Skip to main content

Together we are beating cancer

Donate now
  • Science & Technology
  • Health & Medicine

News digest – tobacco tax, immunotherapy resurgence, oesophageal cancer and more

by Nick Peel | Analysis

3 January 2014

0 comments 0 comments

As we welcome in a new year, here’s a breakdown of the important cancer news stories that emerged over the festive period.

  • New research from our scientists highlighted how tripling tobacco tax globally could prevent 200 million premature deaths this century and cut smoking by a third. The Mail Online and our press release have more details.
  • We also released new figures showing that cancer death rates have fallen by over a fifth in the last 20 years. The Guardian and the Mail Online were among the many media outlets to cover the story.
  • Another good news story: the BBC and the Mail Online covered new lung cancer statistics showing that the number of people surviving the disease for at least one year has almost doubled over the last 20 years.
  • Research from our scientists revealed more oesophageal cancer patients are benefiting from chemotherapy prior to surgery than previously thought. See our press release for the details.
  • Our researchers also found how monitoring the genetic changes linked to a type of blood cancer could help spot when the disease switches from being manageable to aggressive. Our press release has more info.
  • An in depth genetic study looking at cervical cancer found new DNA changes linked to the disease and could offer opportunities for treatments in the future. The Huffington Post has more details.
  • The BBC covered research looking at the genetic clues that link an inherited condition called Lynch Syndrome to an increased risk of developing bowel and womb cancers. By refining the genetic information held in a DNA database the research could help doctors assess the risks of developing these cancers with greater accuracy.
  • This interesting article from The Economist highlights the various stages where researchers and drug companies link up to develop the latest cancer drugs.
  • And the importance of these links was emphasised as we announced a deal with AstraZeneca that could see a drug, developed to treat asthma, reused to tackle kidney cancer.
  • Despite some overenthusiastic headlines, promising early research from the US showed that injecting small portions of genetic material into the breast tissue of mice prevented an early form of breast cancer developing in three out of four animals. NHS Choices gave a more in depth breakdown of the results, highlighting how more research is needed to test if these results can be reproduced in women.

And finally

  • Whether it’s songs, films or viral internet sensations, a new year is usually accompanied by numerous ‘best of’ lists. One that jumped out at us was the announcement from the journal Science that cancer immunotherapy was its ‘breakthrough of the year’. The Independent covered the announcement and the journal Nature also talked about the “groundswell of research on the immune system”. We’re funding scientists across the country looking at new ways to turn the body’s immune system against cancer, and agree this is an exciting area of research.