Scientists are developing light-activated nanoparticles to kill cancer cells Credit: Harry Gui on Unsplash  

With news about the coronavirus pandemic developing daily, we want to make sure everyone affected by cancer gets the information they need during this time. 

We’re pulling together the latest government and NHS health updates from across the UK in a separate blog post, which we’re updating regularly. 

New rare blood cancer treatment gets green light for NHS in England 

A new combined therapy with the drug brentuximab has been approved for adults with a rare type of fast-growing lymphoma. Clinical trial evidence suggests the treatment could give people with this type of blood cancer more time before their disease progresses. More on this in our news report 

Government announces new push to tackle obesity 

Boris Johnson is set to announce restrictions on multi-buy and similar price promotions on a range of foods high in fat, sugar or salt in a bid to tackle rising obesity in the UK, according to The Times (£) and Guardian. The announcement comes off the back of evidence showing that 40% of food spending goes on products on promotion. However, health campaigners have expressed their disappointment at the seeming lack of action on junk food marketing. According to the leaked documents, a 9pm watershed on junk food adverts is ‘not on the cards at this time’, although the plans may change in the coming weeks.

Light-activated nanoparticles target cancer 

Scientists have developed light-activated nanoparticles that kill skin cancer cells in mice. The treatment involves linking tiny particles to short pieces of RNA that inhibit the production of essential proteins that cancer cells need to survive. It’s early days yet, but scientists are hopeful that the light-activated technology can help to reduce side effects and make the treatment more targeted. Read more on this at New Atlas.   

Scientists discover how cellular ‘glue’ can disrupt division  

An excess of a protein that’s essential to cell division – PRC1 – has been linked to many types of cancer, including prostate, ovarian and breast. Now scientists have found that the protein acts as a glue during cell division, precisely controlling the speed at which DNA strands separate as a single cell divides. These findings could help to explain why too much or too little PRC1 disrupts the division process and can be linked to cancer developing. Full story at Technology Networks.

AI investment to help improve lung cancer diagnosis 

Earlier this month, the Government announced over £16 million pounds in research funding to help improve the diagnosis of cancer and other life-threatening diseases, with Cancer Research UK putting in £3 million. Some of that money will go towards an Oxford-led project to improve lung cancer diagnosis. The team hope to use artificial intelligence to combine clinical, imaging and molecular data and make lung cancer diagnosis more accurate. More on this at Digital Health 

Partnership to develop new custom antibodies for cancer research 

We’ve partnered with Abcam to develop custom antibodies that could facilitate cancer research. Dr John Baker at Abcam said: “We are proud to be working with Cancer Research UK to support their scientists and help them achieve their next breakthrough faster.” Find out more at Cambridge Independent

And finally…. 

Technology Networks reports on a new study that has taken a closer look at how tiny bubble-like structures called vesicles can help cancer cells spread. Scientists found that vesicles from cancer cells contained high levels of proteins with lipid molecules attached, which are associated with the spread of cancer. We’ve blogged before about how tumours spread.

Scarlett Sangster is a writer for PA Media Group