects, and cure rates of only 50 to 80 per cent.

Such breakthroughs would not have been possible without concerted, meticulous research and coordinated clinical trials around the world. So it is disappointing to hear (see media report and  AMA article) that South Australia’s brand new state-of-the-art Royal Adelaide Hospital, will have no room for clinical trials.

It is believed that at best, only 15 per cent of the 350 current trials currently underway will be accommodated at the new RAH.

Leading medical experts and community organisations have voiced their concern over this lack of provision.

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