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Hospital campaigners to address public meeting

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HOSPTIAL campaigners are urging Llanelli residents to attend a public meeting tomorrow (May 12) about Hywel Dda’s hospital consultation. They aim to send a strong message to the Health Board that the option of downgrading Prince Philip Hospital is a non-starter.

The meeting, which is open to all and will be held in the Selwyn Samuel Centre at 3.30pm, is being organised by Save Our Services Prince Philip Action Network (SOSPPAN).

Shaun Greaney, who with Adrian Morgan founded a petition to save Llanelli’s hospital that has gathered over 4,700 signatures, will be addressing the meeting, alongside Llanelli’s MP and AM and other hospital campaigners. The Health Board has also promised to send representatives to the meeting.

Mr Greaney said: “I think it is ridiculous that the health board aims to decide the future of health services with just a handful of drop-in sessions and only one in the Llanelli area.

“I would urge everyone to attend the meeting tomorrow to send a clear message to the health board: hands off our hospital.”

Nia Griffith MP said: “You only need to be in Llanelli town centre for a few minutes to know that there is such strong feeling here in Llanelli about keeping services at Prince Philip Hospital and about the real need to make services accessible to people, not take them miles away.

“But we need that strength of feeling to translate into a strong message to the Hywel Dda Health Board, so I would urge everyone to attend the meeting tomorrow when representatives of the local health board will be present.

“We also need to submit hard evidence by feeding in our comments on the consultation, either online or by sending the paper document back FREEPOST – copies available from my office. We need to work together and speak up as strongly as possible for Llanelli.”

Lee Waters AM added: “I’m looking forward to addressing the SOSPPAN meeting tomorrow. We must make it clear to the Health Board that there is no way we will accept a downgrade of Prince Philip Hospital.

“There are huge demands on the NHS across the UK, and here in Hywel Dda, we do need to confront change – but it’s how we do it that’s key and downgrading Prince Philip Hospital, which I’m dead against, cannot be part of that change.

“Nia and I will be out in and around Llanelli every week with consultation documents, and you can fill them in online. I’ve been told by the Chief Executive that nothing is ‘off the table’, so it’s vital that everyone has their say.”

Campaigners will be handing out consultation forms near the EE shop in the town centre on Thursdays and Saturdays from 10.30am to 12.30pm in the next few weeks.

Copies of the consultation document, petition forms and leaflets can be collected from the SOSPPAN events organiser Suzy Curry (0756 1566 456).

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Police trying to track stolen tanker

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE is investigating the theft of a fuel tanker containing approximately 8,500 litres of diesel (4,000 litres of red diesel and 4,500 litres of white diesel).

The vehicle was taken from Tan Y Foel Quarry, Cefn Coch, Welshpool, between 5.30pm on Wednesday, May 23 and 6am on Thursday, May 24.

The police are asking people to see if the tanker is now in this area.

Anyone with information that can help officers with their investigation is asked to report it by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908, quoting Ref: DPP/0006/24/05/2018/01/C.

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Reprogrammed virus offers hope as cancer treatment

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A CANCER treatment that can completely destroy cancer cells without affecting healthy cells could soon be a possibility, thanks to research led by Cardiff University.

The team of researchers has successfully ‘trained’ a respiratory virus to recognise ovarian cancer and completely destroy it without infecting other cells. The reprogrammed virus could also be used to treat other cancers such as breast, pancreatic, lung and oral.

Dr Alan Parker from Cardiff University’s School of Medicine said: “Reprogrammed viruses are already being used in gene therapy procedures to treat a range of diseases, demonstrating they can be trained from being life-threatening into potentially lifesaving agents.

“In cancer treatment, up until now, reprogrammed viruses have not been able to selectively recognise only the cancer cells and would also infect healthy cells, resulting in unwanted side effects.

“We’ve taken a common, well-studied virus and completely redesigned it so that it can no longer attach to non-cancerous cells but instead seeks out a specific marker protein called αvβ6 integrin, which is unique to certain cancer cells, allowing it to invade them.

“In this case we introduced the reprogrammed virus to ovarian cancer which it successfully identified and destroyed.

“This is an exciting advance, offering real potential for patients with a variety of cancers.”

Once the virus enters the cancer cell it uses the cell’s machinery to replicate, producing many thousands of copies of itself, prior to bursting the cell and thereby destroying it in the process. The newly released viral copies can then bind and infect neighbouring cancer cells and repeat the same cycle, eventually removing the tumour mass altogether.

The virus also activates the body’s natural immune system, helping it to recognise and destroy the malignant cells.

The reprogrammed virus is from a group of respiratory viruses called adenoviruses. The advantage of using these viruses is that they are relatively easy to manipulate and have already been safely used in cancer treatment.

The technique used to reprogramme the virus to identify the protein common to ovarian, breast, pancreatic, lung and oral cancers could also be used to manipulate it so that it would recognise proteins common to other groups of cancers.

Additional refinement to the viral DNA could also allow the virus to produce anticancer drugs, such as antibodies, during the process of infecting cancer cells. This effectively turns the cancer into a factory producing drugs that will cause its own destruction.

The research was carried out in a laboratory, using mice with ovarian cancer, and has not yet reached clinical trials. The next step is to test the technique with other cancers, with a view to starting clinical trials in five years’ time.

Dr Catherine Pickworth from Cancer Research UK said: “It’s encouraging to see that this virus, which has been modified to recognise markers on cancer cells, has the ability to infect and kill ovarian cancer cells in the lab. Viruses are nature’s nanotechnology and harnessing their ability to hijack cells is an area of growing interest in cancer research.

“The next step will be more research to see if this could be a safe and effective strategy to use in people.”

The team includes researchers from Cardiff University; the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, USA; Glasgow University; the South West Wales Cancer Institute; and Velindre Cancer Centre.

The research was funded by Cancer Research UK, Tenovus Cancer Care and Cancer Research Wales.

The paper ‘Ad5NULL-A20 – a tropism-modified, αvβ6 integrin-selective oncolytic adenovirus for epithelial ovarian cancer therapies’ is published in Clinical Cancer Research.

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Fly infestation sparks health fears

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Infestation: Flies trapped

RESIDENTS in the New Dock area of Llanelli are ‘buzzing’ with anger as a result of a fly infestation which has been described as ‘absolute Hell’ by a local councillor.

Numerous causes have been suggested for the fly infestation, and Carmarthenshire County Council’s Environmental Health Department has visited the area this week.

Commenting on social media, one resident said: “There is nowhere in our home to sleep, eat or cook – the flies are everywhere.”

Glanymor County Councillor Louvain Roberts told The Herald that bungalows for OAPs in Stanley Street and Stanley Road were among the properties affected.

We need answers: Louvain Roberts and Janet Tiencken

“The flies are absolutely everywhere and they’re huge. We had a problem last year but this year things have gone to extremes,” she remarked.

“We need some answers. This is affecting everyone including the young, old and vulnerable.”

Clos y Tafol residents Graham and Janet Tiencken said that the problem was putting their health at risk.

“Graham is currently on dialysis where he has to be aseptic for treatment,” Janet explained. “There’s no way he can be with the flies – how can he get treatment? We’ve all had enough now.

Health risks: Young families and elderly residents raise concerns

“I’ve even got footage on the problem and have had to buy so much equipment, it turns you off eating. I’ve purchased screens the lot. This is far from sanitary. We want answers, our health is seriously affected and it’s getting worse. Please help us.”

Town Councillor Sean Rees said: “Following a number of messages received from Glanymor residents about the fly infestation, I’ve asked for an update from public protection and environmental health. This is regarding current investigations being undertaken and whether the source of the problem has been identified yet. Something needs to be done. In the meantime, report flies publicprotection@carmarthenshire.gov.uk”

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