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News digest – obesity research, HPV detection in urine, breast cancer treatment test and diet

by Gabriella Beer | Analysis

4 May 2019

1 comment 1 comment

Major study highlights impact of obesity on health

Results from an unpublished study of 2.8 million people, presented at a conference, have shown the scale of the obesity challenge in the UK. The BBC reports on the major study, linking a significant increase in death and disease to weight gain. They also cover the measures authorities in Leeds have taken to tackle obesity in local nursery school children.

Gel-filled capsules could aid weight loss

Swallowing gel-filled capsules before a meal may help people feel fuller and avoid overeating, reports the Guardian. According to a small, unpublished study, the capsules taken before a meal can swell up, helping to fill the stomach. Some researchers say they could help some people trying to lose weight through eating a balanced diet and exercising, to stay on track with their healthy lifestyle changes.

Study suggests single dose of radiotherapy could treat some prostate cancers

ITV News covered unpublished results presented at a radiotherapy conference suggesting, in some cases, one session of radiotherapy treatment may be enough to treat certain prostate cancer patients. A high dose of radiation in a single session, using a technique that gets right into the centre of the tumour, could save patients multiple hospital visits.

Urine test can detect HPV

iNews covered a small trial suggesting a urine test could be as good as current methods at detecting the virus that causes virtually all cases of cervical cancer. But this study only looked at people who had already had abnormal cervical cell changes detected, so much bigger trials are needed to make sure the urine test works for the general population.

Genetic test could spare some breast cancer patients chemo

A test that analyses the genetic makeup of breast cancers could help predict which patients would benefit from chemo. Our news report and ITV News have the details on the study that suggests the genetic test could spare some women from unnecessary treatment.

Can CRISPR boost cancer treatment?

According to STAT News, US scientists are seeking approval to test the gene-editing tool CRISPR in a trial of people with lung cancer. They want to use these ‘molecular scissors’ to snip out a gene in lung cancer that makes some patients’ tumours resistant to chemo. The theory behind the proposed trial is that disabling this gene could allow standard chemotherapy to work better and longer and give patients more time.

A ‘Google Earth’ for cancer

One of our Grand Challenge scientists, Professor Josephine Bunch, talks to PharmaTimes about what the early stages of their ‘Google Earth’ for cancer has discovered so far. We’ve covered this cancer map before too.

And finally

Sky News reports that women have a lower risk of breast cancer after the menopause if they consume more foods high in phenolic acids, like fruit, veg and wholegrains. But eating lots of these foods usually means people have a healthier lifestyle overall, and so it’s hard to untangle the link between these specific foods and cancer. The take home message? You guessed it: aim for a healthy, balanced diet rather than getting hung up on fad foods.



  • Gemma
    4 May 2019

    Can I subscribe to the blog?


  • Gemma
    4 May 2019

    Can I subscribe to the blog?