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Body’s cancer defenses hijacked to make pancreatic, lung cancers more aggressive

The team, from the Cancer Research UK Centre at the UCL (University College London) Cancer Institute, found that mutations in the KRAS gene interferes with protective self-destruct switches, known as TRAIL receptors, which usually help to kill potentially cancerous cells. The research, carried out in cancer cells and mice, shows that in cancers with faulty […]

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Patients with emergency-diagnosed lung cancer report barriers to seeing their GP

The study, carried out by researchers from the London Cancer Alliance (LCA) and King’s College London investigated around 130 patients who were diagnosed with lung cancer after attending as an emergency at one of seven hospitals in south and west London. Overall, nearly half of the patients reported that something had put them off going to the doctor, including difficulty making an appointment, not being able to see their usual doctor, not having confidence in the GP, and fear of what the doctor might find. About a fifth of all patients (18 per cent) said they had not realised that their symptoms were serious.A fifth of all patients — who tended to be older, poorer and more fearful of what the doctor might find — delayed going to their doctor with their symptoms for more than 12 weeks. Three-quarters of the patients had consulted their GP about their symptoms, and one fifth had seen a GP at least three times. …

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‘Invisible tattoos’ could improve body confidence after breast cancer radiotherapy — ScienceDaily

Research suggests that the permanent pin prick marks made on the skin of women having radiotherapy reminds them of their diagnosis for years to come, reducing body confidence and self-esteem. It’s also more difficult to spot these tattoos in dark-skinned women, potentially leading to inconsistencies in the area being treated. The NIHR-funded researchers, based at The Royal Marsden hospital in London, asked 42 breast cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy to rate how they felt about their body, before the treatment and one month later. Half the women were offered fluorescent tattoos, only visible under UV light, while the other half had conventional dark ink tattoos. …

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Step towards blood test for many cancer types

This is the first time that cancer-specific blood markers have been comprehensively reviewed and identified for further clinical development. This study, by the UK Early Cancer Detection Consortium, funded by Cancer Research UK, has analysed 19,000 scientific papers and found more than 800 biomarkers. The aim of this research is to develop a screening test from a single blood sample for multiple cancer types. All cancers produce markers in the blood, so it could be feasible to develop a general screening test for many different forms of the disease. …

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Immunotherapy could stop resistance to radiotherapy — ScienceDaily

The researchers, based at The University of Manchester and funded by MedImmune, the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca, and Cancer Research UK, found that combining the two treatments helped the immune system hunt down and destroy cancer cells that weren’t killed by the initial radiotherapy in mice with breast, skin and bowel cancers. Radiotherapy is a very successful treatment for many forms of cancer, but in cancer cells that it doesn’t kill it can switch on a ‘flag’ on their surface, called PD-L1, that tricks the body’s defences into thinking that cancerous cells pose no threat. The immunotherapy works by blocking these ‘flags’ to reveal the true identity of cancer cells, allowing the immune system to see them for what they are and destroy them…

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Immunotherapy could stop resistance to radiotherapy

The researchers, based at The University of Manchester and funded by MedImmune, the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca, and Cancer Research UK, found that combining the two treatments helped the immune system hunt down and destroy cancer cells that weren’t killed by the initial radiotherapy in mice with breast, skin and bowel cancers. Radiotherapy is a very successful treatment for many forms of cancer, but in cancer cells that it doesn’t kill it can switch on a ‘flag’ on their surface, called PD-L1, that tricks the body’s defences into thinking that cancerous cells pose no threat. The immunotherapy works by blocking these ‘flags’ to reveal the true identity of cancer cells, allowing the immune system to see them for what they are and destroy them. The approach improved survival and protected the mice against the disease from returning. …

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Some women still don’t underststand ‘overdiagnosis’ risk in breast screening

In a survey of around 2,200 women, Cancer Research UK scientists at University College London (UCL) found that 64 per cent felt they fully understood the information given about overdiagnosis — the chance that screening will pick up cancers that would never have gone on to cause any harm — by the National breast screening programme. Information about overdiagnosis has only been included in the NHS breast screening invitation leaflets since late 2013, meaning that overdiagnosis is likely to be a new concept for many people. …

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Bladder cancer patients identified who could benefit from ‘tumor-softening’ treatment — ScienceDaily

“This fascinating new finding could help doctors adapt their treatments to patients with bladder cancer,” said Nell Barrie, Cancer Research UK The team from The University of Manchester, funded by the Medical Research Council, found that patients whose bladder tumor had high levels of a protein, called ‘HIF-1α’, were more likely to benefit from having carbogen — oxygen mixed with carbon dioxide gas — and nicotinamide tablets at the same time as their radiotherapy. The treatment, called ‘CON’, makes radiotherapy more effective. By comparing levels of HIF-1α in tissue samples from 137 patients who had radiotherapy on its own or with CON, the researchers found the protein predicted which patients benefited from having CON. High levels of the protein were linked to better survival from the disease when patients had radiotherapy and CON. …

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