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News digest – MPs support standardised packaging, spotting symptoms, global cancer map and more

by Nick Peel | Analysis

15 February 2014

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  • Fantastic news emerged from the House of Commons this week as MPs overwhelmingly agreed that they want to see standardised packaging for tobacco products in the UK. For more details on the next steps for standard packs read our blog post.
  • The results of an independent review also showed that the evidence tobacco companies cite to try to thwart the introduction of standardised tobacco packaging is weak. The Independent has more info.
  • The tobacco news continued as research showed the number of people smoking in England has fallen below 20 per cent for the first time in around 80 years. The Mail Online and our news story have more details.
  • But despite this fall in smoking rates, our latest figures show that very few people are aware of the death toll due to smoking in the UK. The Information Daily has more info.
  • People with mouth and oesophageal cancers are leaving it longer between first noticing a symptom and visiting their GP compared to people with other cancers. The Mail Online and the Mirror covered the research and one of our research nurses shared her own story about why acting on symptoms early is so important.
  • Our latest statistics showed that the global death toll from cancer is 50 per cent higher in men than women. The Mail Online has more info and The Guardian’s data blog featured our interactive map, which you can also explore here.
  • We announced a new partnership with the Royal Marsden looking to improve early diagnosis by working with GPs to help spot the warning signs of cancer early. OnMedica covered the announcement and we took an in depth look at the challenges GPs face in spotting cancer and how we’re supporting them.
  • The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) called for a change to current EU regulations that allow some clinical trials to be carried out on just adults, without exploring the benefits that the drugs may have on children with cancer. New Scientist covered this and NHS Choices gave an excellent breakdown of the current regulations and what they mean for clinical trials.
  • The Telegraph reported that a promising new breast cancer drug called T-DM1 has been made available for patients in England via the Cancer Drugs Fund. We’ve written before about the promise of such ‘antibody-drug conjugates’ like T-DM1.
  • US researchers identified a cell that could trigger the onset of a type of blood cancer called acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). The so called ‘pre-leukaemic stem cell’ may also survive treatment for AML, providing potential clues about how some cases of AML become resistant to therapy. Medical Xpress has more info.
  • New research showed that women diagnosed with early stage breast cancer linked to BRCA gene faults were more likely to survive if they underwent a double mastectomy compared to having a single breast removed. The study highlights the need for more research to ensure women have the best information possible to help them make decisions about surgery – The Guardian has more.
  • Although the headlines about a “curry implant” are misleading, new research showed that a spice extract called curcumin was able to slow the growth of breast cancers in mice. There’s more information about our clinical trial of curcumin to treat bowel cancer in this post.

And finally

  • Last week’s coverage of research on high dose vitamin C injections continued with NHS Choices taking an in depth look at the research and this piece from Science Based Medicine highlighting the complexities of the discussion around vitamin C and cancer.