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News digest – cutting chemo, ovarian cancer drug, Scottish waiting times, and… a new human organ?

by Michael Walsh | Analysis

30 March 2018

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  • Chemotherapy courses after surgery could be halved for some colon cancer patients, according to a new study. We reported on results showing that 3 months of chemo is as effective as 6 months for some patients, and came with fewer side effects. The Independent also had the story.
  • More than 5,000 cancer patients in Scotland have waited longer than the target time for treatment over the last 5 years, says the Mail Online. We think it’s an unacceptable situation. The stats show cancer services in Scotland are struggling to cope and a plan of action is urgently needed. The Scotsman covered this too.
  • A drug developed by our scientists at Newcastle University has been approved for ovarian cancer patients by the European Medicines Agency. The drug is for whose cancer cells carry a faulty BRCA gene. The drug will need to be reviewed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence before it can be made routinely on the NHS. ITV News has more.
  • More than 80% of NHS hospitals in England are failing to test bowel cancer patients for the genetic condition Lynch syndrome, reports BBC News. The condition increases the risk of some cancers, and testing can help guide treatment and suggest whether family members may be at risk.

And finally

  • Have scientists found a new human organ? New research has identified fluid-filled compartments beneath the skin and lining the lungs, blood vessels and muscles. It’s been named the interstitium, and the team that made the discovery believe it may act as a “shock absorber”. They also think cancer cells might use the compartments to move around the body. Check out New Scientist and the Evening Standard for more.