TARGETTED THERAPY: A team of scientists, including eight Irish researchers, have developed a minimally-invasive device that can increase heart function after a heart attack. The device, called Therepi — a reservoir for drugs or cells that can be refilled multiple times from a port under the skin — can be placed directly on the heart. This allows localised, refillable, heart targeted therapy delivery. The researchers showed in a pre-clinical model of myocardial infarction (heart attack) that this device can increase heart function over four weeks when stem cells are repeatedly delivered to the reservoir. This system has potential for advancing research as a tool to characterise optimal targeted drug dosing. The study, published in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering, was the result of a collaboration between researchers in the US and NUI Galway, RCSI, TCD and AMBER, the Science Foundation Ireland funded materials science centre.
RISKY FIFTY: Fifty-year-olds with slightly raised blood pressure are at an increased risk of getting dementia in later life, a study has suggested. Study participants had a greater risk even if they didn’t have other heart-related problems, the research published in the European Heart Journal said. The association between blood pressure and dementia risk was seen at aged 50, but not 60 or 70, the study found.
PROSTATE PILOT: A new saliva test that can identify men at high risk of prostate cancer is undergoing pilot trials at GP practices in London. Scientists will assess whether advice or preventative treatment can reduce cases of the disease among those men who are singled out. The study follows research linking single-letter changes in the genetic code with a six-fold increased likelihood of developing prostate cancer. By looking for these DNA defects, scientists were able to identify the 1% of men at highest risk. Lead researcher Professor Ros Eeles, from the Institute of Cancer Research in London, said: “If we can tell from testing DNA how likely it is that a man will develop prostate cancer, the next step is to see if we can use that information to help prevent the disease.”