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Health Highlights: Nov. 21, 2012

Health Highlights: Nov. 21, 2012

11/21/12

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

New Type of Flu Vaccine Approved by FDA

The first seasonal flu vaccine made using animal cell technology, instead of the standard egg method, has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Novartis' Flucelvax was approved for use in people 18 years and older, the Associated Pressreported.

The new animal cell method is faster than egg-based vaccine production and could increase manufacturing speed in the event of a flu pandemic.

With the new technique, small amounts of flu virus are placed in fermenting tanks with nutrients and cells derived from mammals. The virus is then inactivated, purified and placed into vaccine vials, the APreported.

In the egg method, virus samples are injected into specialized chicken eggs and incubated. Later, the egg fluids are collected, concentrated and purified into the flu vaccine.

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Dogs Regain Ability to Walk After Nose Cell Transplant: Study

Paralyzed dogs regained the use of their hind legs after they received injections of cells grown from the lining of their nose, U.K. researchers say.

They're cautiously optimistic that the approach could be used to restore movement in people with spinal cord injuries, BBC Newsreported.

The Cambridge University team took olfactory ensheathing cells from the lining of the noses of 23 pet dogs with spinal injuries that prevented them from using their hind legs. The cells were grown and expanded for several weeks in the laboratory and then injected into the dogs' spinal injury sites.

Many of the dogs showed significant improvement and were able to walk on a treadmill with the help of a harness. Eleven other paralyzed dogs that were injected with a neutral fluid showed no improvement, BBC Newsreported.

The study, published in the journal Brain, is the first to test this type of transplant in "real-life" injuries, rather than in laboratory animals.

"Our findings are extremely exciting because they show for the first time that transplanting these types of cell into a severely damaged spinal cord can bring about significant improvement," said study co-author Professor Robin Franklin, BBC Newsreported.

"We're confident that the technique might be able to restore at least a small amount of movement in human patients with spinal cord injuries but that's a long way from saying they might be able to regain all lost function," Franklin added.

Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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