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News digest – blood cancer immunotherapy, energy drink ban, ‘no-deal’ Brexit plans and our Annual Review

by Katie Roberts | Analysis

1 September 2018

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Immune cells
Immune cells (white). Image courtesy of LRI EM Unit.

Engineered cell therapy given initial ‘no’ for NHS in England

A ‘promising’ immunotherapy has been provisionally rejected as a treatment for some types of aggressive lymphoma by health regulators in England. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence said the treatment was too expensive and not enough was known about how it compared to standard chemotherapy treatment. The decision will be reviewed later this year. The Express and our News Report have the story.

Government could ban energy drink sales to children

The prime minister has proposed banning the sale of energy drinks to children in England, amid health fears. Research suggests that children in the UK consume more energy drinks than children in most other European countries, and the drinks have been linked to obesity, tooth decay and hyperactivity. The Government will now consult on how to implement the ban, and what age it should apply to. BBC News and The Guardian have more.

Genetic ‘weather forecast’ could help predict if bowel cancer will return

Scientists have developed a computer model that can help to track how cancer evolves using tumour DNA in blood samples, reports Forbes. They plan to use this information to predict when a tumour might stop responding to treatment. In early tests involving people with advanced bowel cancer, the model picked up DNA changes that indicated treatment had stopped working earlier than scans would in three quarters of patients.

Waiting times for NHS tests in Scotland continue to rise

The number of Scottish NHS patients waiting longer than the 6-week target for key medical tests has continued to increase. The target applies to tests like MRI and CT scans, endoscopies and colonoscopies, which are often used to diagnose cancer. BBC News covered the new NHS figures, which show that around 8 in 10 patients were seen within 6 weeks between March and June this year, compared with 9 in 10 patients in 2016.

Potential impact of the Government’s ‘no-deal’ Brexit plans discussed

The first in a series of plans for how the Government would respond to a ‘no-deal’ Brexit were published last week. And according to the pro-EU campaign group Scientists for EU, UK scientists risk losing access to the majority of EU research funding if the Government fails to reach a deal. BBC News has more.

And in another Brexit story, the Government’s plans to stockpile medicines in the event of no-deal Brexit could cost up to £2 billion, warned the pro-EU campaign group Best for Britain. The Guardian has the details.

We also blogged about what the Government’s no-deal Brexit plans could mean for cancer treatment, care and research.

And finally

We published our 2017/18 Annual Review this week. From developing an ‘intelligent knife’ for cancer surgery to discovering better treatments for children with brain tumours, it’s packed with our research highlights from the year. We also spoke with our outgoing Chief Executive, Sir Harpal Kumar, about how the world of cancer research has changed since he joined the charity.