HIV infected T cell.

  • Our scientists will be comparing the ways in which HIV and lung cancer evolve, as well as evade the immune system, reports the Evening Standard. Studying these health challenges side by side may reveal new targets for lung cancer drugs. For more info on the other projects funded through our Pioneer Award read this post.
  • Breast Cancer Now is campaigning for drugs designed to strengthen bones to be given to certain women with breast cancer. The Guardian and Sky News say that all postmenopausal women who have received treatment for early stage breast cancer should be given the drugs, called bisphosphonates. This is because existing data suggests they can stop cancer coming back in the bone later on.
  • New stats from Public Health England state there are ‘alarming’ levels of obesity in children leaving primary school. And the Telegraph say this is despite a drop in obesity levels in younger kids, aged 4 and 5.
  • The Mail Online reports that a group of British scientists have an idea about how prostate cancer cells spread to the bone. Based on lab tests they suggest an asthma drug, with the catchy name of AS1517499, may stop this from happening.

Number of the week


Women with a disability in the UK are 36% less likely to attend breast cancer screening, compared to those with no reported disability.

  • Another drug that may be repurposed to treat cancer is a treatment for Parkinson’s disease called carbidopa. Scientists have shown that the drug can stop the growth of cells and tumours in mice, according to the Huffington Post.
  • Immunotherapy has been hailed by many as a new era of cancer medicine, but Dr Ranjana Srivastava, writing for the Guardian, makes the important point that it still doesn’t work in the majority of patients.
  • The Huffington Post reports that women with disabilities are less likely to take part in some types of cancer screening than those without. We part-funded the study which found women with a disability are a third less likely to participate in breast cancer screening and a quarter less likely to take part in bowel cancer screening. Our press release has the details. And if you want to take part in screening and think you might need assistance, it’s best to call your doctor or screening unit who will be able to talk through what can be done to accommodate your individual needs.
  • A number of patients with late stage bowel cancer were offered end of life care instead of seeing a specialist surgeon, says The Sun and Mail Online. The concern, raised by the charity Bowel Cancer UK, is that patients with bowel cancer that has spread to the liver are missing out on liver surgeries that could potentially extend their lives.

And finally…

We reported that a form of ‘precision’ radiotherapy that targets the pelvis is safe to use on men with advanced localised prostate cancer. But other media reports jumped the gun a little, saying the study showed the radiotherapy technique could ‘cure’ patients. What the headlines didn’t stress is that the trial was testing the safety of the treatment, called IMRT, rather than how it affected survival. The research is still promising though and does suggest that this type of radiotherapy should be studied further for these men. NHS Choices had this excellent account of the complex study.