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News digest – £8m from #nomakeupselfie, 50 years of Epstein-Barr virus, lung cancer discovery and more

by Nick Peel | Analysis

29 March 2014

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  • After an unprecedented surge in donations over the last week, the #nomakeupselfie phenomenon raised an amazing sum of more than £8 million to fund our life-changing research. We can now completely fund 10 clinical trials, some of which we were previously unable to fully fund or couldn’t afford to fund at all. Read more on the campaign in the Huffington Post and this blog post answers some of the questions we’ve received.
  • This week marked the 50th anniversary of the discovery of Epstein-Barr virus and its links to cancer. Our researchers revealed that a vaccine against EBV has the potential to prevent an additional 200,000 new cancer cases worldwide each year. The Huffington Post covered this and our animation shows the impact the infection has across the globe.

  • We launched a new clinical trial to test a vaccine that could be used to treat some forms of cancer caused by EBV. Our press release has more details.
  • And you can read about the discovery of EBV and the research linking it to cancer in our latest “Cancer and Infections” blog post.
  • New research from our scientists revealed the shape of a hyperactive protein responsible for the rapid growth of some lung cancer cells. The discovery could provide new ways to select which patients might benefit from a new type of drug. Our press release has more and you can read the researcher’s take on their findings in this blog post.
  • And an early stage clinical trial testing a new drug that targets the same hyperactive lung cancer protein showed promising results. The trial involved a small number of people with late stage lung cancer, so there’s still a lot more testing to follow. MedicalXpress has more info.
  • New research from our scientists working on the Million Women Study found that women who eat organic food are no less likely to develop cancer than women who eat a more conventional diet. The Guardian and the Telegraph have more details.
  • A heat treatment that kills abnormal cells could benefit more people with a condition called Barrett’s oesophagus than previously thought. Our news story has more.
  • This interesting article from The Guardian covered the communities of bacteria that populate our digestive system – collectively known as the ‘microbiome’ – and how scientists at the Institute of Cancer Research are testing how the microbiome may affect the way people with prostate cancer respond to radiotherapy.
  • Our Chief Clinician, Professor Peter Johnson, wrote this interesting piece in The Conversation about the progress that’s been made in treating cancer and where the challenges remain.

And finally

  • Mushrooms, peaches or carrots? The Mail Online was on a roll this week reporting the supposed cancer fighting properties of each of these fruits and veg. Eating a healthy, balanced diet can reduce your risk of several types of cancer. But it’s unlikely that a single fruit or veg will have the same effect. For more on the seemingly never-ending ‘superfood’ cycle read our blog post on 10 persistent cancer myths.