Entries in Scotland (4)


Experimental Stem Cell Therapy May Help Treat Burn Victims

Cytori Therapeutics, Inc(GLASGOW, Scotland) -- For more than 40 years, Lesley Kelly of Glasgow, Scotland, lived with third-degree burns that stretched over 60 percent of her body.

Kelly was 2 years old when she fell into a bathtub filled with hot water that scorched most of the right side of her body. She lost full range of motion around many of her joints.

"When you have bad scarring, the buildup is very thick and has no elasticity," said Kelly, 45, whose right elbow was most affected by the buildup of scar tissue. "The problem with thermal burn scarring [is that] it's hard to get the range of motion."

Kelly underwent numerous reparative surgeries through the years, but the scar tissue continued to grow back. The procedures did not lessen the look of her scars.

In 2011, Kelly underwent a new, experimental procedure that used stem cells from her own fat tissue to repair the buildup around her right elbow.

Surgeons cleaned the scar buildup around the elbow and used liposuction to pull fat from off Kelly's waist. They separated the fat cells from the stem and regenerative cells, which were then injected into the wound on Kelly's arm. The procedure took less than two hours.

Within months, Kelly was able to regain 40 degrees of motion that she had lost more than 40 years ago.

"If this technology was available earlier in my life, my scars would not have been as bad," said Kelly.

There are an estimated 50,000 to 70,000 burn cases each year in the U.S., according to the American Burn Association.

The stem cell therapy, approved in the U.K. to treat soft tissue wounds, is now gaining traction in the U.S.

Cytori Therapeutics, Inc., the biotechnology company that created the therapy, has been awarded a $4.7 million U.S. government contract to further develop the stem-cell treatment for thermal or radioactive burns.

The two-year contract with the Department of Health and Human Service's Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority supports preclinical and clinical research of the therapy. If certain endpoints are met, the contract could get extended and be worth $106 million, according to Cytori.

While still in its early development phases, one goal of the therapy is to be able to treat many burn victims following a "mass casualty event," according to a public statement by Cytori.

The new therapy may have the potential to treat thousands of U.S. service members who have been injured by bombs.

For the first two years, the research will evaluate the therapy in animals before it can be tested clinically in humans.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Mass Lung Cancer Screening Starts in Scotland

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Thousands of smokers in Scotland, which has one of the highest lung cancer rates in the world, will soon undergo blood tests that could identify early-stage lung cancer.  The trial project is part of the Scottish government’s Detect Cancer Early program.

The test determines the levels of certain antibodies in the blood, which may increase when lung cancer develops.  People with elevated antibody levels will be sent for a CT scan to determine whether they have cancer.

According to the Scottish government’s web site, around 10,000 smokers identified as being at higher risk for lung cancer will participate in the screening project.

There are nearly 5,000 people diagnosed with lung cancer in Scotland every year, twice the rate of the entire United Kingdom, said Scotland’s health secretary, Nicola Sturgeon.

“If the disease is diagnosed early patients have a 60 percent chance of survival, but if the cancer is well advanced the survival rate drops to just one percent,” Sturgeon said.

Officials say the goal of the Detect Cancer Early program is to increase the rate of early cancer detection by 25 percent.

Dr. Edgardo Santos, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Miami Sylvester Cancer Center said while it’s unclear whether the screening program will be successful, he applauds the Scottish government’s effort.

“We don’t currently have any standard blood screening for cancer.  There are a lot of things we do in terms of screening for lung cancer -- like getting images of the lungs to see if there’s cancer or using exhaled gas analysis -- but nothing has really been very efficacious so far,” he said.  “Lung cancer has a very high cancer mortality rate and screening has tremendous value, but it’s very difficult to get effective tests developed.”

Blood testing will start later this year and continue over the next four years across Scotland.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


After Smoking, Obesity Next in Causing Death and Health Inequalities

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(GLASGOW, Scotland) -- Multiple studies have identified smoking as one of the major contributors to premature death and health inequalities among people of lower socioeconomic status.  So if smoking was eliminated from the equation, would health inequalities disappear?  This is the question addressed by the authors of a University of Glasgow study, albeit in a population of Scottish women.
The authors analyzed medical information of over 3,600 Scottish women who never smoked, based on their occupational status as a measure of socioeconomic level, and their weight.  They reported in the British Medical Journal that over the 28-year period of the study, differences in death rates and health inequalities were still present.  Women in lower occupational classes were about 30 percent more likely to die of cardiovascular diseases than women in higher classes, and the increased death rate could mostly be explained by differences in obesity, blood pressure and lung function.  

Even though obesity was more prevalent among non-smoking women of lower socioeconomic levels, rates of obesity among all non-smokers were higher than among smokers.  The authors think that since smoking rates among women were higher 35 years ago, smoking may have concealed the true extent of obesity and its negative health effects in women.  They go so far as to suggest that the decline in smoking in the past few decades may have contributed to the increase in overweight or obese people.
It’s important to point out that the authors are not advocating smoking, and Dr. Mackenbach, the author of the accompanying editorial, writes that “it is important not to forget that smoking is a much stronger risk factor for morality than most other risk factors, including obesity.”  

On the other hand, the findings here may not be applicable to the U.S. since smoking habits and obesity patterns, particularly along socioeconomic lines, may not reflect those found in Scotland.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Researchers: You Really Can Die From a Broken Heart

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(ST. ANDREWS, Scotland) -- Researchers at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland say they have found clear evidence in a massive study that there is something they call the "widowhood effect," which indicates many people really do die of sorrow at the loss of a loved one.

Researchers looked at 58,000 married couples, dating back to 1991, in a study spotlighted in The Daily Mail.  They found 40 percent of women and 26 percent of men died within three years of their partners.  The causes range from cancer and heart disease to accidents and suicide.  In some cases the death of the spouse was almost immediate.  Forty died within 10 days and 12 died on the same day.  Although the causes differ, researchers say their evidence of a "widowhood effect" is "robust."

The full study will be published next year in the journal, Epidemiology.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio