52 Mal­tese pa­tients re­ceived spe­cialised oph­thalmic treat­ment in the UK this year

Malta Independent - - NEWS - Rachel At­tard in London

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.

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