Keeping a healthy weight can help cut your risk of cancer.

  • The global cost of obesity will top £920bn each year by 2025, reports BBC News. According to a new study levels of obesity in children and teenagers have increased 10 times in the last 40 years. After smoking, obesity is the second biggest preventable cause of cancer. The Guardian also covered this story.
  • We reported that a severe shortage of radiologists risks delays to cancer diagnosis, according to a new report. The Royal College of Radiologists says that nearly all NHS radiology departments are unable to carry out enough tests with their staff’s contracted hours. Check out our blog post on the workforce issues the NHS is facing.

Number of the week


Billions of pounds that obesity will cost globally each year by 2025

  • Britain could miss out on drug research and development if plans for regulating medicines after Brexit aren’t decided soon, says the head of the world’s second biggest biomedical funder. Wellcome’s Professor Jeremy Farrar called for clarity and warned that delays and uncertainty could slow down the development of, and access to, drugs. See BBC News for this story.
  • A genetic test that could more precisely determine a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer could soon be available to those already deemed at high risk of the disease. It can use blood or saliva and will be tested at two hospitals in Manchester. The researchers hope that having more specific information about risk will help better inform women on whether to undergo preventative surgery. BBC News had this story.
  • Blood cancer patients most susceptible to a potentially fatal side effect of immunotherapy could be identified by looking for specific markers, according to a US study. A small number of deaths have occurred in immunotherapy clinical trials, due to damage to the brain or nervous system. As our news report explains, if shown to work in larger tests, looking for the markers could tell doctors which patients shouldn’t get that those treatments.
  • Gene faults are often linked to an increased risk of cancer, but a new study has found one that looks as though it protects against pancreatic cancer. The gene p53 is sometimes called ‘the guardian of the genome’ and Medical News Today reports that mice with a particular fault in the gene were less likely to develop pancreatic tumours than mice without it.
  • Retinoblastoma, rare form of childhood cancer that affects the eyes, could be on the way to having a test to direct treatment. STAT News reports on a very small study that picked up tumour DNA in fluid from the eye, and one day could be used to say which treatment or surgery is best.

And finally

  • Scientists can graft cells from patients’ tumours into mice to test out which drugs might work for their disease. But a study reported by Nature News has challenged how representative these mouse ‘avatars’ are of the original tumour. The researchers say that the grafting can change how the cells evolve, making them different from their counterpart in the patient. But other researchers said they didn’t see such big differences, and that the ‘avatars’ are here to stay.