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News digest – re-classifying cancer, shark antibodies, Herceptin and more

by Oliver Childs | Analysis

28 September 2013

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It’s time to mull over the week’s news

  • A US-led initiative published a series of fascinating research papers reinforcing the idea that cancers should be classed not just by where they appear in the body but by the molecular changes they share. More in our news story, Nature and the Economist.
  • We couldn’t help but notice this story in the Telegraph about research to harness shark antibodies to help tackle breast cancer. It’s obviously early days, but certainly interesting.
  • The Mail Online and others reported a study that “marriage improves cancer survival”. NHS Choices has a more in-depth analysis. It’s unclear why the study found this, but it could be partly down to people helping to prompt their partners to go to the doctor early.  Our take home message: married or not, people should go to the doctor as soon as they develop a symptom they are concerned about.
  • The Mail Online also reported that a new form of injectable Herceptin is to be made available on the NHS. This is good news, as it could speed up treatment for women who need the drug. NHS England has more info.
  • There were also several headlines about a new NHS-approved test that will help doctors better predict whether a woman’s breast cancer could return after surgery. This NHS Choices analysis is our pick of the bunch. 
  • Another well-known science blogger, PZ Myers, wrote these excellent articles about oncogenes and tumour suppressors. Pirate hat optional.

And finally


Images courtesy of Jon s, via Flickr.