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Lansley in new U-turn, universal flu vaccine in development, plus private firm takes over NHS hospital

A round-up of the health news in the papers on Wednesday 1 February

On the day when Health Secretary Andrew Lansley is expected to make major concessions on the health and social care bill, the Mirror accuses him of another U-turn.

The paper reveals a £300million pot of NHS cash was being kept secret by the Department of Health.

It claims Mr Lansley planned to give NHS trusts just 48 hours to apply for a share of the funds but extended the deadline when confronted by the paper.

Several papers report rising hopes for the development of a universal vaccine for flu.

The Independent says newly discovered molecules shared by most strains of the flu virus could be the key.

Researchers identified the molecules after subjecting healthy volunteers to flu infections. They found that participants' immune systems targeted a specific range of peptides, or protein building blocks, within the internal structure of the flu virus, according to the paper.

Harnessing the immune system's response to the peptides could produce an all-encompassing multi-strain vaccine, the scientists believe.

Another pioneering vaccine also makes the health news this morning.

The Daily Telegraph says a vaccine to treat breast cancer using a patient's own cells has been developed by scientists.

The vaccine was described as "promising" after 85% of women with a ductal carcinoma in situ - the most common non-invasive form of the disease - were still showing protection after four years, the Telegraph says.

A team at the University of Pennsylvania in the US enrolled 27 patients and isolated specialised white cells which they manipulated in the laboratory to allow the immune system to recognise the cancerous cells as foreign and attack them.

Each patient received four weekly injections of their personalised vaccine and had surgery two weeks later to remove any remaining disease.

Results published in the Journal of Immunotherapy showed five patients had no disease visible, indicating their immune system had wiped out the tumour, according to the Telegraph.

Also in the Telegraph, a warning that proton pump inhibitors could increase the risk of a hip fracture by a third.

US researchers studying 80,000 nurses found that for every 2,000 post-menopausal women taking the drugs for a year, there would be more than four fractures compared with three in 2,000 women not taking them.

Findings published in the British Medical Journal suggested post-menopausal women taking PPIs were around 35 per cent per cent more likely to suffer a broken hip.

Private firm Circle's takeover of Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Cambridgeshire today also makes several of the papers.

The Daily Mail says the company plans to make the failing hospital one of top 10 in the country.

Hinchingbrooke Hospital, which opened in 1983, has a maternity ward and an A&E unit and caters for more than 161,000 people in the Huntingdon area.

The first task facing Circle will be dealing with its legacy of £39 million debts, despite an annual turnover of £90 million, the Mail says.

The Guardian claims Labour and unions question Circle´s qualifications but says the hospital will deliver cleanliness and good food.

 

 

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