26th June 2020

Good news round-up part 13

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Lockdown Restrictions lifted

In details delivered by prime minister Boris Johnson earlier this week, it was announced that the next phase of COVID-19 restrictions were being lifted for England.

From the 4th July, a new group of businesses will be able to reopen after weeks of temporary closures which include pubs, cinemas, restaurants and hotels. To the relief of many people with hair that’s grown wild over the last weeks, hairdressers will also be able to cut hair again. These openings are only possible due to the reduction in the social distancing from 2m to 1m plus.

Also for the first time since lockdown began, two households of any size will be able to meet up indoors or outside whilst social distancing unless they’re part of a social bubble.

These new measures will bring relief to many lung cancer patients, providing the opportunity to see friends and family face to face for the first time and providing much needed human contact.

New cancer treatment to be available on the NHS

A radical new cancer treatment will be made available on the NHS following an announcement this week.

Entrectinib is a drug that will provide a lifeline to patients who had been told their cancer is untreatable.

The nature of the drug is being called revolutionary, as it can treat many types of the disease regardless of their location in the body.

Meindert Boysen of NICE said: ‘Treatments like entrectinib have the potential to revolutionise how we treat cancers by targeting a genetic mutation that activates tumour growth irrespective of the solid tumour’s location. 

‘While the evidence suggests that solid tumours with NTRK gene fusions shrink in response to entrectinib, further trial data is needed.

‘We are therefore pleased that, because of the joint working between NICE, NHS England and NHS Improvement and the company, adults and children 12 years and older will be able to access entrectinib on the CDF while more data is collected to address any clinical uncertainties.’

Initially made available for up to 700 patients, Entrectinib will help those who suffer from rare types of cancer called NTRK fusions. If everything goes well, this could be the start of a personalised cancer care, providing hope to patients told their cancer is untreatable.

First volunteer receives Imperial COVID-19 vaccine

Imperial College, London, announced this week that the first healthy person has received a candidate coronavirus vaccine. So far the person remains in good health and the clinical team are monitoring results closely.

This exciting news is the first use of a process called self-amplifying RNA (saRNA) technology, which has aims to help scientists to respond more quickly to emerging diseases.

Dr Katrina Pollock, from Imperial’s Department of Infectious Disease and Chief Investigator of the study, said: “We have reached a significant milestone in this ground-breaking study with the first dose of a self-amplifying RNA vaccine delivered safely.

“We are now poised to test the vaccine in the dose evaluation phase before moving forward to evaluating it in larger numbers.”

UK holidays

With many people facing an uncertain future this summer if they had planned a holiday abroad, having restrictions lifted now means that holidays are now possible in England, with Wales and Scotland looking to follow in mid-July. Hotels, campsites and self-catering cottages will all be reopening from the 4th July.

With so many beautiful areas to visit throughout the country, from sandy beaches to stunning national parks and valleys, the term “stay-cation” may well be used a lot in the coming months, especially with government advising to avoid all overseas travel if possible. Let’s hope for some nice sunny weather!