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News digest – Prostate cancer drug, sugary drinks, soundwave treatment and… beer?

by Misha Gajewski | Analysis

26 March 2016

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  • The Telegraph spoke with Professor Charles Swanton, a researcher at the Cancer Research UK- funded Crick Institute, and asked: “How close are we to curing cancer?”
  • The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) announced that the prostate cancer drug abiraterone will be available on the NHS to patients before chemotherapy. We covered this, as did the Daily Mail and Telegraph.
  • The BBC and Guardian, among others, reported that fruit juices, juice drinks and smoothies can contain ‘unacceptably high’ levels of sugar, according to researchers and a campaign group. Fruit juices and smoothies are exempt from the proposed sugar tax, unless they contain added sugar.

Number of the week


The average number of teaspoons of sugar found in fruit smoothies according to the survey published in the journal BMJ Open.

  • The Metro questioned whether Easter eggs should also face a sugar tax. But what someone eats in a normal week is more important for their weight and health than the occasional treat.
  • A study looking at treating prostate cancer with ultrasound found the treatment could offer fewer side effects than surgery or radiotherapy. The Daily Mail has more.
  • Monitoring head and neck cancer patients with scans could help identify those who need surgery to check whether treatment has been successful, reported the BBC.
  • A study looking at childhood cancer survivors found that men were more likely to have fertility problems later in life than women. Although, half of the men in the study were still able to father children. The Daily Mail and Telegraph covered this.
  • Early research from Imperial College London may have found a molecule that could be targeted to switch off breast and lung cancer cells’ ability to move. Gizmag has the details.
  • Reuters reported on an interesting US study that found doctors often have trouble agreeing on when abnormal breast cells can be called ‘cancer’.
  • New figures from the Office for National Statistics revealed that cancer survival in England is improving, but there are still significant variations between different regions. The greatest differences were seen in bowel, bladder and cervical cancers. The Daily Mail and Mirror reported on this.
  • STAT News gives an interesting look into the competitive world of research to find a way to diagnose cancer from a blood sample.
  • In a peculiar link, US scientists discovered that the same genes that give people a cowlick are regulated by a protein linked to cancer. The Daily Mail has more details.
  • Also fascinating, a team of scientists added a light-responsive protein into tadpole cells and used it as an on-off switch to stop tumours from growing in adult frogs. Gizmodo reported this, but it’s still very early days.

And finally…

  • Chemicals found in the hops that give your favourite brew its bitterness may kill cancer cells in a lab, but that doesn’t mean that beer – or even the hops themselves – will be able to treat cancer. The Huffington Post and Vice News reported on research trying to study these chemicals, but it’s yet to be published in a scientific journal – so best to put it on ice for now.