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News digest – lung cancer screening study, 100,000 genomes sequenced, NHS proton beam therapy and a ‘universal cancer blood test’

by Gabriella Beer | Analysis

8 December 2018

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Major lung cancer screening study to launch

Sky News reports that the UK’s largest lung cancer screening trial is launching in London. In a twopart series on lung screening, we explore whether the benefits of diagnosing more lung cancers early through screening outweigh the harms, and how research into detection technology could lead to better tests.

Physical activity lowest in poorest children

Results from a new study on sport suggest that poorer children are less active than their wealthier peers. The Guardian reports that 39 out of 100 of the poorest children in England do less than 30 minutes of physical activity a day, compared 26 out of 100 from those living in the richest areas.

World-leading scientists say the world will never be ‘cancer free’

The 2018 winners of the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine have commented on the future of cancer treatment. According to the Mail Online, the scientists behind early research that led to immunotherapy say that while many cancers can be prevented, the focus for treating those that can’t will be on making them manageable diseases that people live with, rather than die from.

Medical advancements could mean less surgery needed

The Guardian looks at how advances in medicine could soon reduce the need for patients to have surgery.

UK scientists sequence 100,000 genomes

The world’s largest DNA sequencing project is complete, reports the BBC. Scientists from Cambridge have mapped out the entire genetic code of around 85,000 people with rare diseases, their family members and around 15,000 tumours from people with cancer. The information gathered could help find treatments for rare diseases or design new ones, as well as point to new ways to diagnose diseases.

First patient set to be treated with proton beam therapy on the NHS

The first patient to receive proton beam therapy on the NHS is about to start treatment, reports the BBC. The Christie Hospital in Manchester, where one of two NHS centres are being set up, hopes around 750 patients will benefit from this precise form of radiotherapy a year. For how proton beam therapy works, read our blog post.

Majority of adult’s lifestyles affect their health

Data from a national health survey suggests the majority of adults in England regularly do things that harms their health. The BBC says that 1 in 10 had at least one unhealthy trait, such as smoking or drinking more than 14 units of alcohol a week.

No new drugs for some cancers since 2000

The Guardian covers a new report saying some types of cancer have had no new drugs approved to treat them since 2000. It also highlights how the time taken to get a new drug from patent to patient has got longer over time, mostly because drugs are taking longer to get through clinical trials.

And finally

Headlines this week said a ‘universal cancer blood test’ will soon be able to detect any type of cancer in just 10 minutes. Even though the science behind the story is exciting, our blog post explains why the test has a long way to go before it can be used to diagnose cancer.