A lung cancer cell. Credit LRI EM Unit

Taking blood during surgery could predict lung cancer’s return

Researchers have found that taking blood from veins draining the lung during surgery can help predict the likelihood of lung cancer returning after surgery. The study, reported in the Mail Online and The Times (£), is part of Cancer Research UK’s TRACERx programme, which aims understand how lung cancer evolves. Researchers hope that by predicting whose cancer is most likely to return, they can get smarter about how to treat the disease.

Read our blog post for all you need to know about the latest results or watch our video about the research.

Professor Dame Sally Davies gives final report as England’s chief medical officer

Sally Davies’ last report as acting CMO – Time to Solve Childhood Obesity – calls on the government to stem the tide of unhealthy food and drink, and allow children to grow up free from marketing, signals and incentives to consume unhealthy food and drinks. The report comes in the same week as a different report, showing that the levels of severe obesity in children 10-11 years old are at a record high, according the The Guardian. The Times (£) featured the story on their front page, and also did a supportive editorial, highlighting the positive impact of regulation and taxes to improve public health.

Much of the media, including The Guardian, focused on the report’s call to ban snacks on public transport. But the Mail Online also made the links to ‘The Hundred’ cricket tournament’s sponsorship by a snack food company; and the BBC looked at the wider political context of the Government’s Childhood Obesity Plan.

Scientists investigate using CRISPR to treat cancer in mice

Researchers in Australia have used the gene-editing technology CRISPR, to treat cervical cancer that’s driven by the human papillomavirus in mice. The results led to lofty headlines from the Mail Online, but we can’t extend the results in mice to humans. There’s an extremely long way to go before scientists understand if and how this technology could be used to treat cancer, as we’ve blogged about before. The Brisbane Times provides a more balanced overview.

Delays in diagnosing secondary breast cancer

According to a new survey reported by the BBC, one in four secondary breast cancer diagnoses take three or more visits to the GP. This has led some experts to call for GPs to have better diagnostic tools, and training to use them.

Three new drugs made available on the NHS in Scotland

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has made three new drugs available for use on the NHS in Scotland. This includes a new CAR T cell therapy and a personalised immunotherapy. However, two other drugs were rejected for use. Our news report has all you need to know.

‘Unique’ immune cell found in breast tissue for the first time

Mail Online reported on a study this week that identified an unusual immune cell in human breast tissue that could help the immune system control cancer. Gamma delta T cells are most commonly found in the skin or the gut, but scientists discovered that women who had higher levels of gamma delta T cells in their breast tissue were more likely to survive their cancer. So far scientists have only looked at samples from 11 women, but they say the results open up exciting new avenues for research into better ways to treat the disease.

A new way to check for breast cancer in Colombia

A short video from the BBC tells the story of the blind and visually impaired people in Colombia who are using their heightened sense of touch to help check for signs of breast cancer in patients. The project, called Manos que Salvan Vidas or Hands that Save Lives could detect signs of breast cancer in addition to screening. People in the UK shouldn’t worry about regularly checking their breasts, but instead get to know their body and what’s normal for them. For those who want to take it up, breast screening is available for women aged 50-74 in the UK.

Advanced ovarian cancer treatment now more widely available

We reported on the approval of a targeted treatment for advanced ovarian cancer for use on the NHS in England. The drug, called rucaparib was developed by Cancer Research UK scientists based at Newcastle University in the 1990s, in collaboration with industry partners. It will be paid for by the Cancer Drugs Fund.

And finally

When it comes to fast food and health, most people focus on what’s in the containers. But a study reported in the Mail Online, observed that chemicals which are found in some takeaway packaging, and have been linked to infertility and cancer, are at higher levels in people who eat more takeaways. But experts responded by saying that considering all the scientific evidence available, there’s no need to worry about chemicals from food packaging increasing cancer risk. And there are better health reasons to cut down on takeaways than what it’s served in.

Ethan