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News digest – breast cancer trial, ‘cough campaign’, green kidneys and more

by Nick Peel | Analysis

14 December 2013

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  • In the big research news of the week, our scientists released the results of an important clinical trial showing that the breast cancer drug anastrozole halves the chance of breast cancer developing in high risk women. The BBC and The Guardian were among many who covered this and we took an in-depth look at the findings.
  • The Be Clear on Cancer lung cancer campaign, which urged people with a persistent cough to visit their doctor, has led to an increase in lung cancer detection. The BBC has more and we shared a personal account from someone involved in the campaign.
  • Our scientists discovered a gene that is switched off in around one per cent of cancers, which could provide vital clues for how to target these tumours. The Mail Online covered it and our news story has more info.
  • The latest global cancer statistics revealed a predicted rise in worldwide cancer cases to 19 million a year by 2025. The BBC covered this and our news story has more details.
  • The skin cancer drug vemurafenib has been approved by the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC), bringing Scotland in line with England where the drug is already available. The BBC has more info.
  • In a high-tech advance for kidney cancer surgery, a green dye used to illuminate a patient’s kidney could help surgeons spot tumours and remove them more precisely – preventing the need to remove the entire organ. The Mail Online has more details.
  • The BBC covered new figures showing there are 10,000 children under 14 living with cancer in the UK. The analysis reveals important issues surrounding support for children living with cancer and those who survive the disease – you can hear a talk from one of our childhood cancer experts touching on some of these issues here.
  • The Mail Online covered reports from a US cancer conference suggesting that a combination of two drugs – Herceptin and taxol – could provide a useful treatment for women with a certain type of breast cancer. It’s early days, but we look forward to hearing more about this research once it’s published.
  • And in more conference news, an early-stage clinical trial revealed how a potential new drug could benefit patients with a particular type of advanced leukaemia. The Guardian has more on these promising early results.

And finally

  • As we approach the end of the year, a number of organisations are looking back over achievements from 2013. The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) released their 2013 progress report this week and Science Daily highlighted some important issues in it including research into the genetic changes that drive cancer, finding new ways to block cancers that are resistant to current treatments and exciting new approaches harnessing the body’s immune system to stop tumour growth.