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News digest – children’s cancer death rates fall, Spending Review, childhood obesity stats and…meat sales?

by Nick Peel | Analysis

28 November 2015

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What has happened to sausage sales?
  • Children’s cancer death rates have fallen by almost a quarter in the last 10 years, according to our latest figures. The Mirror, Sun and Sky News covered this, and we caught up with children’s cancer expert, Professor Richard Gilbertson, to get his take on the improvements.
  • And two studies reinforced the need to focus on the long-term side-effects of treatment as these survival figures for children’s cancers continue to improve. Reuters has the details.
  • George Osborne announced how much money different government departments will have to spend in the next five years. Here’s our analysis of what this means for science and cancer.
  • An early-stage clinical trial in Sheffield and Manchester is set to test a new ‘Trojan-horse therapy’ that uses a patient’s immune cells to deliver a cancer-killing virus to prostate tumours. The Mail Online has the details.
  • More promising data emerged for a combination of two immunotherapy drugs – ipilimumab and nivolumab – for people with advanced melanoma, according to the Mail Online.

Number of the week


The percentage drop in children’s cancer death rates over the last 10 years

  • And early lab research revealed that combining an immunotherapy drug with the breast cancer drug trastuzumab (Herceptin) could shrink drug-resistant tumours in mice. The Mail Online had this story too, but it’s still early days.
  • Scientists around the world are very excited about how a new gene-editing technology, called CRISPR, could help understand what fuels cancer. This article from The Atlantic explains why.
  • The Government has been urged to act immediately in response to the “alarming” number of children who are overweight or obese when leaving primary school in England. Guardian and BBC covered the latest figures.
  • And we looked at the three leading scientific theories behind how obesity causes cancer.
  • This article in the Guardian looked at how charities can help support the NHS.
  • The Guardian also ran this touching tribute to Professor Jane Wardle, who died last month.
  • Experts at a UK breast cancer prevention centre reported an increase in preventative double mastectomies since Angelina Jolie announced that she had undergone the procedure in 2013. Sky News, the Mirror and the Mail Online covered this.
  • Is a cheap-to-make pill worth more than futuristic therapies? Forbes explores how pricing certain cancer drugs based on what they cost to manufacture might make sense (if you ignore how much it costs to develop the drug in the first place).

And finally

  • Bacon and sausage sales have been burned following the recent World Health Organisation announcement on processed meat and cancer (unless you read the Express of course). The Guardian has more on this, and here’s our blog post covering the meat of the issue.