Together we will beat cancer

  • October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and there were several news stories about the disease in the media this week. First up, could a simple blood test be used to detect early breast cancer, rather than mammograms? Our researchers are running a trial that they hope could lead to such a test. The Telegraph has more information, and Professor Charles Coombes describes the research in this video:

  • On Wednesday, French research suggested that analysing the entire DNA ‘genome’ of breast cancer patients’ tumours could help select the best treatment. This didn’t get much pick up in the media, but we think it shows that routine whole-genome tests are on the horizon, and could help guide clinical trial design and treatment decisions in the future. Read our news story for more detail.
  • The Daily Mail had this story about an experimental treatment for women with HER2-positive breast cancer, called T-DM1. We wrote about this drug after it created a bit of a buzz at an American cancer conference earlier this year. The new results are promising, but we need to see how overall survival rates and quality of life data develop long-term, when the results from the full study are analysed and published.

  • Survival rates for women with ovarian cancer are lower in the UK than in other comparable countries. But why? A Department of Health-funded study, published this week, suggests it’s due to low survival rates among those diagnosed with more advanced stages of the disease. The UK seemed to be better at diagnosing the disease early than other countries – something unexpected, but reassuring. The report was covered in the Guardian, and our bloggers summarised the main findings here.
  • A protein called Myc, commonly found at high levels inside cancer cells, fuels the disease by allowing cells to override their in-built self-destruct mechanisms, according to two new studies by US scientists this week. Here’s our news story. Myc has long been thought of as a ‘key driver’ of cancer, and this work – which likens Myc to a ‘cancer’s volume control’ – could help shape future research to block the molecule to treat the disease.
  • The case against sunbeds got even stronger this week, with confirmation that sunbed users increase their risk not just of melanoma skin cancer, but of far more common types too. The study hammers home the message that sunbeds are not a safe alternative to sunbathing. Here’s the Daily Mail’s take.
  • In mice, bacteria can trigger inflammation in developing bowel tumours, which then drives the growth of the cancer, according to US research published on Thursday. We covered this preliminary but interesting work on our news feed.
  • The Government has recommended that all suitable patients should be offered sophisticated ‘image guided’ radiotherapy, or IGRT. Radiotherapy helps cure more cancers than cancer drugs, so we welcome anything that improves the treatment. There’s more information in our news article, and we will be publishing a blog article about the new guidance in the coming weeks.
  • We spotted this interesting article in The Guardian on Thursday about widespread unease around the proposed cut to the number of UK cancer networks as part of the NHS restructure. We’re part of the group of charities who have voiced their concerns over the changes, and we will continue to work hard to ensure that cancer patients are provided with the best possible care in the reformed NHS. We’ve written before about what we think the new NHS Commissioning Board should focus on – and you can expect more from us in the run up to the launch of the new NHS in April next year.
  • We were pleased to hear this week that Cancer Research UK’s Professor Jack Cuzick has won a major international award for his research. The AACR-Prevent Cancer Foundation Award for Excellence in Cancer Prevention Research is given for “seminal contributions to the field of cancer prevention”. If you want to know more about Jack’s work, a good place to start would be this interview.

And finally

  • Over 2,000 leading childhood cancer specialists from across the globe are coming to London this weekend for a major conference. A new ‘treatment alliance’ will be discussed at the conference. It will bring together researchers, pharmaceutical companies, regulatory authorities and patients and their parents. There’s more information in our press release, and we hope to report on what the conference covered in the next couple of weeks.


Gael Bage October 12, 2012

It is not something to be proud of to be treating thousands of people with cancer with new cancer drugs – we are not fodder for the drug companies profits. Put some of the top universities we are so proud of into action researching diet health, wellness and carcinogens in food and the environment.. doctors and nurses could save you money if they researched health and preventive medecine..we currently enjoy an illness service wedded to big pharma and profits ! This is posted here because so many of governments smug and self satisfied pronouncements on health have no space for comment. Our natural state is health, one in three with cancer is not acceptable time government looked at carcinogens in our food, furnishings ( flame retardent), in makeup and personal care products,, in cleaning products and pesticides, clear up the pollution in our environment its the only way ro reduce these horrific stats, yes you should be horrified – how many of your friends and family will get cancer, one in three, some will be children, even babies, have you ever nursed a three year old with terminal cancer it is heart rending – time to get active on reducing these unacceptable statistics !!

it is apalling that the government gives nothing to cancer research yet can afford to give 10 million to the wealthy pharmacetical industry for research – that speaks volumes!

I have just been reading the objectives for the new commission and cancer care and felt quite disheartened for they talked about outcomes and there was a total silence and acceptsance about the one in three cancer statistics – wake up this is a very costly epidemic of cancer, a flood of cancer – please turn off the tap !
I also looked at recommendations for labelling and healthy eating and it recommends a healthy diet labelling iignoring the fact that much of what is offered in stores is far from healthy. I want to know if it contains GM corn or pesticide residues proven to cause cancer and organ damage in rats, not just fat quantities, but if they are healthy fats etc and not just in very small print on the side of the packet – that many elderly can’t read. most manufactured food is laden with the less healthy fructose and glucose, even in the savoury products that most diabetics would think are safe, they probably can’t read the small print anyway Lets have clear labelling on front of packet, and those who wish to avoid GM and pesticide residues etc even in small quantities,