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News digest – Tessa Jowell, cervical screening ‘embarrassment’, modified flu virus and… monkey clones?

by Gabriella Beer | Analysis

27 January 2018

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Image of a woman going for cervical screening
  • Former Labour minister, Tessa Jowell, received a standing ovation in the House of Lords for speaking about her brain tumour diagnosis. The Independent and Mail Online have the full speech, where she called for more research into treatments for brain tumours, which is one of our priorities.

  • Cervical Cancer Prevention Week kicked off with a survey from Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, which showed that some women might not be going for their smear test because of ‘embarrassment about their bodies’. The Telegraph and Huffington Post have the details.
  • A modified form of the human flu virus has been engineered to target and destroy pancreatic cancer cells in mice. The Independent covered this early-stage research that needs to be tested further before it could be considered for clinical trials in people.
  • We reported new figures that show the number of new cases of cancer diagnosed in England are continuing to rise.
  • The Sun reports on a new study that predicted more older people will have multiple long term health conditions over the next 20 years. But many of these diseases are preventable.
  • ‘Does Dry January work?’, asks the Guardian. Experts, including Cancer Research UK, commented on whether or not cutting out booze for a month could actually change behaviour and who it benefits.
  • Public sector cuts are harming the health of children in England, according to the BBC and The Sun. The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health looked at the changes governments in England, Scotland and Wales had made following suggestions last year. England made the least progress and failed in areas such as addressing issues around junk food like advertising.
  • Fizzy drinks will soon be smaller and more expensive, says the BBC. The sugar tax comes into action in April this year in an attempt to tackle rising obesity in the UK.
  • In another bid to cut sugar, the Mirror and Metro report that large sharing bags of chocolate treats should have a 20% price increase. Some health campaigners are calling for a price hike on sweets and chocolate as well as a complete ban on bargain deals and discount offers.
  • Alcohol bottles could soon be labelled with health warnings similar to those found on cigarette packs, says the Guardian. It’s hoped that this would raise awareness of the impact booze has on health. We’ve blogged about how alcohol can damage DNA in cells before.

And finally

  • Scientists in China reached what they called a technical milestone this week as two monkeys were successfully cloned. The researchers believe this could help understand genetic diseases, including cancer. This article from New Scientist has the details.