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.
The Warning Signs of Skin Cancer – WebMD
An estimated 40% to 50% of fair-skinned people who live to be 65 will develop at least one skin cancer. Learn to spot the early warning signs
Cancer genomics – Part of the 100,000 Genomes Project run by Genomics England
Seven ways to prevent bowel cancer – The Guardian – 16-Apr-2018
Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths.
One in twenty people in the developed world will develop it.
Mortality has decreased by 30% in the past 20 years.
Be aware of early warning signs (e.g. blood in stool).
Chemicals called nitrosamines in processed meats can increase the risk.
National screening programme in England kicks in aged 55.
One-stop shops to speed up cancer diagnosis – BBC News – 3-Apr-2018
Patients often face delays when they have non-specific symptoms.
NHS England is introducing 10 specialist rapid diagnostic and assessment centres.
Patients will receive all the necessary investigations under one roof.
Patient will either be diagnosed or given the all-clear within 28 days.
New centres in Airedale, Leeds, London, Oxford, Romford and Southend.
2,500 cancer cases a week could be avoided – Cancer Research UK – 23-Mar-2018
According to a study by Cancer Research UK more than 135,500 cases of cancer a year in the UK could be prevented through lifestyle change.
Here are some of the biggest preventable causes of cancer.
1. Smoking: Tobacco smoke caused around 32,200 cases of cancer in men and around 22,000 in women.
2. Obeseity causes 13 types of cancer, including bowel, breast, womb and kidney.
3. Overexposure to UV radiation from the sun and sunbeds, which causes around 13,600 cases of melanoma skin cancer a year.
4. Other preventable causes of cancer include drinking alcohol, eating too little fibre and outdoor air pollution.
Australia could eradicate cervical cancer – The Guardian – 3-Mar-2018
In 2007, Australia began providing free HPV vaccine to girls aged 12-13 years.
HPV rate among 18-24 women dropped from 22.7% to 1.1% between 2005 and 2015.
Within 40 years, number of new cases is projected to drop to almost zero.
In 2013 program was extended to boys.
Human papillomavirus is a sexually transmitted infection that causes 99.9% of cervical cancers.
Mini-tumours created to battle cancer – BBC News – 22-Feb-2018
Biopsies were taken and grown into miniature 3D cancerous organs in the lab.
100% accurate at telling which drugs would fail in advanced colorectal cancer.
If the drug worked in the organoids, it worked 88% of the time in the patient.
Organoids treated with same drug doctors gave to the patient in the clinic.
Personalised medicine should lead to smarter, kinder and more effective treatments.
Brain tumours effectively treated by injecting patients with viruses – Independent – 3-Jan-2018
Treatment works by stimulating the internal defences of patients to fight their tumours.
The presence of cancer in the brain dampens the body’s own immune system.
In all nine patients in the trial there was evidence the virus had stimulated an immune response.
Viruses can pass through the blood-brain barrier and were administered via a drip.
Nanoparticles detect cancer before traditional imaging techniques – New Atlas – 13-Dec-2017
Rutgers University has devised a new method for detecting tiny cancerous tumours.
Subjects injected with nanoparticles that emit short-wave infrared light.
Nanoparticles are designed to stick to specific cancer cells.
In mouse experiments the particles tracked breast cancer cells as they metastasised.
Technology could be available in less than five years.
Landmark moment in lymphoma CAR T cell treatment – Cancer Research UK – 12-Dec-2017
Four in 10 patients with aggressive lymphoma were cancer-free 15 months after treatment.
US clinical trial involved 108 patients with large B cell lymphoma.
CAR T cell therapy boosts the immune system’s ability to recognise and destroy cancer cells.
Studies are also underway in the UK to test the treatment.
CAR T was also shown to have long-term benefits with non Hodgkin lymphoma patients.
Radical new cancer treatment to be trialled next year – ITV – 24-Nov-2017
Uses cancer-killing cells from people with the strongest immune systems.
Neutrophil cells form part of the body’s first line of defence.
Multiplied millions of times and injected into cancer patients.
Initially focusing on pancreatic cancer.
Hope to see patients experiencing complete remission
Test could diagnose oesophageal cancer 8 years earlier – Cancer Research UK – 6-Nov-2017
Researchers looked at tissue samples from people with Barrett’s oesophagus that develop into cancer in around 5% of people.
Retrospectively identified predictive genetic markers in 94% of people who developed signs of oesophageal cancer.
People with high risk genetic patterns can be closely monitored for early signs that cancer will develop.
How ‘sleeper cells’ in cancerous tumors can be destroyed – Science Daily – 26-Oct-2017
In many metastasized types of cancer, disseminated tumors grow back despite successful chemotherapy.
Researchers from The University of Bern, Switzerland, has now discovered, this is because of isolated cancer cells that survive the chemotherapy due to a phase of dormancy.
If these “sleeper cells” possess specific defects, however, they can be destroyed.
This could increase the efficacy of chemotherapy for certain patients.
Nanoparticles heat up to kill cancer cells – Labiotech – 25-Oct-2017
Thermotherapy is limited by the damage it causes to healthy tissues.
At 42-45°C cancer cells can be weakened or killed, while healthy cells are left unscathed.
Zn-Co-Cr ferrite nanoparticles developed that stop heating when they reach 45°C.
In vitro tests have suggested that the nanoparticles are low toxicity.
New prostate cancer treatment for previously incurable men – Telegraph – 26-Sep-2017
Highly targeted form of radiotherapy shapes radiation beams to tumours.
When prostate cancer has spread to the pelvis conventional radiotherapy becomes too risky.
Intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) able to give a high dose of radiation with fewer side-effects.
71 % of patients disease free five years after treatment.
Could help around 3,000 men a year who otherwise had little hope.
Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in UK men with 47,000 diagnoses a year.
New treatment for rare triple negative breast cancers – The Institute of Cancer Research – 22-Sep-2017
Triple negative breast cancer is (TNBC) tend to exhibit aggressive behaviour and are more likely to spread to another part of the body, becoming incurable.
It is estimated that around 1,000 women each year in the UK are diagnosed with LAR TNBC – which accounts for around 2% of all breast cancers.
Researchers from Breast Cancer Now Toby Robins Research Centre at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) have identified a potential new treatment approach for some TNBCs after discovering them to be highly sensitive to new drugs called CDK4/6 inhibitors.
Suicide molecules kill any cancer cell – Medical Xpress – 19-Oct-2017
Small RNA molecules can trigger a mechanism forces cells to commit suicide.
Cancer cells never become resistant because multiple genes simultaneously eliminated.
Treatment strongly reduced the tumor growth with no toxicity to the mice.
Many cancers are never really affected by anticancer drugs currently used.
Body shape affects risk of deadlier form of breast cancer – Independent – 15-Sep-2017
Researchers from Shandong University carried out the study on 1,316 women aged between 25 and 70 from Northern and Eastern China who had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer.
They found that apple-shaped women – who carry visceral fat around their internal organs – are more at risk of developing a deadlier form of breast cancer than those with other body shapes.
Autolus starts living medicine cancer trials – Financial Times – 09-2017
London start-up launches Car-T clinical trials.
Carrying out three Car-T (chimeric antigen receptor T-cell) studies.
Autologous treatments engineer the patients’ own immune cells to recognise and kill cancer cells.
40 companies are working on similar living drug treatments.
Dual targeting approach may give Autolus a competitive edge.
Company was spun out of University College London in 2014.
Australian researchers stop melanoma spreading – Medical Xpress – 11-Sep-2017
The Sydney-based Melanoma Institute Australia conducted 2 drug trials of new treatments and have proved it successful in preventing melanoma spreading in stage three patients whose tumours had been surgically removed.
The researchers conducted two 12-month trials, one immunotherapy-based and the other with targeted therapies.
Institute claims that their aim is to make melanoma a chronic rather than a terminal illness.
Alternative cancer treatmenta double risk of death – New Scientist – 14-Aug-2017
Skyler Johnson and his colleagues at Yale School of Medicine in Connecticut say that people who choose alternative medicine over conventional treatment for their cancer are more likely to die from the disease.
They came to this conclusion after identifiing 281 people with different types of cancer who had opted for unproven treatments.
The team then compared the health outcomes of these people with 560 others who instead underwent conventional treatment.
Spreading cancer caught on film – BBC News – 6-Jul-2017
Technology will help explain the deadly process of cancer spreading.
Metastatic cancer is rarely survivable with treatment.
Personalized cancer vaccines vanquish melanoma – Scientific American – 06-Jul-2017
Six melanoma patients given an experimental, custom-made, neoantigen vaccine.
None of their tumours returned after treatment.
Custom vaccine created by sequencing the DNA of the tumour cells and searching for mutations.
Algorithms then identify which mutations to make antigens for the immune system to attack.
Two years after treatment the patients’ blood still carried anti-melanoma T cells.
Cancer vaccines could eliminate tumours – New Scientist – 5-Jul-2017
Researchers have been trying to find ways to ramp up the immune response to tumours.
Two new techniques involve making a personalised vaccine that targets many of a person’s cancer molecules at once.
Tumours did not occur in two thirds of people with skin cancer in trial.
Universal cancer test being developed – Independent – 05-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