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News digest – Government science funding, exercise and prostate cancer, drug approval and more

by Nick Peel | Analysis

20 December 2014

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  • The UK Government announced its ‘£6 billion commitment’ to UK science. Here’s the BBC’s take.
  • Our scientists discovered the unique genetic paths that the childhood brain tumour medulloblastoma follows when the disease comes back. Read the press release for more info.
  • Swedish researchers found that moderate physical activity appears to reduce death rates among men diagnosed with prostate cancer that hasn’t spread.
  • Our scientists have shown that loss of a gene called PTEN triggers some cases of an aggressive form of ovarian cancer. Here’s the press release for more info.
  • People who have problems with numbers may be more likely to feel negative about bowel cancer screening, according to a study from our scientists. Here’s the press release for more details.
  • The ovarian cancer drug olaparib has been approved for use in Europe by the European Commission. Reuters covered the announcement, and you can read about the development of the drug in this blog post.
  • And the National Institute for Health and Care Excellent (NICE) said ‘yes’ to the drug axitinib for treating some patients with advanced kidney cancer.
  • While discussions around the Cancer Drugs Fund continued.
  • This article from the Telegraph questioned radiotherapy facilities in the NHS – something we’ve been looking at in collaboration with NHS England.
  • A combined analysis of previous studies into e-cigarettes shows they may be useful in helping people to quit or cut down on smoking. But experts said it’s still early days as there are still only a small number of studies looking into this – here’s the BBC and the Guardian’s take on the findings. And here’s our most recent post about e-cigarettes covering the potential for these products in the fight against tobacco – the leading preventable cause of cancer.
  • New legislation has been announced that will make it illegal to smoke in a vehicle that is carrying a child. Here’s the BBC and Guardian’s reports.
  • The potential cancer-preventing properties of certain painkillers surfaced again this week – this time through research on skin cancer. The BBC has more on this, making the important point that a lot more research is needed to better understand any potential benefits.
  • Our chief clinician, Professor Peter Johnson, wrote this article about antibiotic resistance and cancer for the Longitude Prize blog.
  • Reuters had this interesting article on using 3D printers to produce models of tumours to test drug-dosing in patients.

And finally

  • We’re often asked about the cost of cancer drugs and why we work with the pharmaceutical industry. So we wrote this two-part series to explain exactly that.