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News digest – ‘top four’ death rates drop, Bob Marley, Botox and more

by Nick Peel | Analysis

23 August 2014

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  • We released new statistics showing that death rates for the top four cancer killers – breast, bowel lung and prostate cancer – have fallen by a third in the last 20 years. The Guardian, the Mail Online and the Telegraph were among the many media outlets to cover the new figures.
  • And here are some inspiring stories from across the country, of people who are helping save lives by funding research as part of our partnership with the Telegraph.
  • Perhaps better known for its wrinkle-fighting properties, Botox hit the (overstated) headlines following US research on how signals from nerves might help stomach cancer grow. This BBC article was our pick of the coverage, and we spoke to a stomach cancer expert about the findings for this blog post.
  • Our researchers discovered new genetic details about the rare form of skin cancer that killed Bob Marley. The Express covered the story, here’s the press release, and you can read more in our blog post.
  • US researchers discovered that a modified form of a bacterium called Clostridium novyi was able to shrink a type of spontaneous tumour in dogs. New Scientist has more on this.
  • This article from The Institute of Cancer Research explores the idea of interfering with the machinery cancer cells use to divide to improve radiotherapy.
  • Research on dogs sniffing out cancer appeared in the Telegraph. As we’ve written before, it’s unlikely we’ll see dogs in the clinic, but research on how man’s best friend may be able to detect smelly chemicals released by tumours is fascinating and could lead to the development of ‘electronic noses’ in the future.
  • Following recent research on breast cancer risk in women with a particular faulty gene, this excellent article from the New York Times explores genetic testing to predict cancer.
  • Forbes had this article on some of the work involved in developing advanced genetic tests that can spot the faulty genes targeted by the next generation of cancer drugs.
  • And this article from The Conversation digs deeper into the genome, looking at the processes that influence our genes beyond the simple string of genetic ‘letters’ found in our DNA.
  • The Independent published an opinion piece on the cervical screening age. You can read more about the screening programme, and how age isn’t the only subject of debate, in this blog post.

And finally

  • In a classic example of getting your risks in a twist, the Mail Online and the Express gave a misleading slant to a study published last year looking at how drinking coffee during pregnancy might affect the risk of childhood leukaemia. This excellent blog post from our colleagues at Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research clears things up.