Cancer Research UK| July 2019 | Skin cancer rates rocket by 45% in 10 years
Figures analysed by Cancer Research UK (CRUK) demonstrate that in the 10 years since 2004 skin cancer rates rose by more than a third (35%) for women and by almost three-fifths (55%) for men.
The figures have been released to mark the launch of the charity’s Own Your Tone campaign which encourages people to embrace their natural skin tone and protect their skin from too much sun.
Melanoma skin cancer is the fifth most common cancer in the UK and the second most common cancer in people aged 25-49, but almost 90% of melanoma cases could be prevented if people took better care of their skin in the sun both at home and abroad. Getting sunburnt, just once every two years, can triple the risk of melanoma skin cancer.
Karis Betts, health information manager at Cancer Research UK, said: “Sun safety is not just for when you’re going abroad, the sun can be strong enough to burn in the UK from the start of April to the end of September, so it’s important that people are protecting themselves properly both at home and further afield when the sun is strong. We want to encourage people to embrace their natural look and protect their skin from UV damage by seeking shade, covering up and regularly applying sunscreen with at least SPF 15 and 4 or 5 stars.” (Source: Cancer Research UK)
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.”
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).
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.
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.
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.
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 MYB, BRD4 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.
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.
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).
Full press release from University of Edinburgh here
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.
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.
There’s a running joke that if you check your symptoms on the Internet, it will probably diagnose you with cancer.
But there seems to be a growing trend that we are starting to rely more and more on digital technology to help us with our health. For example, WebMD last reported an average of 156 million unique users per month – a 33 per cent increase from the previous year.
Health apps (applications that offer health-related services on your mobile phone or tablet) are flooding the market. And the same goes for wearable technology, or ‘wearables’, like the Fitbit, JawBone and most recently the Apple Watch.
One recent study in JAMA Dermatology, which looked at various skin cancer apps, found that three out of the four apps they examined incorrectly classified at least 30 per cent of melanomasas ‘unconcerning’.
The only one that was accurate wasn’t a diagnostic app at all – it helped people with suspected skin cancer by sending a picture directly to a certified dermatologist.
People’s awareness of the idea of ‘overdiagnosis’ in cancer screening is low, and they have varying opinions of how much is acceptable, according to a new study published in The BMJ
Overdiagnosis, or overdetection, of the disease is when cancers are picked up that would never have gone on to cause any harm in a person’s lifetime. Researchers from the University of Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences carried out a survey of 1,000 people in the UK to examine their views on overdetection. While only one in three (29 per cent) people had heard of overdetection before the study began, results indicated that people were more accepting of it when the potential benefit perceived from screening was higher.
The researchers looked at three hypothetical cancer screening scenarios: breast (for women), prostate (for men) and bowel (for men and women). Online respondents were given the total number of annual cases in the UK and a description of the treatment – including any adverse effects – for each type of cancer. They were also presented with two different screening scenarios: one indicated a 10 per cent reduction in cancer-specific deaths and the second, a 50 per cent reduction. On average, people accepted between 113 to 150 people being overdetected per 1000 people screened. But up to seven per cent of those polled wouldn’t accept any overdetection, while as many as 14 per cent would accept overdetection of the entire screened population.