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  • Scheme for early access to drugs is a step in the right direction - Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    publications Update your profile How we deliver research Our research strategy Our institutes Our centres Our research partnerships More Drug discovery and development Recently funded awards Researcher case studies ABOUT US What we do We beat cancer We fundraise We develop policy Our organisation Our strategy Our Trustees CEO and Executive Board Annual report and accounts Annual review Current jobs Graduates and interns Your development Benefits Cancer news Science blog Latest press releases Latest news reports Search all news More Contact Us Press office Publications HOME ABOUT CANCER SUPPORT US NEWS RESOURCES FUNDING RESEARCH ABOUT US You are here Home border 0 Support us Home About us Cancer news Science blog Scheme for early access to drugs is a step in the right direction Scheme for early access to drugs is a step in the right direction Category Science blog March 14 2014 Hollie Chandler Today s announcement that a new Early Access to Medicines scheme will be launched in April is great news for cancer patients It means that some patients especially those with rarer cancers where treatments are often extremely limited could be given new drugs one to two years earlier than they are at the moment It s expected that only a couple of drugs each year will be made available through the scheme Doctors will be able to prescribe innovative drugs as yet unlicensed but deemed to be sufficiently safe and effective through clinical trials This will help patients with advanced illnesses who no longer benefit from existing treatments and who may not live long enough to see the drugs licensed Who will pay When we wrote about the Early Access scheme a few months ago we wanted to know who would pay for the scheme It s now clear that pharmaceutical companies will be expected to provide these drugs for free In turn they will able to collect more data on the drug s clinical effectiveness This will make the scheme affordable for the NHS but it may limit the number of pharmaceutical companies that sign up and consequently the number of drugs available to patients Balancing the risks and benefits It s crucial to keep the well established processes that ensure drugs are safe and effective Unlicensed drugs have not been fully assessed by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency MHRA and so pose certain risks We know that some cancer patients are willing to take risks to try new promising medicines but this will vary between individuals It s important for patients to get support and guidance from their clinician when deciding to take an unlicensed drug through the Early Access to Medicines scheme This should be similar to the support given to patients when deciding whether to take part in a clinical trial Our website has more information about clinical trials Far enough The Early Access to Medicines scheme is a step in the right direction in getting new treatments to patients faster But we think that there are further parts

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2014/03/14/scheme-for-early-access-to-drugs-is-a-step-in-the-right-direction/ (2016-02-11)
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  • New immunotherapy drugs hit the headlines – how do they work? - Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    and dividing Certain viral infections notably HIV disguise themselves from the immune system s patrols as can various parasites and bacteria So too can cancer one of the biggest mysteries in cancer research is why and how an entity so distorted and deranged as a tumour manages to escape the body s defences As an example of how cancer confuses the immune system tumours are often jam packed full of T cells primed and ready to act and yet they somehow fail to recognise the cancer as a threat It s as if tumour cells have developed a secret handshake that they use to trick our T cells into holding fire Understanding how cancers do this is vital to unleashing the immune system s lines of attack and getting better results for patients Researchers have made significant strides in decoding these handshakes In 1992 Japanese researchers found a molecule on the surface of T cells they named programmed death 1 or PD 1 which subsequently turned out to be a key part of their molecular handshake In 1999 a lab in Minnesota isolated a molecule on our other cells that forms the other hand of the handshake which they called PD L1 for programmed death ligand 1 Researchers then discovered that cancers often produced large amounts of PD L1 this was one of the key ways in which they were tricking the body s defences This fired the starting gun on a race to develop drugs to disrupt the handshake by targeting either PD 1 and PD L1 and pretty much every major pharma company joined in By 2006 a lab in Atlanta Georgia had proved in mice that disrupting the PD 1 PD L1 handshake could cure chronic viral lung infections blocking this process could be relevant for a wide range of other diseases The pressure to bring these drugs through trials began to build Neck and neck Wind forward to the present decade There are now at least eight drugs in clinical trials that target either PD 1 or PD L1 Most of them are modified antibodies but a few of them are more exquisitely engineered biomolecules Results to date have been extremely encouraging Watch an animation about how these drugs work In 2012 two early stage phase I trials run by the company Bristol Myers Squibb one of an anti PD 1 drug called nivolumab and another of an anti PD L1 drug called BMS 936559 caused a stir at that year s ASCO conference when they both showed signs of working against a range of cancers A year later another catchily named anti PD 1 drug Merck s lambrolizumab now known as pembrolizumab showed encouraging signs against advanced melanoma and hit the headlines this week following new results presented at the ASCO Conference In recent months AstraZeneca s PD L1 drug MEDI4736 has been garnering some rather over excited headlines notably in the treatment of lung cancer Another runner is Roche s MPDL3280A which was in

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2014/06/02/new-immunotherapy-drugs-hit-the-headlines-how-do-they-work/ (2016-02-11)
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  • NHS England must act as patients miss out on cancer drug tests - Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    bowel cancer certain forms of the KRAS and NRAS genes suggest the patient may benefit from drugs like cetuximab For melanoma patients with faulty forms of the BRAF gene can be offered drugs like vemurafenib and dabrafenib The tests are generally carried out in hospitals on tissue samples biopsies taken from the patient s cancer either at the time they re diagnosed or later on for example after cancer comes back or a previous treatment stops working The results give doctors valuable information about the best course of treatment including whether a targeted drug could work or not For those patients with targetable cancers getting the right treatment can mean months of extra time where their cancer is under control and can even extend life But these tests can provide more information than just whether a patient is suitable for a particular drug They can also tell doctors the likely course of a patient s disease i e how they may react to different treatments or whether they may be suitable for a clinical trial And for those for whom a targeted drug wouldn t be suitable there are benefits too it means they could avoid drugs that won t work for them but which would still cause side effects This is good for the patient but also for NHS as it means it can use drugs more efficiently These tests aren t for every cancer patient at the moment they are only really done for certain cancers where a targeted drug is available or where a particular drug is being tested in trials But while only a handful of targeted drugs are routinely available at the moment more are in the pipeline and the options for cancer patients are increasing This means more patients will need molecular diagnostic tests in the future How many patients are missing out But how widely used are these tests on the NHS To find out we asked all NHS labs in England how many tests they are carrying out focusing on three cancers where targeted drugs are routinely available melanoma lung and bowel cancers Then based on the recorded number of patients with these particular cancers we worked out how this compared with the amount of tests that should be done The graphic below shows what we found Our report suggests that in 2014 around 16 000 patients with lung and bowel cancer in England missed out on these tests completely Given what we know about how often patients tests indicate they re eligible for targeted treatments that means around 3 500 of these patients could have been eligible for a targeted drug that may have helped them And in a sense even those who wouldn t have gone on to get a targeted drug also missed out in that their doctors hadn t explored every treatment option As well as melanoma bowel and lung cancers molecular tests are also done in many blood based cancers So while this highlights the problem it

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2015/08/20/nhs-england-must-act-as-patients-miss-out-on-cancer-drug-tests/ (2016-02-11)
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  • Reforming NICE and the Cancer Drugs Fund – four key changes we want to see - Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    a process that can take many months to process The Early Access to Medicines Scheme EAMS applies across the UK and has allowed some patients to receive two cancer drugs before they were licensed Both of these drugs are new generation immunotherapies which are showing tremendous promise EAMS has been useful in demonstrating how to make promising drugs available to patients and speeding those drugs through the NICE appraisal process once licensed We believe the scheme should be built upon and expanded Of course pharmaceutical companies the Department of Health and the NHS will need to agree on a long term sustainable way to pay for this currently the pharmaceutical company donates these drugs to the NHS The Cancer Drugs Fund should become a time limited way to pay for drugs between licensing and a NICE decision At the moment the EAMS system means a drug can be available for a short time then withdrawn after it gets its licence then made available again or not when NICE rules on cost effectiveness This means there can be a gap in time when a drug isn t available even though it s effective On the other hand drugs can be available through the Cancer Drugs Fund for a theoretically unlimited time even after NICE rules no And quite shockingly no data are collected on how patients fare after being given drugs paid for via the Fund So we think the CDF should be reworked into a way to pay for drugs in between their being licensed and NICE making a decision on cost all the while capturing data on their effectiveness so NICE can make more informed decisions NICE s assessment processes should be subject to a fundamental review We need to clarify how well NICE s processes work for cancer drugs both now and in a future when even more advanced treatments will be discovered NICE should be able to say maybe We think NICE should be able to make temporary conditional approvals that mean that Patients can benefit from drugs that are promising but don t have strong evidence as early as possible Companies have to go away and collect more data on how their drugs are benefiting patients NICE can still say no if the resulting data says the drug does not work well The price that companies pay would be managed during this time We also want to see wider changes to improve the funding system and ensure patients get the best drugs for them These should include A national Molecular Diagnostic service allowing tests to show whether the genetic mutations in a patient s cancer mean they might respond well to new targeted drugs to be provided consistently to all relevant patients we ve written about this here A more flexible system of Individual Funding Requests where patients doctors can apply for exceptional funding for a drug that isn t normally paid for but might benefit their patient because of unique circumstances The experts we ve

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2015/11/19/reforming-nice-and-the-cancer-drugs-fund-four-key-changes-we-want-to-see/comment-page-1/ (2016-02-11)
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  • Obesity and cancer – time for concerted action - Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    indirect cost to society from lost economic productivity due to early illness and death What we found Our headline findings are a real cause for concern If current trends continue we predict that 1 The UK will get heavier The proportion of people who will be obese looks set to continue increasing by 2035 around four out of ten who will be obese The poorest in our society will continue to be most affected with almost half 49 per cent of women from the poorest fifth of the UK projected to be obese in 2035 compared to a quarter 25 per cent of women from the richest fifth This trend though less pronounced is the same for men 2 This will lead to millions of new cases of disease Over the next 20 years we ve estimated that rising levels of obesity could lead to around 700 000 new cases of cancer a staggering number This means that by 2035 the UK s weight problem could be causing around 38 500 extra cases of cancer a year This estimate is higher than previous research we ve funded and emphasises the significant burden of obesity as a risk factor for cancer But on top of this we also found that as well as cancer obesity could also cause millions more cases of diseases like type 2 diabetes heart disease and stroke all of which cast a worrying shadow over the nation s health prospects 3 As well as hitting the country s waistlines it ll also hit the purse strings We estimate that by 2035 these diseases could be costing the NHS and social care services an additional 2 5bn per year every year which we predict to be a conservative estimate The striking thing is that while obesity related cancers are relatively small proportion of the total the cost of treating them is high 330m a year This adds weight to previous predictions about the eye watering cost of obesity to society For example the Foresight report projected that overweight and obesity would cost the NHS a total of 8 3bn per year from 2030 But they all show a clear message if the Government doesn t act now avoidable obesity linked diseases will cost the NHS billions of pounds every year 4 There s hope small reductions can have a substantial impact As well as obesity s impact we also looked at what small reductions in obesity rates could do to mitigate it Reducing the prevalence by just one per cent each year below the predicted trends could avoid 64 200 new cases of cancer over the next 20 years In the year 2035 alone this would likely save 300 million in NHS health and social care costs for all diseases caused by obesity of which 42 million could be saved through NHS cancer care What can be done While these are just a brief summary of the report s findings they emphasise its central point that the Government

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2016/01/07/obesity-and-cancer-time-for-concerted-action/ (2016-02-11)
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  • Dan Hunt | Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    Professor Duncan Baird Professor Fran Balkwill Professor Andrew Biankin See all researchers More Our research history Our research strategy FUNDING FOR RESEARCHERS Our funding schemes Biomarker Project Awards Career Development Fellowship Grand Challenge award View all schemes and deadlines Applying for funding Start your application online Guide to filling in your application form How to make a successful application Funding committees Manage your research grant Manage your grant online Guide to managing a grant online Notify us of new publications Update your profile How we deliver research Our research strategy Our institutes Our centres Our research partnerships More Drug discovery and development Recently funded awards Researcher case studies ABOUT US What we do We beat cancer We fundraise We develop policy Our organisation Our strategy Our Trustees CEO and Executive Board Annual report and accounts Annual review Current jobs Graduates and interns Your development Benefits Cancer news Science blog Latest press releases Latest news reports Search all news More Contact Us Press office Publications HOME ABOUT CANCER SUPPORT US NEWS RESOURCES FUNDING RESEARCH ABOUT US You are here Home border 0 Support us Home About us Cancer news Science blog Author Dan Hunt Author Dan Hunt Obesity and cancer time for concerted action Category Science blog January 7 2016 Dan Hunt Our new report on trends in obesity contains some alarming findings We take a look at it s key conclusions and recommendations Read More As seen on TV Why reducing children s exposure to junk food marketing is a good idea Category Science blog October 11 2015 Dan Hunt To mark World Obesity Day we explore how junk food marketing affects our diet particularly in children and how this relates to obesity and cancer Read More Giving sugar its fix Public Health England recommends halving sugar consumption targets Category Science blog July 17 2015 Dan Hunt We take a look at new recommendations on sugar consumption and whether they will be enough to help the UK fight obesity challenge Read More Obesity and cancer report highlights three things the Government could do Category Science blog March 27 2015 Dan Hunt It s not just about lifestyle choices the government should play a role in combating obesity which is linked to several types of cancer Read More The gap between rich and poor yet more misleading information from the tobacco industry Category Science blog January 20 2015 Dan Hunt We discuss a recent report showing how the tobacco industry has misrepresented scientific evidence on health inequalities to the Government Read More A 6 million commitment to prevent more cancers Category Science blog August 11 2014 Dan Hunt A look at our new 6 million initiative to support cutting edge research into lifestyle and behavioural changes that can prevent cancer Read More Older Posts Newer Posts Popular posts Most read today Most discussed Don t believe the hype 10 persistent cancer myths debunked How does alcohol cause cancer Processed meat and cancer what you need to know How does alcohol cause

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/author/danhunt/ (2016-02-11)
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  • “Surprised and deeply honoured” – our chief executive receives a knighthood - Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    he has overseen with just a few listed here Cancer Research UK co funded a trial of Bowel Scope Screening also called flexi scope or flexible sigmoidoscopy which could save thousands of lives a year when fully rolled out in 2016 Pilots of Bowel Scope are underway in England and soon everyone in England should be offered Bowel Scope Screening at 55 as well as the Faecal Occult Blood Test at 60 Our scientists have played a key role in developing drugs called PARP inhibitors to target cancers carrying certain genetic faults Olaparib is the first of these drugs to be approved for treating certain ovarian cancer patients Harpal has overseen the launch in 2013 of the world s largest study of lung cancer patients This trial is helping understand how tumours respond to treatment and change over time And in October this year we launched the world s largest clinical trial aiming to find out if aspirin can prevent some of the most common cancers coming back Cancer Research UK has also played a vital role in making sure more patients can have innovative radiotherapy treatments For example the number of patients in England who are able to have a modern type of radiotherapy called Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy IMRT has substantially increased thanks to the Radiotherapy Innovation Fund that we helped establish and deliver Harpal chaired the Independent Cancer Taskforce an exceptional opportunity to oversee the development of the new NHS strategy for cancer in England The strategy set out what needs to be done to transform cancer services in England over the next five years from improving prevention early diagnosis and access to treatments to ensuring patients have a experience of their care Although it was only published less than 6 months ago numerous changes are already being put in place And following on from his role with the Cancer Taskforce Harpal will now chair an Independent Advisory Group to advise and oversee progress of the new strategy Harpal is dedicated to ensuring that patients are at the heart of everything we do This can be clearly seen in our most recent research strategy where he set out the ambition that three quarters of people with cancer will survive the disease by 2034 And under his leadership the amount of money the charity spends on life saving cancer research has increased to 464 million in the last year I am very surprised and deeply honoured Harpal tells us It is a privilege to lead Cancer Research UK More than anything this Honour recognises the extraordinary innovation and dedication of our scientists and clinicians to beating cancer the creativity and passion of our fundraisers and amazing volunteers with their commitment to maintaining the highest standards and the tenacity and belief of our policy and information professionals in driving change at all levels and in providing outstanding support for cancer patients and their families I hope this Honour helps to both mark how far we have come in cancer whilst

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2015/12/30/surprised-and-deeply-honoured-our-chief-executive-receives-a-knighthood/ (2016-02-11)
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  • Why I made ‘Right Now’ – Henry Singer - Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    making the Right Now films was a really good way to support Cancer Research UK Cancer Research UK wanted to emphasise the idea that cancer is happening right now and it s a great idea for a campaign When you re going through it all you think it s a unique experience but working on this campaign you realise it s happening everywhere and constantly It s all around us all the time everyone s been touched by cancer personally The brief was to make a series of short films most of them 30 seconds long a couple of 60 second ones and a couple that were 90 seconds long I m someone who makes 90 minute films I find even 60 minute films too short So I went into the job really excited but also slightly nervous given that I have never made an ad in my life The shortest film I ve ever made was 14 minutes long and that was a very long time ago On top of that I m used to making films where I get to know the people in the films really well and I build up relationships with them But this was a situation where that was never going to happen Henry Singer behind the scenes We filmed very intimate powerful dramatic painful moments with patients and their families at very short notice They were extraordinary to let my crew and me into their lives It was incredibly inspiring to see how they dealt with the most terrifying situations imaginable You re parachuting into a moment and these people are undergoing the most difficult journey of their lives and suddenly you re a part of it for maybe 20 minutes 40 minutes maybe an hour at most At the same time Cancer Research UK wanted some of the ads to focus on the scientists doing research to try and understand cancer and design more effective and gentler treatments This was an added challenge How was I going to create an ad in which the work of scientist could stand up in any way next to a moment when a 57 year old gentleman is told he has terminal lung cancer and probably only has a few months to live But I wanted to focus on the scientists behind the scenes because there has been great progress in the battle against cancer and it s those people in white lab coats who are largely responsible for it I had Hodgkin s lymphoma and the treatment for it is very established and largely very successful I m sure that s because there have been clinical trials in the past that looked into the treatment for Hodgkin s so I was absolutely on board with the idea of trying to illustrate the work of research scientists I just tried to find moments that were real You try and put yourself in situations where the interactions between people whether it s patients and their families patients

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2015/12/24/why-i-made-right-now-henry-singer/ (2016-02-11)
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