Skip to main content

Together we are beating cancer

Donate now
  • Science & Technology
  • Health & Medicine

News digest – diabetes, junk food ads, HPV vaccine, and… cancer drug treats HIV?

by Michael Walsh | Analysis

2 December 2017

0 comments 0 comments

  • Diabetes or carrying too much weight account for almost 800,000 cases of cancer a year worldwide, reports The Sun. A new study found that being diabetic, overweight or obese was behind more than 1 in 20 cancers. The Independent reported that cancers linked to the two factors were nearly twice as common in women than in men.
  • The Government set out its industrial strategy to boost performance in key areas and increase productivity. The Guardian cited the life sciences as a success story with massive potential to grow. New investment and jobs were announced by pharmaceutical companies. BBC News had more on whether the strategy will work.
  • Children are seeing up to 12 junk food adverts within an hour while watching family TV programmes, reports The Guardian. Campaigners have called for bans on junk food adverts before the 9pm watershed, which the Government has rejected.
  • A review into NHS radiology services has been launched after two patients came to “significant harm” at a hospital where junior doctors were left to interpret chest x-rays. The Guardian reports that the patients had their lung cancer missed. Diagnostic services are under huge strain with significant investment needed.
  • The HPV vaccine is safe and effective at preventing human papillomavirus for up to 10 years, reports Mail Online. A US study looked at 9 countries that offer the vaccination, saying the results support the use of the vaccine in boys and girls to reduce infection with HPV which is linked to certain cancers. The vaccine is routinely offered in the UK to girls aged 11-13.
  • Men are more than twice as likely to develop oral cancer as women, according to our new figures. The latest data show that around 5,300 men are diagnosed with oral cancer every year in the UK compared to around 2,500 women. The figures also show oral cancer is more often diagnosed in men at a younger age compared with other cancers.
  • A new study found that nearly half of US cancer deaths could be preventable, and are caused by factors such as smoking and excess weight. STAT News reports that 45% of cancer deaths could be attributed to what the researchers call “modifiable” risk factors, with 30% of cancer deaths down to smoking.
  • Glioblastomas are brain tumours that are particularly hard to treat. STAT News reports on efforts to change this as scientists are trying to understand these tumours better by growing mini-brains called organoids in the lab. They hope that by using samples from glioblastoma patients they’ll be able to watch how the cancer progresses and work out how best to target it with treatments.

And finally

  • A man’s HIV has been brought under control by a drug given to treat his lung cancer, reports The Guardian. The 51 year old, who has had HIV since 1995, was treated for lung cancer with surgery and chemotherapy. When the lung cancer came back, he was given the immunotherapy drug nivolumab (Opdivo). Doctors then saw that dormant HIV-infected cells were depleted at the same time as the patient’s immune system was awoken to attack the cancer. His medical team believe the rejuvenated immune cells might have been responsible for killing the HIV-infected cells, but this is just one case study. And the results weren’t replicated in another patient treated in the same way. More work needs to be done to understand exactly what happened before recommending any changes to treatment.