Health Highlights: Sept. 29, 2015

Health Highlights: Sept. 29, 2015

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Stem Cell Treatment for Blindness Being Tested on Patients

A new stem cell treatment to treat blindness is being tested on patients in the U.K.

In the surgical procedure, a tiny patch that contains specialized eye cells is implanted at the back of the retina. Last month, a 60-year-old woman became the first patient to undergo the operation, which will be performed on nine other patients, BBC News reported.

The patients will be monitored for a year to determine if their vision improves and if the treatment is safe. All of the patients have the wet form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), in which defective blood vessels in the eye lead to vision loss.

The stem cell treatment was developed by the London Project to Cure Blindness.

“We won’t know until at least Christmas how good (the first patient’s) vision is and how long that may be maintained, but we can see the cells are there under the retina where they should be and they appear to be healthy,” project co-leader Professor Peter Coffey, Institute of Ophthalmology, University College London, told BBC News.

If the treatment works, it could also benefit patients in the early stages of dry AMD and might even stop their vision loss.


Cancer Docs Told to Ask Wealthy Patients for Donations: Study

Many cancer doctors are being encouraged to ask wealthy patients for donations to support cancer research.

A survey of 400 oncologists at 40 leading U.S. cancer centers found that nearly half said they had been instructed to identify rich patients who might be prospective donors, The New York Times reported.

One-third of the doctors said they had been asked to directly request donations, but half of them refused. Three percent of the doctors were promised payments if a patient made a donation.

The study was published online Monday in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.