News in brief: Haematologist appointed to Academy of Science; Increased thrombosis risk for men with prostate cancer; CJD transmission risk from UK donor blood is one in half a billion

Wednesday, 25 May 2022


Haematologist appointed to Academy of Science

South Australian haematologist Professor Tim Hughes has been announced as one of 22 Australians elected as a Fellow of the prestigious Australian Academy of Science for their outstanding contribution to science.

Professor Hughes, Precision Medicine Theme Leader at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) and Consultant Haematologist at SA Pathology, is also Chair of the International Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Foundation (iCMLf).

He has led many of the key global and national trials in CML and his group has successfully developed predictive bioassays and molecular targets that influence the way CML patients are managed world-wide.

Professor Hughes was awarded the GSK Award for Research Excellence 2017 for pioneering the use of tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs).

He is also a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (AAHMS).


Increased thrombosis risk for men with prostate cancer

Male prostate cancer patients have a 50% higher risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) than men without prostate cancer, a Swedish study has found.

A cohort study that involved 92,105 men with prostate cancer and 466,241 men without prostate cancer found that 3.2% of men in the prostate cancer group experienced a VTE within about five years of their cancer diagnosis, compared with 2.1% of men in the control group.

After adjusting for factors that could affect VTE risk in their analysis such as the presence of cardiovascular disease and socioeconomic factors, the study showed that the men with prostate cancer had a hazard ratio of 1.48 for DVT and 1.47 for pulmonary embolism compared to men without prostate cancer.

The risk of VTE was mostly increased in the first six months of prostate cancer diagnosis, decreasing steadily thereafter, and the average time to develop a first VTE was shorter in men with prostate cancer than in men free of prostate cancer of a similar age (3.1 years vs 3.4 years).

The researchers said the magnitude of increased VTE risk among men with prostate cancer was lower than that seen for other cancer types as seen in previous studies, and this was likely attributable to the high proportion of men with localised disease and at low risk of cancer progression.

“Notwithstanding this, physicians treating men with prostate cancer should be aware of the marked increase in VTE risk in these men, particularly in the first six months following cancer diagnosis, to help ensure timely VTE diagnosis,” they wrote in BMJ Open.


CJD transmission risk from UK donor blood is one in half a billion

An Australian analysis has backed the TGA’s recent recommendation to lift the ban on blood donation for people who have lived or travelled to the UK during the era of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD).

Modelling by University of NSW researchers showed that the risk of CJD transfusion-transmission in Australia from donors with prior UK residency or travel history between 1980–1996) was 1 in 29,900,000 per unit. The risks of resulting vCJD transmission (infection) and clinical case were 1 in 389,000,000 and 1 in 1,450,000,000, respectively, according to findings published in Vox Sanguinis.

The current ban represents a loss of 3.5% (approx. 57,000) of blood donations annually, the report noted.

On 29 April 2022 Australian Red Cross Lifeblood said it was working on an implementation plan to accept blood donations from former UK residents after the TGA gave approval to lift the ban that has been in place since 2000.

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