Skip to main content

Together we are beating cancer

Donate now
  • Science & Technology
  • Health & Medicine

News digest – genetic ‘car crashes’, cancer stem cells, measles virus and more

by Nick Peel | Analysis

17 May 2014

0 comments 0 comments

  • The main news this week was the untimely death of inspirational cancer patient and campaigner 19 year-old Stephen Sutton. Thousands of people posted tributes and messages all around the web, including on our Facebook page.
  • Our scientists discovered how a molecule called RECQL5 helps prevent potentially cancer-causing ‘car crashes’ between proteins on our DNA. Here’s our press release and this blog post explores the research in more detail.
  • Despite some misleading mentions of ‘cures’, a fascinating bit of early research identified a group of ‘cancer stem cells’ at the root of a type of blood cancer in people with a disorder called myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). The Independent has more.
  • A new study found no difference in cancer risk or death rates between people with high or low levels of resveratrol – a chemical found in red wine – among 800 people in the Chianti region of Italy. The BBC covered this and NHS Choices had an in depth look at the findings.
  • The hot topic of immunotherapy – harnessing the body’s own immune system to target cancer – featured in several news stories this week. The Guardian covered some new results for a promising drug which is being tested in lung cancer.
  • And New Scientist covered results from trials of another similar drug also being tested in lung cancer.
  • Immunotherapy also featured in this article from the Mail Online covering a different experimental approach of utilising a patient’s own immune cells to target tumours – an exciting approach, but worth bearing in mind this was just one patient.
  • New research on mobile phone use and brain tumours generated a few misleading headlines. It’s important to look at all the evidence before making these claims and our blog post explains why, despite these headlines, mobile phones are unlikely to cause brain tumours.
  • A group of MPs called for more restrictions on sunbeds, including a ban on unmanned tanning salons. The Telegraph and our news story have more info.
  • Consumer magazine Which? found that several types of sunscreen didn’t give as much protection as their packaging said they should. We covered the story on our news feed, as did the Telegraph.
  • The Guardian covered a new agreement on openness in research working with animals.
  • The World Cancer Research Fund called for children to be more physically active to reduce their chances of developing cancer in later life. The Express covered this, and you can read more on physical activity and cancer on our healthy living pages.
  • The Guardian and the Independent covered a warning from Human Rights Watch that US child workers are ‘endangered’ by nicotine exposure in tobacco fields.
  • Dogs. Again.

And finally

  • Could measles cure cancer, the Mail Online asks? No, but a modified version of the virus is being tested in very early stage trials, encouraging the immune system to target a type of cancer called myeloma that starts in the bone marrow. The Telegraph also fell foul of the trap of claiming doctors had injected two patients with a “massive dose of the measles virus,” which simply isn’t true. Read our blog post for more on what the research really shows.

And finally finally

  • Lobsters, cancer and Ecuadorian dwarves. It can only be the Daily Mail.