University of Edinburgh research: £6M boost to train doctors in cancer research

University of Edinburgh | May 2019 | £6M boost to train doctors in cancer research

Cancer Research UK has awarded more than £6 million to its research centres in Edinburgh and Glasgow to train early-career doctors to conduct medical research, known as clinician scientists.

Clinical Academic Training Programme will introduce new measures, including more flexible training options and improved mentorship and networking opportunities, It will better support women clinicians who want to get involved and stay in cancer research.

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In particular, the programme will offer a new type of qualification – known as an MB-PhD – which allows doctors to study for a PhD earlier in their medical training.

Traditionally, becoming a clinician scientist involves doctors taking time out of training to undertake a PhD before returning to complete their medical specialism.

Many doctors – particularly women – do not return to research after qualifying as consultants. As a result, the number of clinician scientists in Scotland is in decline, particularly in senior posts.

Now the joint Clinical Academic Training Programme will introduce new measures, including more flexible training options and improved mentorship and networking opportunities, It will better support women clinicians who want to get involved and stay in cancer research.

In particular, the programme will offer a new type of qualification – known as an MB-PhD – which allows doctors to study for a PhD earlier in their medical training (Source: University of Edinburgh).

News story £6M boost to train doctors in cancer research 

University of Nottingham Study: Drugs for invasive breast cancer ‘could treat earliest stages of the disease’

University of Nottingham | May 2019 | Drugs for invasive breast cancer ‘could treat earliest stages of the disease’

Experts from the University of Nottingham’s School of Medicine have undertaken research that has found drugs used to target HER2-positive invasive breast cancer may also be successful in treating women in the first stages of the disease.

The HER2 gene is already closely associated with aggressive, invasive breast cancer and is already treated using the drug trastuzumab, more commonly known as Herceptin.

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The Nottingham study looked at breast tissue from 776 women treated at Nottingham City Hospital between 1990 and 2012 for DCIS. It also collected information from 239 cases of DCIS and invasive breast cancer for comparison.

Following up on cases between two months and 20 years later, the team found that out of 308 patients treated with breast conserving surgery alone, the disease had reoccurred in 67 people (22 per cent). More than half of those (57 per cent) had gone on to develop aggressive, invasive breast cancer. Among the 93 cases treated with surgery and radiotherapy, the cancer came back in eight patients – two with invasive breast cancer and six with DCIS.

The researchers suggest that screening women with DCIS for HER2 may help to identify those at greater risk of developing more invasive forms of the disease.

Current treatments targeting HER2 could also potentially be extended to DCIS patients to reduce the chance of the cancer spreading and reduce the number of HER2-related deaths (Source: University of Nottingham).

Read the full, unabridged news story from the University of Nottingham

New device will protect prostate cancer patients during radiation treatment

An innovation that can reduce the side-effects of radiotherapy for prostate cancer patients by over 70 per cent will be rolled out across the NHS, as part of the Long Term Plan to put cutting-edge treatments at the heart of people’s care.

Thanks to a deal struck by the NHS with manufacturer Boston Scientific, hospitals in England will now be encouraged to use its hydrogel device for all patients who could benefit, making radiotherapy a safer and less painful treatment option for many men.

The hydrogel acts as a spacer, reducing the amount of radiation that can pass through the prostate and damage the rectum during treatment, by temporarily positioning it away from the high dose radiation used in treatment.

The gel, made mostly of water, is injected before treatment starts and then remains in place during radiation therapy, before being naturally absorbed by the body after about 6 months.

In studies, its use has been shown to relatively reduce life-changing side effects, such as rectal pain, bleeding and diarrhoea, by over 70%, meaning significant improvements in quality of life for those battling prostate cancer.

Full story at NHS England

National Lung Cancer Audit

National Lung Cancer Audit annual report 2018  | The Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership 

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Image source: http://www.hqip.org.uk

This report represents the culmination of nearly two years of patient care and follow up, data collection, data analysis and interpretation. Its purpose is to understand the current quality of care and outcomes for patients with lung cancer, to celebrate good practice and to highlight variability, to ensure that all patients have access to the best care.

The results demonstrate improving data quality, higher rates of surgical treatment, and higher rates of systemic anti-cancer treatment across both small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), such that four out of our five key auditable measures have been achieved. Additionally, continuing improvements in data completeness can be observed with 85% completeness seen for performance status (PS), 96% for stage and 64% for recording of lung function in patients potentially suitable for curative treatment, as compared to 82%, 96% and 56% respectively in the previous reporting period.

National Audit of Breast Cancer in Older Patients: 2019 Annual Report

Health Quality Improvement Programme | May 2019 | National Audit of Breast Cancer in Older Patients: 2019 Annual Report

The third Annual Report from Health Quality Improvement Programme describes the process and outcomes of care for 147,162 patients, diagnosed with breast cancer between 1st January 2014 and 31st December 2017 in England and Wales. The patterns of care received by people aged 70+ years are compared with the care received by people diagnosed with breast cancer aged 50–69 years. We also distinguish between the following groups of people with breast cancer:

1. Ductal carcinoma in situ.
2. Early invasive breast cancer.
3. Metastatic breast cancer.

 

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Image source: hqip.org.uk

The report is written primarily for clinicians, providers of breast cancer services, commissioners and healthcare regulators. A version for patients and the
wider public is being produced separately and will be available in summer 2019. 

National Audit of Breast Cancer in Older Patients: 2019