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News digest – genetic breakthrough, new skin cancer drug, neuroblastoma trial, and more

Posted Aug 16 2013 12:00am
UK newspapers

Our picks of the week’s headlines

  • US research showed how bacteria sometimes found in our mouths and guts can fuel the development of bowel cancer. Our news story has more detail.
  • Around half of the price hike in UK cigarettes has been driven by tobacco companies, rather than tax rises, according to experts at the University of Bath. Here’s our news story .
  • This article by Professor Marcus Munafo about how he feels the tobacco industry misrepresented his research is well worth reading.
  • Dr Len at the American Cancer Society described new research into  the pros and cons of the drug finasteride in prostate cancer prevention. As is often the case with study results, the devil is in the detail, and Dr Len does a great job of explain the key facts.
  • According to MedicalXpress , researchers in San Diego have made a fascinating discovery about how prostate cancers might become resistant to treatment – it involves mysterious molecules called ‘long non-coding RNAs’.
  • Cancer Research UK researchers studying how cells divide have discovered a potential new target for cancer drugs. We covered the work , and researcher Prof Steve Royle explained the significance of his team’s findings in The Conversation .
  • It’s a long way off but this discovery, by US researchers, shows the shape of things to come – tiny nano-scale ‘drug delivery machines’, engineered to target tumours simultaneously in many different ways. Here’s the story in RedOrbit .
  • Sticking with nano-scale discoveries: physicists and biologists working together have invented a nanothermometer that can take the temperature of structures inside cells, according to this article in the Guardian . They say it could open up a whole new field of cancer research.
  • Ovarian cancer cells change profoundly as they spread, according to this press release from Georgia Tech university in the US
  • Ars Technica covered some intriguing and exciting research on harnessing the immune system to fight cancer.
  • Evidence continues to build that diabetes drug metformin could play a role in cancer prevention or treatment. Diabetics taking the drug were less likely to die of prostate cancer, according to research covered by Reuters .
  • We thought this was a really interesting article  in Forbes about the phenomenal cost and challenge of inventing and developing new drugs.
  • Reports emerged last week – such as this blog by Judith Potts in the Telegraph – that ginseng had been proven to help cancer patients with treatment-related fatigue. This is encouraging – fatigue can be incredibly difficult to cope with. But as we blogged last year , there are some serious caveats about how widely applicable this research is. On top of this, ginseng can potentially interfere with certain cancer treatments. Always check with your doctor before taking complementary or alternative treatments. ‘Natural’ doesn’t mean ‘better’.

Olly

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