• The consultation on proposed changes to the Cancer Drugs Fund in England closed this week. We blogged about how making these changes would be a positive first step towards making the system truly work for patients, and Government budgets.
  • Although slightly improved, a worrying trend continued this quarter as a key NHS cancer waiting time target was missed again – making it two years since it was last met. Our graphic below has the details.


  • A survey we published showed strong public backing for action to tackle childhood obesity. Sky News has more, and now it’s up to the Government to take action.
  • New guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) on balancing the risks and benefits of being out in strong sun were published. Though we were disappointed that much of the coverage ignored the recommendations to spend time in the shade and cover up with clothing.
  • Will it or won’t it? The debate around whether a sugary drinks tax will appear in the long-awaited Government childhood obesity strategy continues, according to the BBC.

Number of the week


The number of patients who have had to wait longer than two months to start cancer treatment in England

  • It’s never simple – and it isn’t actually a test yet – but US scientists have ‘laid the groundwork’ for picking up a specific chemical change in tumour DNA found in the blood. There’s a lot more to be done on this before it could be used to diagnose patients though, as NHS Choices point out.
  • Testing advanced bowel tumours for a fault in the Ras gene could help doctors select the best treatment options for their patients, according to our scientists.
  • Immune cells from donated umbilical cord blood killed lymphoma cells in mice more effectively than immune cells from adult blood, reports New Scientist.
  • It sounds bizarre, but US scientists are testing to see whether modified cancer cells can be injected back into mice where they then seek out and destroy tumours. STAT News has the details.
  • The Independent profiled some upcoming clinical trials testing whether a patient’s own immune cells can be turned against their tumour.
  • Our researchers uncovered a molecule that may work as a control ‘switch’, helping breast cancer cells enter blood vessels before spreading around the body. Read our press release for the details.
  • Discover Magazine ran this feature on our Citizen Science project Reverse The Odds.
  • NHS equipment, including scanners and radiotherapy machines, need updating in many hospitals, according to reports from Sky News and the Guardian.

And finally

  • Swiss scientists have developed a scanner for measuring the levels of an enzyme in banana skins. So the Mail Online may have slipped up by claiming these early stage findings ‘could help cure skin cancer’ by picking up levels of the enzyme in melanomas – this hasn’t been tested yet.