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New film produced on life-saving research at Blood Cancer Network in Ireland

By Dermot - 05th May 2017

The film’s producer, Dr Seán Crosson, Acting Director of the Huston School of Film and Digital Media, NUI Galway, commented: “The Huston School was delighted to be able to support the production of this important film as part of an ongoing research and outreach project in the school exploring the role of digital media in healthcare. As evident in the film, the BCNI is providing Irish blood cancer patients with access to novel and innovative cancer treatments through the provision of early phase clinical trials. <em>Clinical Trials – A Patient’s Perspective</em> gives an insight into one clinical trial patient’s perspective of this life-saving process.”

Prof Michael O’Dwyer, Director of BCNI at NUI Galway, said: “A new diagnosis of blood cancer can be frightening and unsettling. This short film captures perfectly one patient’s perspective and positive experience of clinical trials and should help other patients who find themselves in this situation.”

<em>Clinical Trials – A Patient’s Perspective</em> is directed by Huston School lecturer Mr Dieter Auner.

To view the film, visit: where further information on the BCNI and clinical trials is also available.

<h3 class=”INTROstrapspanallMIstyles”><strong> launches National GP Awards 2017</strong></h3> <div> <table cellspacing=”0″ cellpadding=”0″> <tbody> <tr> <td align=”left” valign=”top”>, a widely used online resource for GPs, has announced details of the 2017 National GP Awards, in association with independent diagnostic imaging provider, Affidea Ireland.

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The annual GPBuddy Awards recognise excellence, innovation and collaboration among GPs in Ireland. Nominations are invited across 12 categories and the winners will be announced on Friday 22 September at a ceremony hosted by television personality and GP, Dr Pixie McKenna, in Dublin’s Shelbourne Hotel.

 Speaking ahead of this year’s event, Dr McKenna said: “I am really happy to be part of such a positive, inspiring event. The awards are a wonderful acknowledgement of the pivotal role played by our GPs. As a practicing GP myself, I am acutely aware of the need for collaboration between healthcare professionals in order to deliver the highest quality care to patients. I am delighted to see this collaboration being recognised.”

As the first and only awards ceremony of its kind in Ireland, the GPBuddy Awards offer a unique opportunity to celebrate the dedication, commitment and innovation of the country’s GP community. 

Dr Shane McKeogh of explained: “The challenges and difficulties faced by the Irish healthcare sector are widely reported. We set up the GP Awards in 2016 as a means of recognising the tireless efforts of those working on the ground to improve the lives of patients all over the country.

“The awards provide a rare opportunity for our unsung heroes in general practice to be honoured, while celebrating and networking with colleagues from across the profession. We were overwhelmed by the response last year and we look forward to building on that success in 2017, in conjunction with our new sponsor Affidea.”

 The 2017 award categories are: GP of the Year; Establishing GP of the Year; Practice Nurse of the Year; GP Trainee of the Year; GP Trainer of the Year; Rural Practice of the Year; Patients’ Choice Award; Practice Admin of the Year; Best GP/ Hospital Collaboration; GPs in the Media; GP Research of the Year; and Innovation in Practice Award

Mr Tom Finn, CEO of sponsor Affidea Ireland, commented: “GPs are the cornerstone in the provision of primary care to the Irish people. Affidea is delighted to partner with the GPBuddy National GP Awards to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of GPs around the country. As we move in the right direction towards treating and diagnosing more patients in a primary care setting and reducing pressures on hospitals, the role of the GP will continue to grow and adapt, so it is vital that a platform exists to recognise excellent practices.”

 Healthcare professionals working in both urban and rural communities all over Ireland can nominate themselves or a colleague, while patients are encouraged to take part by voting for a GP of their choice in the Patients’ Choice Award. 

 The closing date for entries to the GPBuddy Awards is Friday, 14 July 2017.

To enter or nominate an individual or organisation, please visit Entry forms will also be available at participating GP practices. comprises a comprehensive database of medical and healthcare professionals, as well as educational modules, an ‘ask the expert’ section, a classifieds section and discussion forums.

<h3 class=”INTROstrapspanallMIstyles”><strong>Low-cost drug reduces death arising from post-partum haemorrhage</strong></h3> <div> <table cellspacing=”0″ cellpadding=”0″> <tbody> <tr> <td align=”left” valign=”top”>

Tranexamic acid – an inexpensive and widely-available drug – could reduce maternal deaths among women with severe bleeding after child birth, according to a global trial of 20,000 women in 21 countries, published recently in <em>The Lancet</em>. The study found that death due to bleeding was reduced by a third, if the drug was given within three hours of the onset of post-partum haemorrhage.

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Post-partum haemorrhage is the leading cause of maternal death worldwide, responsible for 100,000 deaths per year, 99 per cent of which occur in low- and middle-income countries. The time from the onset of post-partum haemorrhage to maternal death can sometimes be only a few hours.

Tranexamic acid works by stopping fibrinolysis, a process that can occur in trauma or soon after child birth. Previous research has shown that tranexamic acid reduces death due to bleeding in trauma patients.

World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines recommend the use of tranexamic acid in post-partum haemorrhage if uterotonics fail to control the bleeding, or if the bleeding is thought to be due to trauma. The findings from the trial, published in <em>The Lancet,</em> suggest that the drug should be given as soon as possible after the onset of post-partum haemorrhage, at the same time as uterotonics. 

“We now have important evidence that the early use of tranexamic acid can save women’s lives and ensure more children grow up with a mother. It’s safe, affordable and easy to administer, and we hope that doctors will use it as early as possible following the onset of severe bleeding after childbirth,” said Associate Professor Haleema Shakur, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK, who led the trial.

The WOMAN (World Maternal Antifibrinolytic) trial included over 20,000 women aged 16 or over in 193 hospitals in 21 countries, mostly in Africa and Asia.

Women diagnosed with post-partum haemorrhage after a vaginal birth or caesarean section were randomised to receive either 1g of intravenous tranexamic acid or placebo, in addition to usual care. If bleeding continued after 30 minutes, or stopped and restarted within 24 hours of the first dose, a second dose was given.

Death due to bleeding was reduced in women given tranexamic acid compared to placebo (1.5 per cent of women given tranexamic acid died of bleeding [155/10,036] vs 1.9 per cent of women given placebo [191/9,985]). Tranexamic acid was particularly effective when given within three hours of bleeding, reducing deaths by a third (1.2 per cent of women given tranexamic acid within three hours died of bleeding [89/7,520] vs 1.7 per cent [127/7,408] of women given placebo). 

There was also a reduction in laparotomy in the tranexamic acid group compared to the placebo group (0.8 per cent [82/10,032] vs 1.3 per cent [127/9,985]).

Deaths from other causes (including pulmonary embolism, organ failure, sepsis and eclampsia) did not differ between groups and neither did the rates of hysterectomies, and as a result, the composite primary outcome of deaths from all causes or hysterectomy was not reduced with tranexamic acid compared to placebo.

The authors said that while hysterectomy is used as a last resort to control bleeding in high-income countries, in Africa and Asia where anaemia is common and blood supplies are limited, hysterectomy is often used as an early intervention to prevent death from bleeding. The authors noted that this may have influenced the effect seen on hysterectomy. Indeed, the decision to have a hysterectomy was often made at the same time as the decision to enrol a woman in the trial.

Finally, there was no difference in the rates of adverse effects in the tranexamic acid group compared to placebo. 

Prof Ian Roberts, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who co-led the study, said: “The researchers who invented tranexamic acid more than 50 years ago hoped it would reduce deaths from postpartum haemorrhage, but they couldn’t persuade obstetricians at the time to conduct a trial. Now we finally have these results that we hope can help save women’s lives around the world.”

In a linked editorial, <em>The Lancet</em> stated: “The UN estimates that 532,000 maternal deaths took place in 1990. That figure had fallen to 303,000 by the end of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) era in 2015. Haemorrhage accounts for 18 per cent of these deaths and is a particularly important cause of maternal mortality in Africa and Asia. Discovering new ways to prevent maternal death, and especially deaths from bleeding, therefore continues to be a high priority. The findings of the WOMAN trial are an important milestone in that quest.”