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News digest – cancer drugs on trial, robotic surgery, obesity and… cool Nobel Prize science?

by Justine Alford | Analysis

7 October 2017

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Liquid nitrogen science
  • Cancer drugs came under scrutiny after a new study suggested many of those recently approved in Europe lack evidence that they’re effective. The widely reported findings highlight the need for robust clinical evidence but, as our news report explains, there are separate national bodies responsible for deciding which drugs should be available in the UK on the NHS.
  • Having robotic surgery available may be a bigger draw for prostate cancer patients when choosing their hospital rather than the overall quality of the centre, according to new research. Covered by The Times, Mail Online and others, the resulting competition has meant some hospitals have closed despite a lack of evidence for the superiority of robotic surgery. Our news report has the details.
  • Fourteen women affected by breast cancer bravely showed their mastectomy scars in a powerful photoshoot for the Stand Up To Cancer campaign. Their inspiring photographs made their way into a number of outlets, and you can read some of the stories behind them in our press release.

Number of the week


The number of laureates awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

  • UK research found that since the introduction of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination in schools, Scotland has seen a drop in the number of women presenting with signs of potential cervical cancer. These findings are positive, but as most women who are screened haven’t been vaccinated it will be many years before we see the true impact of the vaccine. BBC News has the story.
  • More on the virus as new research shed light on how it can lead to cancer. Picked up by Medical News Today, the scientists hope this could aid the development or more targeted treatments for cancers caused by the virus.
  • Being overweight or obese increases the risk of 13 types of cancers, and a new US report shows that these 13 types of cancer make up 40% of all cancer diagnoses in the US. Reported by The Guardian and Mail Online, this showcases the need to keep a healthy weight to lower cancer risk.

And finally

  • This year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry is making sure science stays cool. An incredibly sophisticated imaging technique, called cryo-EM, which looks at samples quite literally frozen in time won its developers the prestigious award. Our blog post explores how this frosty tech is helping boost cancer research.