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News digest – a cancer breath test, tumour VR, lab culture and 2019 predictions

by Gabriella Beer | Analysis

5 January 2019

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A cancer breath test trial launches

The launch of a trial we’re supporting for a potential cancer breath test in people was widely reported. The device uses Breath Biopsy® technology that analyses the presence and quantity of chemicals in breath. Researchers based at a hospital in Cambridge hope to find out if the tech can spot signs of cancer in people’s breath to detect a range of cancers earlier. Read our blog post and press release for the details.

10-year-olds consuming too much sugary food

By their 10th birthday children in England have already consumed more than the total recommended sugar intake of an 18-year-old, according to the BBC. New figures released by Public Health England show that on average, children are consuming around 8 cubes of sugar more than they should be a day.

Almost half of smokers unaware that vaping is less harmful

A study we funded found that almost half of smokers surveyed in England don’t know that vaping is less harmful than smoking. The Mail Online covered the findings and The Guardian looks at how misconceptions around e-cigarettes are shaping the public health debate in the UK and US.

Cancer in virtual reality

The BBC visited our scientists in Cambridge to step inside their immersive 3D models of cancer. The team is developing a new way to look at tumours using virtual reality.

Advanced liver cancer patients to receive life-extending treatment on the NHS

The National Institute for Health and Care excellence (NICE) has said that people with a type of advanced liver cancer should have access to a targeted cancer drug on the NHS. Read PharmaTimes for more.

Further calls to ban nitrates in processed meat

The Evening Standard reports calls from health experts and politicians for nitrates found in processed meats, like bacon, to be banned. Meat that has been processed by adding nitrates, or other ingredients like salt, can increase the risk of developing bowel cancer.

Mixing a new lab cocktail

The Atlantic investigates research showing the liquid used to keep cells alive in the lab, commonly known as cell culture media, may be skewing results. As a result, research groups around the world are now mixing their own culture media cocktails that better mimic conditions inside the body.

Trial to reduce side effects of prostate cancer surgery launches

The Evening Standard reports that a new prostate cancer surgery technique is being trialled in hospitals in London. The procedure aims to preserve nerves around the prostate gland when it’s removed to stop a patient developing erectile dysfunction, a side effect that can occur after conventional surgery.

And finally

To mark the New Year, the BBC looked back at the medical discoveries from 2018 that could impact our lives in the future and reviewed the pressures the NHS is facing in the year ahead. We also asked some of our experts for their 2019 research ambitions, which you can read in this post.