This site is intended for health professionals only

Monkey sperm cells, zoo scanners for obese patients and cheaper drugs for skin cancer

A skin cancer drug which has dramatic results in treating skin cancer has been given draft approval by NICE after initially turning it down as it is expensive and can have short-lived results. NICE asked Roche for extra information about vemurafenib, which is marketed as Zelboraf,  and was offered a discount on the £1,750 weekly cost. The guidance for it and  also for another drug for advanced skin cancer ipilimumab, made by Bristol-Myers Squibb under the name Yervoy,  now goes out for consultation reports the Guardian.

Hospitals could be forced to use scanners from zoos to scan obese patients as their scanners are inadequate to cope with severely overweight patients reports the Telegraph. Researchers from North Bristol NHS Trust found that only one in six hospitals currently have access to MRI or CT scanners which could be used for patients tipping the scales at up to 35 stone and could be forced to call on zoos for help.

Stored stem cells may be able to help boys left infertile by cancer treatment to produce healthy sperm cells says the BBC. Researchers who took sperm cells from monkeys before  cancer treatment and returned  them found that sperm could produce an egg, marking a  ‘milestone’ says the team from the University of Pittsburgh and the Magee-Women’s Research Institute.