This website is intended for Medical Professionals only. By using this site you confirm that you are a healthcare professional.

Anti-Inflammatory Diet Linked to Reduced ... Adhering to an anti-inflammatory diet was associated with lower ... (17 Sep 2018)
Salsa dancers ‘less likely to get injured ... Salsa dancers are less likely to get injured while dancing than ... (17 Sep 2018)
Paracetamol use in infancy is linked to ...   Children who take paracetamol during their first two years ... (17 Sep 2018)
Diagnosing and treating resistant ... Resistant hypertension affects 12 to 15 percent of patients ... (11 Sep 2018)
Commonly used antidepressant drugs ... The difficulties that people have in discontinuing ... (13 Sep 2018)
Sunday, 04 September 2016 00:00


Written by
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Ian C. Ellul

Clinical practice may be defined as the continuously evolving practice of communicating and applying research-based knowledge. Part of this is what I call ‘the challenging factor’.

Researchers and clinicians have to continuously challenge what is currently known with new findings heralded by joint collaborations between man and technology. The following are two such examples, both pertaining to oncology.      

In the past few weeks we have witnessed the roll-out of the national HPV vaccination programme, which has followed other screening programmes including breast cancer. Interestingly during this period The Lancet published an interesting article ‘The benefits and harms of breast cancer screening: an independent review’. The primary research objective was to compare the benefits of screening ie reducing mortality, with any possible harm incurred ie over-diagnosis. Over-diagnosis has been defined as ‘cancers detected at screening that would not have otherwise become clinically apparent in the woman’s lifetime.’ The review was commissioned by the UK’s Cancer Research and Department of Health and involved UK women aged between 50 and 70 years who are invited for breast screening every 3 years. The study found that there is a 20% relative risk reduction for women  who accept to do the screening. It has also been estimated that for every 10,000 women (aged 50 years) who are invited for screening in the next 20 years, there would be 43 preventable deaths. However, interestingly during this period, there would also be 129 cases of breast cancer which would be over-diagnosed and treated. So apparently the ratio stands at 1:3. Obviously these findings have clinical and ethical repercussions. Hopefully a similar study is carried out locally since it would add to the knowledge repository in this important area.  

Another interesting article has been published in December in Peptides, ‘Nullomer derived anticancer peptides (NulloPs): Differential lethal effects on normal and cancer cells in vitro.’ Nullomers are essentially amino acids which the human body does not code for, possibly because they are too toxic or useless. The research team at Boise State University in Idaho have analysed several possible DNA sequences which could give rise to promising nullomers, finally arriving at 9R and 9S1R. These have been found to switch off breast and prostate cancer cells through mitochondrial impairment but do not have an overall sustained detrimental effect on healthy cells. What is more exciting is that whilst cancer cells became more sensitive to nullomers with time (possibly overcoming the question of resistance), exactly the opposite happens with healthy cells. 


Read 2379 times Last modified on Friday, 04 November 2016 05:35

Dr Ian Ellul PhD[Paed.][Melit.] has been the managing editor of The Synapse Journal since 2005. He was also Director of Pharmacy Services at a private hospital group, the government's Clinical Trials Coordinator for trials conducted in Malta, as well as senior regulatory affairs officer.  


TheSynapse Videos



  • Interactive Discussion on Valsartan



    The Malta Medicines Authority in collaboration with the Superintendence
    of Public Health and the Department of Pharmacy University of Malta
    would like to cordially invite you to an interactive scientific discussion:






    led by Professor Anthony Serracino Inglott


    Date: Wednesday 25 July 2018


    Time: 20:00
    Venue: Conference Room, Life Sciences Park, San Ġwann


    Refreshments will be served

    RSVP: | 23439202

    Written on July 21, 2018
  • WASP Course in Bahrain

    WASP Course, led by Prof Victor Grech and Prof Charles Savona Ventura, has recently organised a course in Bahrain. Co-hosted with Arabian Gulf University, the course, on how to write a scientific paper, focused on quantitative analysis methods and was targeted for medical doctors and allied health professionals.

    Written on April 24, 2018


Connect with other Medical Professionals on fb in a closed facebook group



Template Settings

Theme Colors

Cyan Red Green Oranges Teal


Wide Boxed Framed Rounded
Patterns for Layour: Boxed, Framed, Rounded
We use cookies to improve our website. By continuing to use this website, you are giving consent to cookies being used. More details…