News in brief - 14th September

BACTERIA MAY HELP FIGHT CANCER
Bacteria such as clostridia which thrive in oxygen-starved environments could be used to deliver gene therapy to cancer tissue, according to Dutch research presented at the Society for General Microbiology's 161st meeting in Edinburgh last week. Clostridial spores injected into animals only became active when they reached oxygen-starved cancer tissue, making them ideal for delivering anti-cancer treatment. Visit www.sgm.ac.uk/meetings.

CARDIOVASCULAR WARNING FOR ROSIGLITAZONE
The glucose-lowering drug rosiglitazone (Avandia) should not be used in diabetes patients at risk of cardiovascular events, US researchers have warned. But pioglitazone (Actos) has a net beneficial cardiac effect, although it does increase heart failure risk. Concerns over the drugs' safety were raised earlier this year (GP, 25 May). Visit http://jama.ama-assn.org.

CLINICAL GOVERNANCE REQUIRES FIRMER FOOTING
Clinical governance is not as well established in primary care as in secondary care, a House of Commons Public Accounts Committee report has said. Committee chairman Edward Leigh MP said: 'Too many primary care organisations are paying lip service to the principle of the agenda.'

STATIN SWITCHING STUDY QUESTIONED
GPs should not be put off from switching patients from branded to generic statins, according to an expert in cardiovascular disease. The advice comes after a study backed by manufacturer Pfizer showed that switching from Lipitor to a generic statin resulted in a 30 per cent increased risk of heart attack. Dr Terry McCormack, chairman of the Primary Care Cardiovascular Society, questioned the finding.

NORTHERN IRISH GPS UNDERTRAINED FOR SUICIDES
National newspapers in Northern Ireland have launched a campaign to highlight the problem of suicide after it was revealed that 80 per cent of GPs are not trained to spot the signs of severe depression. The Irish News, the Belfast Telegraph and the Daily Mirror joined forces to mark National Suicide Day on Monday.

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