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News digest – ‘Drugging the undruggable’, Hugh Jackman, crispy chips and more

by Nick Peel | Analysis

23 November 2013

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  • In the big research news of the week, scientists found a potential new way to target an important cancer molecule that had been considered ‘undruggable’. The Telegraph and our news story have more details and we spoke to a couple of our experts to get their take on this important research.
  • Reports that Hugh Jackman has been treated for a type of skin cancer called basal cell carcinoma featured heavily in the headlines. We pulled together some important information about this common but highly curable cancer.
  • We released some new statistics showing that more than eight in 10 children with cancer now survive. Take a look at the press release or coverage from the Mail Online for a breakdown of the numbers.
  • Our researchers found a potential new way to spot which prostate tumours could be aggressive. The Telegraph covered this and NHS Choices took an in-depth look at the research.
  • More research from our scientists found that the body’s immune system could provide a useful early warning system to flag that a cancer may return. The Independent covered this and our press release has more detail.
  • And in other immune system news, the New Scientist gave an interesting breakdown of how reprogramming the immune system could provide new treatment options for patients with leukaemia.
  • We announced our continued investment in research centres across the country. See the press release for more details.
  • A couple of new research papers found that the bacteria that naturally live in the gut could play an important role in how cancer patients respond to treatment. We covered the work and the New Scientist has more detail on this emerging concept.
  • The BBC gave an interesting summary of how the language we use to describe cancer has changed over the years.
  • We were sad to hear of the death of Frederick Sanger this week. The two-time Nobel Prize winner made an immeasurable impact on research around the world. The BBC summed up his staggering contribution to science.
  • Nature gave an interesting account of the research back-story linking human papillomavirus (HPV) infection to head and neck cancers.
  • Research Fortnight had an informative article on what information should be provided to women about cancer screening.

And finally

  • The Mail Online covered a US report that a chemical found in some foods – like well-cooked chips – makes them more likely to give you cancer. Although the chemical, called acrylamide, has been shown to cause cancer in mice, the doses used in the lab were in huge excess of what might be found in food suggesting it’s unlikely they would cause cancer. The best advice is to eat a healthy, balanced diet with regular exercise to reduce your risk of a number of cancers.