Will cancer ever be cured?

Cancer Reseach UK:  Science Surgery series  

Answering this question isn’t a simple case of ‘yes’ or ‘no’, because it depends on the way that the term ‘cancer’ is defined. The word ‘cancer’ is singular, but it reflects more than just one disease. It should actually be viewed as an umbrella term for a collection of hundreds of different diseases. They all share the fundamental characteristic of rogue cells growing out of control, but each type of cancer, and each person’s individual cancer, is unique and comes with its own set of challenges.

That’s why it’s very unlikely that there will be one single cure that can wipe out all cancers. But, as explained in the short animation below, that doesn’t mean individual cases of cancer can’t be cured:

Read more at Cancer Research UK

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Trial to test new drug in patients with advanced cancer

Cancer Research UK launches trial to test new drug in patients with advanced cancer | Cancer Research UK

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A clinical trial to test a new cancer drug in patients with advanced solid tumours, launches in four centres across the UK, through Cancer Research UK’s Centre for Drug Development.

This early phase trial will test the safety and tolerability of the drug and establish the recommended dose for patients with a variety of cancers including advanced bowel, lung, ovarian, urothelial, pancreatic, breast, head and neck, and oesophageal cancer.

In the first part of the trial, groups of patients will receive increasing doses of the drug, called LY3143921 hydrate, to find the safest dose that best targets the cancer cells. The drug, discovered by Eli Lilly, was brought to Cancer Research UK through the charity’s Clinical Development Partnership scheme.

In the second part, larger groups of patients will receive the highest tolerated dose, so that researchers can investigate how the drug is working on the cancer cells.

The drug has not yet been tested in people but has shown promise in mice by selectively inhibiting Cdc7, a protein that helps cells to reproduce correctly.

Full story at Cancer Research UK

Sugar and cancer – what you need to know

There’s a lot of confusing information and advice out there around sugar. It’s been made the villain of our diet, but where does the consensus lie between how sugar and cancer are linked? | Cancer Research UK Science Blog

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Does it cause cancer? Does sugar feed cancer cells, making them grow more aggressively? And how does the sugar we consume through food and drink affect our health, and what can be done about this?

In this post we’re taking a long hard look at sugar.

We’ll focus specifically on sugar and cancer, busting some myths and covering what researchers are studying in the hopes of finding new ways to treat people with cancer.

And we’ll cover why the amount of sugar in our diets is cause for concern. A high-sugar diet can be bad news when it comes to cancer risk, but not for the reasons that often appear in the headlines.

But first the basics, what our bodies need sugar for and where it comes from in our diet.

Read the full blog post here

Cancer diagnosis in GP surgeries

Better GP access to cancer diagnostic tools would benefit doctors and patients, says RCGP |via OnMedica

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The Royal College of GPs has welcomed a £5 million grant aimed at giving GPs better access to cancer diagnostic tools. Cancer Research UK (CRUK), which is funding the research project, said having more effective ways to diagnose cancer in GP surgeries would save both doctors’ and patients’ time, and reduce anxiety for patients.

The charity announced its £5 million funding for the “revolutionary” CanTest project as part of its Catalyst Award, which it said “aims to help researchers from around the world deliver trailblazing progress in their field with long-lasting results”. CanTest will investigate and develop new ways for GPs, physician’s assistants and nurse practitioners to diagnose cancer in GP surgeries. It will assess the accuracy, cost effectiveness and suitability of a range of diagnostic methods and tools, with the aim of cutting both the wait for diagnosis and the number of referrals.

Read more:

Scientists discover drug combination slows lung cancer cell growth

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Image shows lung cancer cell dividing. Source: Anne Weston, Wellcome images // CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Scientists have shown that a drug combination slows cancer cell growth in a type of non small cell lung cancer when tested in the lab, offering potential for developing new treatments in the future.  Cancer Research UK | British Journal of Cancer

The drug combination delivers a double whammy to the way the KRAS gene makes cancer cells grow. KRAS is estimated to be mutated in 15 to 25 per cent of people with non-small cell lung adenocarcinomas – a disease affecting around 10,400 people in England each year.

The study looked at whether blocking the functions of two proteins called MEK and m-TOR would stop or slow down the growth of non-small cell lung adenocarcinoma cells in the laboratory.

Full reference: Broutin, S. et al.  Insights into significance of combined inhibition of MEK and m-TOR signalling output in KRAS mutant non-small-cell lung cancer. Br J Cancer 115: 549-552; doi:10.1038/bjc.2016.220

Simpler bowel cancer test kit a ‘game changer’

Hundreds of thousands more people across England are likely to take up the offer of bowel cancer screening thanks to the introduction of a new and simpler home-testing kit, Public Health Minister Jane Ellison has announced.

It has been estimated that the new test will increase screening uptake by around 10% – meaning an additional 200,000 people could be tested each year. This means that hundreds of lives could be potentially saved, the Department of Health said.

Read more at Cancer Research UK