• We reported on a promising immunotherapy drug, nivolumab (Opdivo), being made available to certain lung cancer patients in England. NICE, who decides on availability of NHS treatments, said it could be given to patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer through the Cancer Drugs Fund. NICE came to an arrangement with the drug’s manufacturer to lower the price while its effectiveness is being assessed. BBC News and The Times also covered this one.
  • Smokers are quitting at the highest rate in 10 years, and success is partly being put down to the popularity of e-cigarettes. These are being suggested as an option in this year’s Stoptober campaign in England for the first time, as BBC News reports. Last year more than half of people who took part in Stoptober used e-cigarettes to try to quit. Check out our news report for more.
  • BBC News also covered how we joined other health groups in Scotland to deal with confusion around vaping. Research has shown that e-cigarettes are almost certainly far safer than smoking, and it’s vital that smokers know this when the habit still accounts for more than 1 in 4 cancer deaths in the UK. You can find answers to common questions on e-cigarettes here.

Number of the week


The number of different kinds of medulloblastoma, the most common form of childhood brain tumour

  • There are 7 types of the most common childhood brain tumour, according to BBC News. Medulloblastoma affects around 70 children a year in the UK and treatment includes surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Scientists at Newcastle and Northumbria Universities who carried out the research hope that their work will lead to more targeted treatments that reduce side-effects. iNews also had this story.
  • Patients aren’t being sent for urgent cancer tests because GPs don’t want to worry patients unnecessarily, according to The Telegraph. In interviews as part of an in depth study, doctors also said they are under pressure to reduce costs, or that they weren’t aware of red-flag symptoms. Early diagnosis of cancer can save lives, and new Government guidelines mean GPs should refer more people with suspicious symptoms than ever before. The Sun reported on this too.
  • An antibiotic could be used to treat chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML), according to work by researchers at our Glasgow institute. They found that tigecycline killed CML stem cells in the lab when used with a drug that blocks how the cancer grows. This is promising if it’s found to work the same way in people. The Mirror and The Times had more on this story.
  • Testing for the human papillomavirus (HPV) first is better than the traditional cervical screening test at finding precancerous cells, according to an Australian study. Researchers looked at 5,000 women aged 25 to 64 and found that HPV screening improved detection of abnormal cells that might go on to become cancerous. The Guardian covered this story.

And finally

  • The DNA of human embryos has been edited by UK scientists for the first time, according to BBC News. It was announced that the researchers at the Francis Crick Institute have tweaked genes using the editing technology CRISPR to try to understand more about early development. The Independent also reported on this story, and you can find out more about CRISPR and how it’s improving immunotherapy treatments for cancer on our blog.