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News digest – Genes in Space, lung cancer drug trial, early access to medicines and more

by Nick Peel | Analysis

15 March 2014

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  • In one month, citizen scientists playing our Genes in Space smartphone game have crunched DNA data that would have taken our researchers six months to analyse by eye. See our press release for more details and our infographic below highlights the figures. For more on the game and to join the thousands playing, read this blog post.infographic v_14
  • We announced a new lung cancer clinical trial testing a drug originally designed to treat breast cancer. The BBC has more details.
  • People with advanced cancers could be offered early access to innovative and promising medicines via a scheme designed to fast track them into the NHS. The BBC and our news story have more and you can read our take on the scheme in this blog post.
  • The Guardian covered a reassessment of the evidence linking weight gain and women’s risk of developing ovarian cancer. The World Cancer Research Fund International (WCRF) reported a probable link between keeping a healthy weight and a lower risk of ovarian cancer. We don’t think there’s enough evidence at the moment to be sure of a link, but research has shown that keeping to a healthy weight means a lower risk of many other types of cancer. Read more on our healthy living pages.
  • And as The Express points out, keeping a healthy weight is one of several ways you can cut your risk of developing many types of cancer.
  • Wednesday marked No Smoking Day and a coalition of health organisations called for a five per cent above inflation tax rise on cigarettes. Our news story has more and you can read about the options available if you’re trying to quit for good in this blog post.
  • Claims by the tobacco industry that plain, standardised cigarette packing has had “no impact” in Australia except increasing illegal cigarette smuggling were questioned by official Australian customs figures showing no such rise. The Sydney Morning Herald has more.
  • Women suffering swelling in their arms – known as lymphoedema – following breast cancer treatment could benefit from exercise according to updated National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines. The BBC covered this and NHS Choices took an in depth look at the evidence.
  • Fascinating research from the US has traced the evolution of lung cancer in mice. The work could lead to new insights into how to treat the disease in people. Medical News Today has more info.

And finally

  • The Wellcome Trust announced its 2014 image prize winners this week, including a striking picture of breast cancer cells dying after treatment. The BBC featured an animated gallery of the winners and you can read more about the importance of imaging in our research in our Science Snaps blog series.