52 Maltese patients received specialised ophthalmic treatment in the UK this year
Moorefields Eye Hospital and King’s College Hospital are two specialised hospitals in London. Yesterday, the President of Malta continued with her official visit in London where she is meeting Maltese patients and the various medical teams that assists them.
In the morning she went to Moorefields Hospital where a number of Maltese patients receive various treatments in their eyes. This year around 52 Maltese patients received specialised ophthalmic care that varies from retinal detachment to eye cancer.
Moorefields Eye Hospital, which is one of the best and largest ophthalmic hospitals in Europe, is also a research hospital and at the moment a number of scientific studies are being done on two major areas; gene therapy and stem cells therapy. The aim of these two studies is to restore back the person’s eye sight.
The Malta Independent spoke to Professor Andrew Dick who is the Director of the University College of London Institute in Ophthalmology. Prof Dick said: “In the case of stem cells therapy what we are looking at are transplanting stem cells in the eye to replace those that are dying and by doing that we are to restore vision.”
He added that in the case of gene therapy what the scientists are doing is, “replacing that gene that stopped working and by doing that we give back eye sight.”
When asked by this newsroom what are the success rates of these two studies, Prof Dick said, “the first tests are showing very positive results.”
The President of Malta was also shown the Children Centre which was opened in 2007. This centre helps children who are visually impaired. Here the President presented a donation on behalf of the Malta Community Chest Fund Foundation to Moorfields Eye Charity, towards their ongoing research projects. The President said that this donation is a sign of gratitude and appreciation towards the care, attention and dedication given to the Maltese patients who use the services of Moorfields Eye Hospital.
King’s College Hospital
At present at King’s College Hospital there are two Maltese patients, a patient who is waiting for a liver transplant and a threemonth old baby. This acute hospital specialises mainly in organ transplants and cancer.
Mr Mario Cassar, a Maltese biomedical scientist, has been working at this hospital for the past three years. Before he joined this hospital he used to work at Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Mr Cassar said that he started working with the Pathology lab at St Luke’s 20 years ago and then he continued to further his career by working in various hospitals in London. His specialisation is haematophobia, which is an abnormal and persistent fear of blood, and blood transfusion.
Mr Cassar said that since he works in a laboratory he does not have direct contact with Maltese patients. However, he said that “when blood samples are sent to me I would have the patient’s details written on it and from the surnames I am able to identify that we have a Maltese person in the hospital.”
The President of Malta thanked the medical staff that helps Maltese patients and also gave a donation. Today she is expected to visit more hospitals and Maltese patients in London.