Skip to main content

Together we are beating cancer

Donate now
  • Science & Technology
  • Health & Medicine

News digest – pink brain tumour drink, red meat tax, AI funding boost and misleading headlines on sleep

by Lily Almeida | Analysis

10 November 2018

1 comment 1 comment

Glowing chemical may help surgeons remove brain tumours

A chemical dye that makes cancer cells glow pink could be used to help surgeons remove aggressive brain tumours, BBC News reports. The research was presented at the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) cancer conference in Glasgow. Brain tumour patients were given a drink containing chemicals that get taken up by fast-growing tumour cells. Researchers believe the dye could help brain surgeons distinguish between tumour cells and normal brain tissue during surgery.

Targeting stem cells early prevents bowel cancer in mice

The Mail Online suggests that treating stem cells before they develop into cancer cells could prevent bowel cancer in people with a high risk of developing the disease. But so far the findings, also presented at NCRI, have been in mice, so it’s too early to make the connection to people. Researchers found that stem cells in mice that had the potential to develop into cancer were killed by the cancer drug cisplatin.

Health Secretary promotes healthy lifestyle to increase life expectancy

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said that more money should be spent on preventing disease. The new NHS prevention plan is about “helping [people] make better choices” and covers ambitions to halve childhood obesity by 2030 and diagnose 75% of cancers at stage one and two by 2028. Read the BBC’s report.

Brain tumour ‘liquid biopsy’ could be possible in future

Our scientists at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute are one step closer to developing a liquid biopsy that can detect brain tumour DNA, says GEN News. Liquid biopsies are fluid samples such a blood or urine that are more easily obtained compared to traditional tissue biopsies. The latest study looked for tumour DNA in the liquid surrounding the brain. Read our blog post for the details.

AI investment to help cancer diagnosis

The Government is funding researchers in Yorkshire to develop a computer programme that could help doctors diagnose cancer, reports the BBC. Digital scanners have been installed in some NHS hospitals around England that will scan and analyse tissue samples to detect cancer. They say computer analysis could offer a quicker and more accurate way to diagnose cancer.

Screening lowers risk of breast cancer death

A study at Queen Mary University of London reported that people who attend breast cancer screening had a lower risk of dying from the disease. According to ITV News, the researchers suggest this could be because screening detects cancers at an early stage when they are more likely to respond to treatment. But, it is important that people are informed of both the benefits and harms of breast screening.

Red meat tax suggested

The BBC asks if there should be a tax on red and processed meat. This comes after scientists at Oxford University suggest that increasing prices could help people eat less of it. Eating lots of processed and red meat can have health implications, including an increased risk of bowel cancer.

And finally

Research suggesting woman who wake up early have a reduced risk of breast cancer sparked misleading headlines. Reports implied that the research, also presented at NCRI and funded by Cancer Research UK, suggests people should rearrange their sleeping pattern. Our piece in the Guardian explains why it’s not yet true to say that jumping out of bed at the crack of dawn will stop women developing the disease.



  • Kathy Sayer
    10 November 2018

    Please explain the suggested link between red meat and colorectal cancer.


  • Kathy Sayer
    10 November 2018

    Please explain the suggested link between red meat and colorectal cancer.