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News digest – targeted radiation beam, precision medicine and our early detection roadmap

by PA Media Group | Analysis

17 October 2020

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We’re challenging researchers to tackle 9 of the toughest cancer problems

We’ve partnered with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in our most ambitious research initiative ever. Cancer Grand Challenges aims to bring scientists together to solve problems like, ‘how do some cells stay normal despite have mistakes in their DNA?’ and ‘why do some cancers return many years after treatment?’ Read all about the 9 challenges on our blog

Targeted radiation beams help cancer patients swallow 

A new technique has been developed to help reduce a common side effect of radiotherapy for people with throat cancer. Currently, around 3 in 4 people with this type of cancer are left with lifelong swallowing issues due to radiotherapy causing irreparable damage to healthy tissue and muscle surrounding the tumour. The new, more accurate radiotherapy technique could help around 12,000 people a year in the UK. Full story at The Daily Mail.

Pushing to detect cancer earlier 

Currently, just over half of all cancer cases are detected at the earliest stages. Our new roadmap outlines how researchers, pharmaceutical companies and governments can work together to build a future where no-one gets a late stage cancer diagnosis on our blog.

New precision treatment approach for pancreatic cancer  

Researchers from the University of Glasgow are developing new ways to predict who could benefit from treatments targeting damaged DNA in pancreatic cancer, reports The Scotsman. The study, which is linked to our Precision Panc platform used cells from people with pancreatic cancer to develop new molecular markers than can predict who will respond to which drug. Clinical trials using this strategy are set to begin shortly, as our news report explains.

Confusion over COVID and lung cancer symptoms 

Experts fear that many people experiencing cancer symptoms aren’t talking to their GP, as cases of COVID-19 increase across the country. Lung cancer is a particular area of concern, with experts worried that people may mistake possible lung cancer symptoms for the virus. Symptoms of lung cancer can include a cough that doesn’t go away after 2-3 weeks, breathlessness and lack of energy. BBC and The Guardian reveal more. 

Taming the cell cycle

Researchers at the our Manchester Institute have developed a new approach to synchronise the cell division cycle of an entire population of human cells in the lab. Read our researcher features article about how this technique could help cell biologists study cancer in more detail.

And finally

Campaigner Patrick McGuire has written an open letter to Boris Johnson about honouring his manifesto commitments in the upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review. Read our blog post to hear from more of our campaigners on why the Government must uphold its promises, including to increase cancer survival rates and boost early cancer diagnosis.  

Scarlett Sangster is a writer for PA Media Group