How NHS investment in proton beam therapy is coming to fruition

Limb, M. | 2019| How NHS investment in proton beam therapy is coming to fruition | BMJ|364|l313 | https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l313

Winter 2019 will be a landmark for the National Health Service, as it will mark the opening of the NHS’s first high energy proton beam therapy unit, at the Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester. Adrian Crellin, NHS England clinical lead for proton beam therapy says: “It is a confirmation that radiation oncology is absolutely a key part of modern cancer treatment.” 

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The two new £125m (€140m; $160m) centres will each treat up to 750 patients a year. “Many of the patients we’ll be treating will be children, young people, and those with what could loosely be termed as rarer tumours,” says Ed Smith, who heads the Christie unit.

Research has advanced since the NHS announced investment in the two national proton beam centres in 2012. Smith, a consultant clinical oncologist, says protons now have “an increasingly proved role in the indications we will treat” and suggests the evidence is “beginning to firm up” for the reduction of long term toxicities.

Conventional radiotherapy uses x rays from multiple directions; a modern variant is high precision, intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT), which aims to maximise the dose to the tumour while minimising the dose to the surrounding tissue (Source: The BMJ).

Read the full story at the BMJ 

The full article is available to staff via NHS Athens, alternatively contact the Library for a copy

A solution to less toxicity in chemotherapy treatment?

Oh, H. J., Aboian, et al |2019| 3D Printed Absorber for Capturing Chemotherapy Drugs before They Spread through the Body|  ACS Central Science| 

A study that describes  the development of 3D printed porous absorbers for capturing excess chemotherapy drugs that are not taken up by the targeted tumor to prevent toxic side effects is published in the journal ACS Central Science.  So far the research has not been conducted in human subjects but the early work could potentially offer a way to make chemotherapy less harmful to the body. 

Abstract

Despite efforts to develop increasingly targeted and personalized cancer therapeutics, dosing of drugs in cancer chemotherapy is limited by systemic toxic side effects. We have designed, built, and deployed porous absorbers for capturing chemotherapy drugs from the bloodstream after these drugs have had their effect on a tumor, but before they are released into the body where they can cause hazardous side effects. The support structure of the absorbers was built using 3D printing technology. This structure was coated with a nanostructured block copolymer with outer blocks that anchor the polymer chains to the 3D printed support structure and a middle block that has an affinity for the drug. The middle block is polystyrenesulfonate which binds to doxorubicin, a widely used and effective chemotherapy drug with significant toxic side effects. The absorbers are designed for deployment during chemotherapy using minimally invasive image-guided endovascular surgical procedures. We show that the introduction of the absorbers into the blood of swine models enables the capture of 64 ± 6% of the administered drug (doxorubicin) without any immediate adverse effects. Problems related to blood clots, vein wall dissection, and other biocompatibility issues were not observed. This development represents a significant step forward in minimizing toxic side effects of chemotherapy.

The full article is available to download from ACS Central Science

In the news:

BBC News ‘Less toxic’ chemotherapy hope

From eyedrops to potential leukaemia treatment

University of Nottingham | December 2018 | From eye drops to potential leukaemia treatment

Scientists at the University of Nottingham have found eye drops  have the potential to be used in treatment for an aggressive form of  blood cancer: acute myeloid leukaemia (AML).  Nottingham staff collaborated on research led by experts at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, University of Cambridge, and other scientists which led to the discovery that a compound identified in eye drops, being developed  to treat a form of eye disease, has shown promise for treating AML.The active ingredient in eye drops has the potential to treat AML, as it targets leukaemic blood cells without harming non-leukemic  blood cells. 

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Full details of the research are available from:

University of Nottingham [press release]

Wellcome Sanger Institute [press release]

Abstract 

We recently identified the splicing kinase gene SRPK1 as a genetic vulnerability of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Here, we show that genetic or pharmacological inhibition of SRPK1 leads to cell cycle arrest, leukemic cell differentiation and prolonged survival of mice transplanted with MLL-rearranged AML. RNA-seq analysis demonstrates that SRPK1 inhibition leads to altered isoform levels of many genes including several with established roles in leukemogenesis such as MYBBRD4 and MED24. We focus on BRD4 as its main isoforms have distinct molecular properties and find that SRPK1 inhibition produces a significant switch from the short to the long isoform at the mRNA and protein levels. This was associated with BRD4 eviction from genomic loci involved in leukemogenesis including BCL2 and MYC. We go on to show that this switch mediates at least part of the anti-leukemic effects of SRPK1 inhibition. Our findings reveal that SRPK1 represents a plausible new therapeutic target against AML.

The full article is available to read from Nature Communications

NHS70: spotlight on cancer

NHS England |August 2018 |NHS70: spotlight on cancer

More people are surviving cancer than ever before. As we continue to celebrate 70 years of the NHS, we shine the spotlight on some of the key milestones that improved cancer diagnosis, treatment and care over the decades, as well as looking to the future on NHS cancer care.

NHS England will also explore some of the work of the National Cancer Programme, as the NHS implements an ambitious. They have produced a timeline of cancer care improvements in cancer prevention, treatment and care (Source: NHS England).

You can watch the video here:

 

The NHS has played a major role in advancing cancer treatment and care locally, nationally and globally. In this video, we acknowledge some of the key milestones that marked huge improvements in cancer prevention, treatment and care.

 

Full details are available from NHS England 

Aspirin: a cure for bowel cancer?

University of Edinburgh |  June 2018 | Aspirin’s anti-cancer effects revealed

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have discovered aspirin blocks a key process linked to tumour formation. Although aspirin  is recognised for its ability to reduce an individual’s risk of developing colon cancer-if taken regularly- its tumour fighting properties have been little understood. The team looked at the impact of taking aspirin to fight bowel cancer; focusing on a structure found inside cells called the nucleolus. They tested aspirin tumour biopsies removed from patients with colon cancer, and cells grown in the lab. Their research discovered that aspirin blocks TIF-IA a key molecule essential to the functioning of the nucleolus (via University of Edinburgh).
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Full press release from University of Edinburgh here 

The full article is available to read from Nucleic Acids Research

Chen, J. et al |2018|  Identification of a novel TIF-IA–NF-κB nucleolar stress response pathway| Nucleic Acids Research| gky455| https://doi.org/10.1093/nar/gky455

In the media:

BBC News Aspirin ‘helps block tumour formation’

 

 

 

Lower cancer survival in UK linked to delays in referring patients for tests

Cancer Research UK

GPs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are less likely to immediately refer people with possible cancer for tests or to a specialist than those in comparable countries, according to new research published in BMJ Open.

The research shows a link between survival and those countries where GPs were more likely to refer patients immediately and those who did not. The UK based GPs were least likely to refer quickly.

UK cancer survival is lower than each of the other countries examined except for Denmark.

The results from the International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership (ICBP) – a collaboration between six countries from around the world with similar health care systems – reveals striking new evidence for a possible explanation of international survival differences.

via Lower cancer survival in UK linked to delays in referring patients for tests | Cancer Research UK.

Link to research: Rose, P. et al. Explaining variation in cancer survival between eleven jurisdictions in the International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership: a primary care vignette survey. BMJ Open. 2015.

England smoking ban cuts children hospital admissions

Thousands of children may have been spared serious illness and admission to hospital by the smoking ban in England, research has shown.  The law making it illegal to smoke in public indoor places saw 11,000 fewer children being admitted to hospital each year with lung infections, the study found.

Researchers analysed more than 1.6 million hospital admissions of children aged 14 and under across England between 2001 to 2012.

They found that the introduction of the smoking ban in 2007 was followed by an immediate reduction of 13.8 per cent in the number of admissions for lower respiratory tract infections.

Admissions for upper respiratory tract infections also decreased but at a more gradual rate. The sharpest falls were seen in the most deprived children.

BBC report

Reference: Been, Jasper et al. Smoke-Free Legislation And Childhood Hospitalisations For Respiratory Tract Infections European Respiratory Journal (2015): ERJ-00146-2015. 29 May 2015.