Highly sensitive blood test could improve breast cancer treatment

We teamed up with scientists in the US to put a new personalised breast cancer blood test through its paces. The Mail Online reports our study’s results, which showed the test could pick up early breast cancer. Once fully developed, the highly sensitive blood test could give doctors a new way to monitor the disease and even help some women avoid unnecessary surgery. Our press release has the details.

Johnson pledges £250 million for NHS AI lab

The Guardian reports the Prime Minister’s latest funding announcement, a £250 million investment in artificial intelligence (AI) to help the NHS test how it could use AI technology in more ways. AI is already being used in some hospitals, and the NHS is testing whether it could be used to help with breast screening. Some organisations however, have pointed out the potential challenges that might come with this financial boost. They say out dated NHS IT systems may not be compatible with the new technology and that there may be difficulty in recruiting data scientists to work in these new labs.

UK to ease visa restriction for top scientists

Boris Johnson also announced his intentions to make the immigration system easier for scientists and their families after Brexit. The Guardian covered Johnson’s suggestions for a “fast-track” visa route for exceptional scientists and proposals that could mean those hoping to immigrate to pursue their scientific career would not need an offer of employment before entering the UK.

Increased bowel cancer screening rates in Scotland thanks to new test

The introduction of a simpler bowel cancer screening test in Scotland has led to a significant increase in those taking part in the programme. For the first time, more than 60% of those eligible to take the test have used it, with the greatest rise in those living in deprived areas. Read BBC Scotland’s article for more info.

Cadbury’s to reduce calories in kids treats

One of the UK’s most popular chocolate brands says it will reduce the size of the chocolate bars they market to kids. The Independent reports that Cadbury’s move is intending to bring the confectionery in line with Public Health England’s advice that snacks and treats from children should contain no more than 100 calories.

Hormone injections show promise in helping people lose weight

People with obesity are sometimes offered gastric bypass surgery. One of the ways this operation can help people lose weight is by changing the balance of hormones in the body that affect food digestion. Now scientists in London have developed a hormone injection that could mimic some of the effects of this major surgical procedure. The results of the very small study, reported by the Telegraph, showed that people given the injection over four weeks lost weight, but not as much as those who had the procedure.

Government should introduce ‘calorie tax’, says health campaigners

Two health campaign groups are urging the government to introduce a ‘calorie tax’ on foods loaded with fat and sugar, says the Independent. Action on Sugar and Action on Salt say that charging the food industry for making unhealthy products would force them to improve the nutritional quality of their goods.

Lung cancer immunotherapy combo added to Cancer Drugs Fund

An immunotherapy drug combo has been recommended as a treatment for some patients with lung cancer on the NHS in England. Our report covers the decision, which will give some patients access to a combo that’s been shown to improve survival in people with squamous non small cell lung cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. It will be available on the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) while more data is collected on its long-term benefits. However, a targeted drug with potential to slow the progress of ovarian cancer has been rejected.

Makeup of bacteria in pancreatic tumours linked to survival

Researchers in the US have uncovered a link between the number of different types of bacteria found in people’s pancreatic tumours and how long they live. Their early animal studies also suggest that it might be possible to change the composition of bacteria to improve survival, but as we explain in this report, there’s still a lot of work to do in the hunt for new treatments.

And finally

According to a new study covered by The Sun, swapping beef burgers for chicken burgers could reduce a person’s risk of developing breast cancer. The US study followed 42,000 people and found that those who ate red meat were more likely to develop breast cancer compared to those who ate poultry. But the study only looked at people with a family history of breast cancer, which may already put them at a higher risk. More research is needed in a wider range of people before we can say for certain that there is a link between breast cancer and consuming red meat.