Trial aims to 'stall' type 1 diabetes

  • 24 March 2016
  • From the section Health
Media captionType 1 diabetes trials give hope for "a more normal life", as Fergus Walsh reports

A trial has begun in London of an immunotherapy treatment aimed at halting the progression of type 1 diabetes.

Twenty-four volunteers are being recruited for the study in the Biomedical Research Centre at Guy's hospital.

In type 1 diabetes the immune system destroys the cells that make insulin, the hormone needed to control blood sugar levels. The hope is the treatment will re-train or reset the immune system.

All the patients being recruited have been recently diagnosed with type 1 and so still have some remaining beta cells - which are found in the pancreas and are responsible for making insulin.

Prof Mark Peakman, King's College London, who is leading the trial, said: "If we get in with this therapy early enough we may be able to protect the beta cells that remain in those patients so that they continue to make some of their own insulin which would give them better control of blood glucose and mean their risk of future complications of diabetes is reduced."

Read full article Trial aims to 'stall' type 1 diabetes

The paralysed man who can ride a bike

  • 4 March 2016
  • From the section Health
Media captionDarek learns to cycle again

A man who was paralysed from the chest down after a knife attack in 2010 can now ride an adapted tricycle.

In 2014, surgeons in Poland announced they had reversed Darek Fidyka's paralysis using cells taken from his nose to repair his spinal cord.

Read full article The paralysed man who can ride a bike

Why brains are beautiful

  • 16 February 2016
  • From the section Health
Media captionFergus Walsh discovers why the brain is a marvel of evolution

When I picked up the human brain in my hands, several things ran through my mind. My immediate concern was I might drop it or that it would fall apart in my hands - fortunately neither happened.

Second, I was struck by how light the human brain is. I should say this was half a brain - the right hemisphere - the left had already been sent for dissection. The intact human brain weighs only around 3lbs (1.5kg) - just 2% of body-weight, and yet it consumes 20% of its energy.

Read full article Why brains are beautiful

Drivers 'exposed to highest levels of pollution'

  • 15 February 2016
  • From the section Health
Smogmoble Image copyright Enviro Technology
Image caption The smogmobile can measure NO2 levels while on the move, and a range of other pollutants

What's the best way to avoid air pollution travelling in a city? Walking, cycling or in a vehicle?

It's a question I put a few months ago when testing some mobile pollution monitors along the busy Brompton Road in London's Knightsbridge.

Read full article Drivers 'exposed to highest levels of pollution'

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.

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'