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News digest – lung cancer, immunotherapy, screening and… orange juice?

by Henry Scowcroft | Analysis

4 July 2015

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  • We released new lung cancer statistics showing how cases of the disease among women have reached 20,000. Here’s our press release – the story got wide coverage, including on the BBC and ITV, who also showcased some of our work on the disease (which you can read more about in this blog post).
  • A new immunotherapy drug for skin and lung cancer – nivolumab – was made available on the NHS across UK for suitable patients under a rapid access scheme. The BBC has more; here’s our post about how the drug works.
  • We launched a new ‘Pioneer Award’ to fund revolutionary ideas in cancer research – more in this press release and blog post.
  • The Daily Mail covered an opinion piece review by two researchers, who think that the way radiation risk is measured could potentially overestimate the harms of X-rays and CT scans. Here’s our information on medical imaging
  • Increasing rates of obesity – an important cause of cancer – are being driven by the ‘sheer abundance of food’ in Western countries, according to a WHO report covered here by the Telegraph.

Number of the week


The number above which annual cases of lung cancer in women has risen

  • Sense About Science launched a new version of their useful booklet Making Sense of Screening, to help people understand what screening can offer – and especially what it can’t. It covers all types of screening, not just cancer screening. We’ll be taking an in depth look at some of the common misunderstandings and questions we encounter, on this blog next week.
  • Researchers studying inflammation and wound healing – in zebrafish – made a fascinating but preliminary discovery that could suggests that surgery and biospies might affect how a cancer subsequently grows. We need to stress again – this was in zebrafish. Not people. Here’s a nice take on the research in Drug Discovery & Development magazine.
  • Our researchers at the Institute of Cancer Research have worked out the 3D structure of the ‘proteasome’ – a fundamental protein-based garbage disposal machine in our cells. The discovery could lead to better, more targeted cancer drugs.
  • The Guardian looked at a new NHS report on variations in bowel cancer treatment around the UK.
  • Professor Steve Jackson – one of our researchers – wrote this engaging personal account for Business Weekly, about the trials he faced setting up a biotech company.
  • The American Association of Cancer Research’s blog had a brilliant two-parter about the challenges of developing effective drugs against a key cancer protein called EGFRhere’s part 1, and here’s part 2.
  • Ranjana Srivastava – a cancer doctor – wrote this beautiful piece for the Guardian’s comment pages, about the braveness and heroism of her patients and the importance, as a doctor, of ‘looking after the little things’.
  • And at the Institute of Cancer Research in London, Professor Paul Workman wrote this in-depth blog post about the importance of laboratory research in developing new treatments.

And finally…

  • “Is there a link between orange juice and skin cancer?” asks the Daily Mail. “Some caution should be taken when reading the Mail’s article,” replied NHS Choices. Enjoy the sun safely, with or without fruit juice, say we.