This section will maintain key information and medical advancements relating to cancer – how to prevent it and what treatments are available.
Not every new story – just major breakthroughs and studies on ways to prevent. Particularly will be focusing on research results in humans – lots of promising treatments unfortunately never make it from the lab, through human trials, and onto the market.
Cancer genomics – Part of the 100,000 Genomes Project run by Genomics England
Universal cancer test being developed – Independent – 06-June-2017
Possible to detect tumours 10 years before they become dangerous.
Tests for circulating tumour DNA.
Technology has been successfully trialled with 120 patients with breast, lung or prostate cancers.
Screening could reduce cancer deaths to a tenth of the current number.
Wide range of cancers now linked to being overweight – NHS Choices – 1-Mar-2017
Strong evidence people who are overweight have an increased risk of developing 11 different cancers.
Most of them either digestive (such as bowel cancer) or hormonal (such as breast cancer).
For example, for increase of 5 BMI score, there was a 9% increased risk of developing colorectal cancer in men.
Adults can have excess fat without being considered overweight.
It’s possible excess fat is linked to other cancers, but the evidence was not quite as strong.
Blood test could catch pancreatic cancer before it’s too late – New Scientist – 8-Feb-2017
Because the pancreas is deep inside the body and is difficult to image or biopsy, spotting the cancer is hard.
Only 5 per cent of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer are still alive five years later.
The assay uses the binding of gold nanospheres to tumour-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs) captured on a sensor chip.
In a pilot study in 59 patients, it picked up early-stage pancreatic cancer in more than 90 per cent of cases.
Could differentiate between pancreatic cancer and pancreatitis.
Experts highlight the potential of xenografts in personalized oncology – EurekAlert! – 31-Jan-2017
Patient-derived xenografts are tumour samples that are extracted from patients and reimplanted in mice in the same location as in the patient.
Reproduces the behavior of each tumor in a personalized way and enables testing of several treatment alternatives.
EurOPDX consortium integrates 16 European research institutions.
‘Huge leap’ in prostate cancer testing – BBC – 20-Jan-2017
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in British men
Currently men with high prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels have a biopsy.
Advanced MRI showed 27% of the men did not need a biopsy at all.
93% of aggressive cancers were detected by using the MRI scan to guide the biopsy – compared with 48% for current random site technique.
Personalised breast cancer programme launches in Cambridge – Drug Target Review – 18-Nov-2016
Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute’s programme will map patients’ DNA and RNA to tailor treatment to individuals.
Will analyse the genome and all expressed genes of tumour cells from 250 breast cancer patients.
There are around 10 different types of breast cancer and these respond differently to the available treatments.
“We’re looking at ways to predict this response ensuring individual patients get the best treatment for them.” – Sir Harpal Kumar
Crowd funding success for OncoSENS Control ALT Delete Cancer – SENS Research Foundation – 18-Sep-2016
$72,000 raised for high-throughput screening of a library of diverse drugs to find treatments for ‘ALT’ cancers.
ALT cancers rely on Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres.
Telomere shortening acts as a biological mechanism for limiting cellular life span.
Most cancer cells bypass this failsafe by synthesizing new telomeres using the enzyme telomerase.
There are currently no ALT-targeted anti-cancer therapeutics.
Women dying needlessly due to not attending cervical screening – NHS – 16-Sep-2016
347 deaths per year in England could be prevented if all eligible women attended cervical screening.
Introduction of screening has reduced the number of cervical cancer in England by around two thirds.
Analysis looked at screening history for more than 11,000 women.
Obesity link to cancer not well known by public – BBC News – 9-Sep-2016
Three out of four people are unaware being overweight increases the risk of developing 10 different types of cancer.
Men and people from poor backgrounds most likely to no know.
Bowel, kidney, breast and womb cancer are most commonly linked to obesity.
Contributes to more than 18,000 cases of cancer each year in the UK.
Survey of more than 3,000 people by Cancer Research UK.
Women’s cancer risk increases time spent obese – NHS – 17-Aug-2016
Time spent overweight or obese seems to have a compounding effect on cancer risk.
Each decade of being overweight linked to 7% increased risk of obesity-related cancer.
Womb cancer most strongly linked to obesity.
The more overweight the greater the link especially for endometrial cancer.
Study of more than 70,000 women over 12 years.
Also used women’s own estimates of their weight at ages 18, 35 and 50.
Universal cancer vaccine breakthrough – Independent – 2-Jun-2016
Nanoparticulate RNA immunotherapy puts pieces of cancer’s genetic RNA into tiny nanoparticles of fat and injects into the bloodstream.
Patient’s immune systems respond by producing T-cells designed to attack cancer.
Successful safety trial in three patients in the advanced stage of disease – also saw positive results.
Vaccine also effective in fighting aggressively growing tumours in mice.
Such vaccines are fast and inexpensive to produce and could target virtually any type of cancer.
What will President Obama’s cancer ‘moonshot’ achieve? – BBC News – 9-Apr-2016
The cancer moonshot is a $1bn (£710m) injection of cash intended to bring a decade’s worth of advances in just five years.
Cancer is the most complex disease that we know of.
Money will fund research into:
– new treatments (e.g. combining treatments and immunotherapy)
– cancer detection using gene technologies
Modified white blood cell cancer treatment has unprecedented success – BBC News – 16-feb-2016
90% of terminally ill patients treated went into remission.
Leukaemia patients’ own white blood cells extracted, modified and returned to body.
Genetically modified t-cells engineered to target chimeric antigen receptors.
Reprogrammed to recognise and destroy the patient’s tumour cells.
Cancer study aiming to end chemotherapy – BBC News – 21-Jan-2016
First patients have their DNA analysed in massive study.
Includes three sisters who developed breast tumours within 15 months of each other.
100,000 Genomes Project searching for precision treatments and to understand how tumours develop.
It will also determine the drugs that can target tumours.
Cancer genetics sequencing company harnesses big data – Business Insider – 14-Jan-2016
10 days to get a cancer patient’s comprehensive genomic profiling analysis.
Details go into database – currently containts 10,000 HIPAA-compliant cases.
Pharmaceutical companies can use it to find candidates for clinical trials.
5 Biggest Cancer Breakthroughs in 2015 – Medical Daily – 18-Dec-2015
Fratricidins — cancer that kills cancer
Oleocanthal (from olive oil) killed cancer cellsin 60 minutes
Immunotherapy – using a patient’s own immune system
T-cells modified to identify and treat cancer cells
Malaria protein attached only to tumor
Cancer: lifestyle risk or just bad luck? – BBC News – 17-Dec-2015
New study published in Nature concludes only 10-30% of cancers were down to “luck”.
A January report in Science explained some tissues were millions of times more vulnerable to developing cancer than others due to number of times a cell divides.
Argument is about relative importance of intrinsic and extrinsic factors.
Smoking is like putting extra bullets in your gun for Russian roulette.
Single-agent phototherapy system diagnoses and kills cancer cells – Kurzweil AI – 2-Nov-2015
Uses single chemical compound (SiNc-PNP) for both diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
Tumors were completely eradicated without side effects, and did not return, in laboratory animals.
Ovarian cancers studied – may also be useful for other solid tumors.
Survival doubled for gastrointestinal cancer patients taking Aspirin – WebMD – 28-Sep-2015
Study of 14,000 people with cancer in gastrointestinal tract.
Regular users of aspirin were twice as likely to still be alive after four years.
Impact was seen after adjusting for factors such as gender, age, stage of cancer.
Blood test detects cancer relapse – BBC News – 27-Aug-2015
DNA mutation of individual tumour analysed when removed. Regular tests then searched for unique DNA profile in patient’s blood to detect possible relapse.
Traces of breast cancer discovered eight months before doctors would normally have noticed.
Alcohol increases the risk of cancer – BBC News – 19-Aug-2015
Study of more than 100,000 adults.
clearest link was for breast cancer in women and current or ex-smokers in men.
Cancer Research UK’s recommendation: try having more alcohol-free days and swap every other drink for something soft on a night out.
Combination of common chemicals may increase cancer risk – Kurzweil AI – 22-Jul-2015
50 of the 85 chemicals shown to disrupt cells such as interfering with the repair of damaged genes which is a key layer of cancer defense. Study by Halifax Project team of nearly 200 scientists.
Nine out of ten male prostate cancer sufferers could be treated – The Independent – 21-May-2015
Study finds prostate cancer is not one disease but several – enabling personalised treatments using existing cancer drugs.
Prostate cancer drug ‘extends lives’ – BBC News – 14-May-15
Overall, patients who received the drug lived 10 months longer, but for patients where the cancer had already spread beyond the pelvis, the increase in life expectancy was 22 months.
Tiny Living Colons Grown From Cancer Cells – Popular Science – 11-May-2015
Will allow testing for personal efficacy of cancer-fighting treatments. Currently in two clinical trials.
Cancer predicted up to 13 years in advance with 100% accuracy – The Independent – 1-May-15
cancer hijacks telomeres, which prevent DNA damage, to flourish in the body.
How to identify drugs that work best for each patient – MIT – 26-Apr-15
Implantable device could allow doctors to test cancer drugs in patients before prescribing chemotherapy.
Microinjection platform enables assessment of multiple cancer drugs directly in tumors – Presage Biosciences – 22-Apr-15
Results from first-in-human study in lymphoma patients confirm feasibility for toxicity-sparing assessment of drug efficacy in cancer patients
MRI to detect telltale ‘cellular slime’ on cancer cells – Johns Hopkins University – 31-Mar-15
Could replace invasive biopsies in diagnosis
Fit middle-aged men ‘at lower risk for some cancers’ – BBC News – 27-Mar-15
‘Half of UK people’ will get cancer – BBC News – 4-Feb-15
Life choices ‘behind more than four in 10 cancers’ – BBC News – 26-Dec-14
Patient-Derived Xenografts Accurately Capture Clinical Responses to Treatment – Champion Oncology, Inc – 1-Oct-14
Patient’s living tumor implanted in mice – test multiple cancer drugs to find the most effective one
Eating tomatoes may lower the risk of prostate cancer, research suggests – BBC News – 27-Aug-14
Novel approach using high molecular weight hyaluronan (HMW-HA) that has been determined to help the naked mole rat live cancer free – Kurzweil AI – 21-Jun-13
Nanofiber sensor instantly detects diabetes or lung cancer in breath – Kurzweil AI – 13-Jun-13
Trends in the global funding and activity of cancer research – Molecular Oncology