Research Highlights

Development and validation of response markers to predict survival and pleurodesis success in patients with malignant pleural effusion (PROMISE): a multicohort analysis

Development and validation of response markers to predict survival and pleurodesis success in patients with malignant pleural effusion (PROMISE): a multicohort analysis

Posted 18/06/2018

The prevalence of malignant pleural effusion is increasing worldwide, but prognostic biomarkers to plan treatment and to understand the underlying mechanisms of disease progression remain unidentified. The PROMISE study was designed with the objectives to discover, validate, and prospectively assess biomarkers of survival and pleurodesis response in malignant pleural effusion and build a score that predicts survival.

A global map of travel time to cities to assess inequalities in accessibility in 2015

A global map of travel time to cities to assess inequalities in accessibility in 2015

Posted 12/06/2018

The Malaria Atlas Project has created a global map of the travel time to urban centers for the year 2015.  Cities concentrate activities that promote human wellbeing including education, employment, and healthcare services. The accessibility map provides a useful dataset for identifying populations with limited access to cities and are thus at risk of being left behind.

Scrub Typhus Point-of-Care Testing

Scrub Typhus Point-of-Care Testing

Posted 15/05/2018

Kartika Karaswati, Stuart Blacksell and colleagues reviewed the diagnostic accuracy of the available scrub typhus point-of-care tests, feasible to be used in resource limited settings. Although the available evidence is varied in methodology and quality, POCTs appear to have low false positive rates, thus confidence in interpreting a positive result can be high.

Scientists discover promising ‘off-switch’ for inflammatory diseases

Scientists discover promising ‘off-switch’ for inflammatory diseases

Posted 04/04/2018

Researchers in Ireland, the UK, including Roman Fischer and Benedikt Kessler from the Target Discovery Institute and US have discovered a new metabolic process in the body that can switch off inflammation. “itaconate” – a molecule derived from glucose – “acts as a powerful off switch for macrophages”, thereby reducing inflammation. The discovery published in Nature offers more effective treatment of inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and heart disease.

Promising approach to reducing Malaria transmission by ivermectin

Promising approach to reducing Malaria transmission by ivermectin

Posted 20/03/2018

Blood from patients treated with ivermectin can kill mosquitos. Our results indicate that ivermectin mass drug administration to humans could be a potential malaria control tool to aid malaria elimination efforts in South America.

Single low-dose primaquine for blocking transmission of Plasmodium falciparum malaria

Single low-dose primaquine for blocking transmission of Plasmodium falciparum malaria

Posted 06/03/2018

Primaquine is being promoted actively to block the transmission of falciparum malaria parasites between humans and mosquitoes to reduce the spread of highly resistant malaria ‘superbugs.’ In response, Bob Taylor and colleagues developed a primaquine dosing scheme based on age. This will be useful where there are no functioning weighing scales and when primaquine mass drug treatment will be given.

Adaptation of Plasmodium falciparum to its transmission environment

Adaptation of Plasmodium falciparum to its transmission environment

Posted 23/02/2018

The malaria parasite is a major cause of illness and deaths throughout the tropics. To survive, the malaria parasite needs to be transmitted by mosquitos form person to person. In this paper Martin Rono and colleagues show at the cellular and molecular level how the parasite balances its investment between growing efficiently in humans and maximising the chances of being transmitted by mosquitos, depending on the local environment.

Randomised Controlled Trial of Urokinase versus Placebo for Non-draining Malignant Pleural Effusion

Randomised Controlled Trial of Urokinase versus Placebo for Non-draining Malignant Pleural Effusion

Posted 05/02/2018

A recent study published by Prof Najib Rahman, Clinical Director, Oxford Respiratory Trials Unit explains how 15% of people with malignant effusion develop septations (pockets) within the fluid, which are difficult to treat. TIME3 was a randomised trial assessing the use of intrapleural fibrinolytic, showing no improvement in breathlessness but improved x-ray appearance and possible mortality benefit. This study provides high quality evidence for the rational use of this medication for patients.

Ethics, regulation, and beyond: the landscape of research with pregnant women

Ethics, regulation, and beyond: the landscape of research with pregnant women

Posted 17/01/2018

Ethics guidelines have evolved to protect vulnerable groups such as pregnant women from research. This has resulted in a lack of research in these populations making them even more vulnerable because of the lack of evidence-based medical care. In this paper, Professor Phaik Yeong Cheah and her collaborators discuss how regulatory frameworks can sometimes lead to a generalized exclusion of pregnant women from research.

The Struggle for digital inclusion: Phones, healthcare and marginalisation in rural India

The Struggle for digital inclusion: Phones, healthcare and marginalisation in rural India

Posted 02/01/2018

Technological potentials have raised high hopes on healthcare access in LMICs like India. However, five years of research by Dr Marco Haenssgen paint a less optimistic picture and show adverse consequences of mobile phone diffusion, which creates more competition and new divisions and leaves the poorest strata of population worse off than before.