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News digest – naked mole-rats, junk food deals, ovarian cancer drug and glowing surgery dye

by PA Media Group | Analysis

4 July 2020

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The naked mole rat can survive for 18 minutes without oxygen.

With news about the coronavirus pandemic developing daily, we want to make sure everyone affected by cancer gets the information they need during this time.

We’re pulling together the latest government and NHS health updates from across the UK in a separate blog post, which we’re updating regularly.

Naked mole-rats and cancer resistance

Research into naked mole-rat’s resistance to cancer could open the door to new ways of preventing cancer in humans. Scientists have long been fascinated by this remarkable rodent, which is immune to certain types of pain, can survive 18 minutes without oxygen and resists the biological laws of ageing. For a long time, scientists believed that naked mole-rats almost never got cancer because their cells were resistant to becoming cancerous. But new research funded by Cancer Research UK suggests that it’s the environment around cells that stop them dividing. Read more at The Independent and in our press release.

‘Buy one get one free deals’ fuel obesity

As part of its renewed, pandemic-inspired interest in getting the nation fitter, the UK Government is considering restrictions on multi-buy promotions. New restrictions would be introduced as a means of reducing obesity levels, which have doubled over the last 20 years and now affects 13 million people in England alone. Experts say that rather than saving money, multi-buy deals encourage us to buy more in the long-term, especially of unhealthy foods. And restricting such deals could encourage promotions on healthier produce. More on this at iNews.

Ovarian cancer drug could reduce fertility in mice

A drug used to treat people with advanced ovarian and breast cancer has been shown to damage immature eggs stored in primary ovarian follicles in mice. Olaparib has not been used for long enough to know if the drug could have the same effect on women’s fertility. Daily Mail has the full story.

And finally…

A glowing dye used to light up breast cancer cells in dogs could help doctors remove more cancerous cells during surgery, reports New Atlas. Using the technique would allow cancers to be more safely removed via surgery, with fewer cells left behind, reducing the likelihood that the cancer will return or spread to other parts of the body. Scientists are now investigating the best way to deliver this type of florescent dye to tumours in humans. It’s not the first time that fluorescent dyes have been used during surgery, in 2019 a ‘pink drink’ to help guide brain surgery was rolled out across the NHS.

Scarlett Sangster is a writer for PA Media Group