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  • Diagnosing cancer earlier – the latest research from the 2015 NAEDI conference - Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    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 Diagnosing cancer earlier the latest research from the 2015 NAEDI conference Diagnosing cancer earlier the latest research from the 2015 NAEDI conference Category Science blog April 2 2015 Misha Gajewski The third National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative NAEDI conference took place in central London last week Experts from around the globe shared their research findings talked about the impact on policy and looked towards the future to ensure that more cancers are diagnosed earlier Read the discussion here or take a look at how the conference unfolded below View the story NAEDI Conference 2015 our highlights on Storify Share this article More on this topic Tags Cancer Research UK funded research Diagnosing cancer Early detection NAEDI conference Policy Research and trials Screening Signs and symptoms Statistics Popular posts Most read today Most discussed Don t

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2015/04/02/diagnosing-cancer-earlier-the-latest-research-from-the-2015-naedi-conference/ (2016-02-11)
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  • The challenges of diagnosing cancers earlier: a GP’s perspective - Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    However Doctors need to listen more to the patient when THEY know that something is just not right with a particular part of their body It s too often that I see young people wrongly diagnosed only to be told too late that they have Cancer some which could have been picked up earlier with the patient able to recover short term or longer This applies to elder people also obviously But I do see in the media that more younger people are being told that it is nothing to worry about etc e g ovarian cancer for which I had cancer cells removed by having an hysterectomy after years of suffering I had to use the Broken record Syndrome before I got the help I needed allison morris April 25 2015 i am really sorry to have to be so negative to this post my cancer was misdiagnosed by a whole group practice of gps so please do not put the blame on the patient i can inform you of more details at a later date if you so wish to know them Please cancer research more education for the local gp i had a tumour in my arm measuring six inches by 4 inches inches my arm was bent at 45 degrees by the time anybody took any notice of me please feel free to contact me Madeline April 24 2015 I have ovarian cancer finally diagnosed 9 months after I first went to GP Initially GP was quick to refer me BUT sent a copy of a year old ultrasound scan to Gynaecologist He examined me and pronounced it s not ovarian cancer very categorically I asked if I should have another scan he dismissed necessity of this Sent a very complacent letter suggesting GP retest blood marker in 2 months as it was only very slightly raised GP made no note of this and did not call me back and convinced I was fine I did not follow it up For some reason my original symptoms had vanished too at that point By time symptoms returned went back but even then scans were misread and told I had a benign tumour I pushed for bringing laparoscopy forward and only then was cancer found Again I was 48 so it was not likely at my age but have since heard of numerous cases in 40 s and even younger I ve had surgery and chemo but told v likely it will relapse and need more chemo I think cancer should be ruled out FIRST and then look at other possible causes and not the other way round Jan April 24 2015 My husband approached his GP numerous times and for more than a year was sent for blood test after blood test for everything except Prostate cancer which he had By the time he was sent to hospital for proper investigations and told by the GP not to come out until they find out what s wrong with you the cancer had spread to his pelvis and spine and there is now no cure The GP told him that he should have made more fuss David April 23 2015 When I had a recent scare my GP referred me to my local hospital I had tests and examinations within 2 weeks Thankfully it wasn t cancer and I am being treated with medication Can t speak for other doctors but my NHS doctor is brilliant Peter Abrahams April 23 2015 Early diagnosis is important but the GP has got to get it right too My wife went to her GP complaining of excessive fatigue a blood test was arranged and an appointment to the fatigue clinic was arranged for a couple of months out My wife then complained about stomach pains went private and was diagnosed with colon cancer that had spread to the liver In the waiting room of the NHS GP was a poster saying that one of the signs of bowel cancer was fatigue Why was the relevant test for bowel cancer not done RITA MASTERS April 23 2015 Docs do not listen My sister was miss diagnosed for 3 months and has lung cancer Martin Brignall April 23 2015 Far too many people are dying because they are not being referred early enough by their GPs despite seeing their GP at an early stage of noticing symptoms correctly There is a lot of work to be done to ensure that patients are referred promptly and not put off to save money or for whatever other reason not directly clinical To many deaths are happening because of doctors faults not at all down to patients seeking help at late stages This is covered up of course Steve Cooper April 23 2015 It s Ok saying this however my dad had heartburn for over 15 years and visited the doctor numerous times Each time the doctor gave medication and sent him away He has now passed away from Oesophageal Cancer I just hope GP s take note of campaigns like the heartburn one stating over 3 weeks see a doctor My dad did Margaret Fairbairn April 23 2015 i went to doctor first in September with a pain in my side it was January before i was diagnosed with kidney cancer and it had spread to my spine the worst day was when the cancer fractured my spine now I am dying Teresa April 23 2015 My husband had constant stomach pains and constant tests yet his stomach cancer was not found until too late Mrs Goolmohr Cantel April 23 2015 Bravo People need to be made aware of the advantages life over death of early detection Newspapers magazines Internet and new technology should be used to tell people what to watch out for at an early stage Yes people don t want to worry their GPs as often they don t receive proper support People SHOULD be more aware of what early cancer signs

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2015/03/20/the-challenges-of-diagnosing-cancers-earlier-a-gps-perspective/ (2016-02-11)
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  • The importance of diagnosing cancers earlier – the patients’ perspective - Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    invitation to do the same A lot of people think it s a very messy process but it s much the same as what you do every day when you go to the loo A couple of weeks after I sent it off they wrote back asking me to do it again Then a few weeks after my second test I was called into the hospital for a colonoscopy which doesn t sound pleasant but the thought of it is actually worse than the reality As they were going through I saw a little thing on the screen like an almond I said to the registrar That doesn t look right and he said it isn t It was Duke s Stage A bowel cancer the earliest stage it can be I was in hospital for a week after the operation and was back to normal within a month It s seven years on and I ve been fine ever since Without the test I might have gone on for years not knowing I had bowel cancer By the time I did find out it might have been too late or the treatment more traumatic The screening programme may have saved my life and I m disappointed at the national take up percentage Only half of people eligible for bowel screening take the test We need to find better ways of engaging with people about it improving that will save lives and save the NHS money For me cancer hasn t had much of an effect on my life my early diagnosis meant it was just an unpleasant episode Thanks to doing that test and being diagnosed early I ve been able to carry on with normal family life watching my two children settle down The precious moments have been the most normal ones John Marsh diagnosed with early stage bowel cancer through the bowel screening programme in 2008 patient advocate and patient speaker at next week s National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative NAEDI research conference I was only the third Hodgkin lymphoma patient my GP had seen in 40 years Richard s story I was thirty eight I d recently been promoted in my work in local government and was just starting as a Chair of Governors in a local school I only really thought about my health when I had rugby injuries I started to get raging night sweats so bad that some nights I had to sleep in the bath I discovered a lump under my ear had very itchy legs and was losing weight I explained it all away the weight loss was because of pre season training and working late and the night sweats were down to a virus I knew I was ill but I didn t go and seek medical help until there was no other option After five months I went to my GP who sent me to my dentist thinking the lump may be an infected tooth My dentist was suspicious and after checking for and finding lumps under my armpits sent me to the ear nose and throat specialist After tests I was told I had Hodgkin s lymphoma which had spread to my bone marrow My GP didn t get it right first time but if the dentist had sent me back to the GP sooner or later I think we d have been on the right path I was only the third Hodgkin lymphoma patient my GP had seen in his 40 year career I had several courses of chemotherapy and I ve now been clear for 15 years Though I wasn t diagnosed early I was diagnosed early enough for treatment to be effective Ultimately that is what is most important for any patient When I first started treatment my three year old goddaughter nursed me in her Wendy house over Christmas She s now nineteen and studying to be a nurse I m so proud I m very happy that I lived to see that and fingers crossed I ll get to see her graduate and her little brother too Richard Stephens diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in 1998 patient representative on the Independent Cancer Taskforce Read more of Richard s story along with his take on this year s survey of cancer patients experience of NHS cancer care If I d been diagnosed earlier I would have been less scared Lilian s story It was a topsy turvy time I d just relocated from New York to become executive director for science operations and funding at Cancer Research UK I was really busy with this challenging role and a daily four hour commute My cancer would have been picked up earlier if I d stood still long enough to pay attention to my health and to take it seriously I was fifty and thought I was going through the menopause in retrospect there were clear signs that I had cancer I went to my GP for my routine cervical screening appointment for the first time in eight years A few days later he called me while I was working late one evening You know there s something wrong when your GP tracks you down He said I needed to go to the hospital the next day They did a biopsy and diagnosed me with cervical cancer I watched it on a screen and saw the tumour myself clear as day I was scheduled for surgery in three weeks but that was cancelled the day before when the MRI scan finally came through and showed it was too late for surgery to be effective That was traumatic an MRI is an instant image and I think it should be instantly transferred to the right person When I told my mum it was too late for surgery I could tell she thought the cancer was terminal and it crossed my mind too I was terrified I had chemotherapy and radiotherapy instead but treatment didn t start for another 6 weeks when you ve got cancer that feels like a long time to wait I ve now been given the all clear but if I d been diagnosed earlier I would have been less scared while treatment and follow up appointments were all going on We know our own bodies best you know when there s something wrong Don t just put it down to old age and creaking bones Get out there and see your doctor if things don t feel right At the same time I am concerned that it can be very hard to see your GP face to face Important signs could be missed if you don t get to see a doctor I d also like to see more innovations that make it easy to attend screening for example we should think about getting screening units to come to large companies with lots of female or male employees On the 6 th December 2013 I was having a check up with my oncologist and she turned and looked me straight in the eye and said I don t ever want to see you again That news made a lot of people very very happy my entire family my network of friends and support group my colleagues and my husband and of course me These days I m living as full a life as possible Lilian Pittam diagnosed with Stage IIb cervical cancer in 2009 patient advocate Stories to learn from and act on Regardless of the stage at which these individuals cancers were diagnosed it s clear from talking to them that what matters most is that they could still be successfully treated They can now look back with happy memories which they stress is really important But their experiences clearly highlight different challenges that led to delays in their diagnosis and treatment showing what a difference being diagnosed earlier can make Cancer can be difficult to diagnose and these stories raise a number of questions How can we empower and support people with unusual or persistent symptoms like Lilian who are too busy and sometimes afraid to see their doctor How can we make GPs more accessible and support them to spot potential cancer symptoms in people like Richard earlier How can we offer people the advice they need to reduce the barriers to screening so they can have outcomes like John We re exploring these questions through research some of which features in this recent haul of new papers and bringing together world experts to discuss it all at events such as next week s NAEDI conference Crucially alongside those experts are the patients themselves Cancer survival in the UK has doubled in the last 40 years but we still lag behind the best performing countries in the world We must do more to learn from patients like Tom John Richard and Lilian And we must use that knowledge to help diagnose more people earlier and treat them more effectively to give them the best possible chance of surviving cancer Grace Redhead is an early diagnosis officer at Cancer Research UK If you re affected by any of these issues and want help and support you can visit our patient information pages contact our Cancer Nurses or join our Cancer Chat support forum where you can share your experiences with others Want to get involved There are lots of ways that you can volunteer your time to help us to beat cancer including helping to raise cancer awareness and working as an ambassador to help roll out our political campaigns in your local community We want to hear directly from people affected by cancer and are continually identifying other opportunities for you to get involved and influence our work Email your queries or interest to engagement cancer org uk Share this article More on this topic Tags Diagnosing cancer Early detection Screening Signs and symptoms Comments Click here to cancel reply patrina young May 7 2015 I would like GPs to have better ability to know when they don t know and send pts on to someone who will I was misdiagnosed with breast cancer i was told not to worry and as it was what I wanted to hear I didn t do anything until I was called for screening 8months later although I admit I was going back to another GP in the practice after my holiday which was only a few weeks later and by then it had progressed to stage 2 I have been cross with myself for not insisting on seeing someone else at the beginning I know so much more now but also feel that I was let down by the GP After all breast cancer is one of the most common ones around I saw another GP in the practice after surgery so that she could stop this happening to anyone else and she said that I should have been automatically sent to a local One Stop Shop some joined up thinking required I think Needless to say I can never trust that particular doctor again Mrs A Poyser April 28 2015 I think GP S ought to be trained better to diagnose cancer When I went to my practice in Stafford and said i was uncomfortable and my breast hurt to touch I was told breast cancer doesn t hurt well it did and I had it Roz Fitzgerald April 25 2015 I looked at myself in the mirror and thought that doesn t look quite right I found no lumps or bumps so left it a week before going to my GP She couldn t find anything either but as my mammogram was overdue she referred me to the breast clinic with an appointment just a week later by the end of that day I had been mammogrammed ultra sounded biopsied and counselled I returned to the clinic a week later for confirmation of HEP 2 negative grade 3 cancer with a 60 spread of precancerous cells and two tumours I started my chemo just 17 days later and have had two cycles so far I am astonished at the speed of my diagnosis and start of treatment and can only hope that it s truly successful Thank you NHS and especially my GP and Addenbrookes Hospital However I do believe that 3 yearly intervals for mammograms is a poor diagnostic and annual ultra sound screening would be more useful in early intervention I like the idea of large employers offering screening to their employees for a small monthly contribution and would like to see the resurrection of well women well man clinics I also believe that too much emphasis is placed on the patient proving their concerns and while I d hate GPs to be over run with neurotics I do think they should be prepared to dig a little deeper when a patient says something is wrong but I don t know what it is Finally and retrospectively I had possibly been blind to early signs of my cancer In the months before diagnosis I had lost some of my drive and energy had some aches and niggles I had dismissed as age related my tiredness as being winter blues So listen to your body if in doubt keep a journal for a couple of weeks and then go to your GP and be persistent cancer is a sneaky disease and likes to con us all don t let it get the upper hand Lizzie Lloyd Jones April 25 2015 I went to my GP having found a small lump in my breast and thinking it may be just a cyst I was seen by a consultant within 2 weeks I was given a mammogram and ultra sound scan which did indeed reveal several cysts but also a very small shaded area nowhere near the cysts which when a biopsy was taken turned out to be cancerous Fortunately it was very small 5mm I think and stage 1 I was very lucky that the radiologist was so thorough and took a great deal of time checking and re checking the scan But if I had not discovered the cyst in the first place who knows how long it would have been before the cancer revealed itself It is so important to check your breasts regularly Stephanie Alden April 24 2015 Interesting personal stories Re the bowel cancer test it cannot be emphasised enough how easy it is to do and how not messy it is On top of that it saved my friend s life by providing really diagnosis You really need to shout loud and long about how easy and clean it is It s easier than wiping your bottom Jane Monks April 24 2015 As I am over 75 I am no longer routinely offered mammograms or bowel cancer screening I find this bizarre as I believe the risks are just the same I am able to ask for these of course but feel this should not be necessary My GP practice tells me they can no longer screen for cervical cancer at my age but I do not know why or what the risks are Madeline April 24 2015 More screening tests are urgently needed eg for ovarian cancer which is more deadly and takes more lives than all other gynae cancers combined At the very least nurses GP s should use opportunities such as smear test apptmts to check if women have any of the main but often vague symptoms and reinforce that smear tests do not check for any other gynae cancer than cervical as there is so much misunderstanding about this Val Hemmings April 24 2015 It took 3 days of phone calls and finally waiting on the doorstep of my GP to get an appointment in Feb 2014 He prescribed antacids for my stomach pain After a week of no improvement he organised an ultrasound scan I waited a week for the appointment I then phoned to find out when it would be only to be told I had to wait for another 3 weeks The pain was increasing so I paid privately the next day The GP rang me that afternoon to tell me I had enlarged Lymph nodes and a mass on my pancreas He referred me to a Consultant gastroenterologist Waiting another 2 weeks to see him was far too long as by now I had severe pain I needed a CT scan but was told this could only be authorised by a consultant I then paid privately after seeing him for the CT scan It took altogether 2 months to get thediagnosis of stage3 Non Hodgkin s lymphoma Once I had the diagnosis my chemotherapy treatment and care under the NHS was fantastic and in September 2014 after a Pet scan was told the large lymph node on my pancreas was metabolically inactive I am so very grateful to medical scientists Just as an aside note I worked for 12 years ifor the Imperial Cancer Research Fund from 1966 to 1978 Marelle Sierra April 23 2015 I visited my GP in 2011 as I noticed a small pink lump on my ankle She told me it was nothing to worry about only a pyogenic granuloma 3 months later it had grown and I felt it was becoming ugly so asked another GP to remove it He did so and it transpired it was a melanoma over 4mm thick by that time and ulcerated GPs should never take chances with anything that looks at all suspicious Carole Grant April 23 2015 GP s need to take patients family history and concerns seriously I went to the doctor after blood appeared in my stools and explained that my mother had died from bowel Cancer in her 40 s After an examination I was told I probably had piles and to buy cream from the chemist A few months later I saw

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2015/03/19/the-importance-of-diagnosing-cancers-earlier-the-patients-perspective/ (2016-02-11)
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  • The slow dawn of the age of targeted therapies - Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    we ll discuss them below but in our view it s never been a more exciting time for cancer research and treatment Biological barriers Researchers now think tumours evolve in a Darwinian fashion The most serious obstacle to what we might call the targeted age is something we alluded to above cancer s fearsome complexity Earlier this year Cancer Research UK researchers showed how genetically diverse a single patient s disease can be No two samples from a kidney cancer patient s primary tumour or the secondaries were the same And researchers are now finding evidence that even the individual cells that make up a tumour can be profoundly different from each other It seems that tumours can evolve as they grow to become more and more disordered and complex This complexity goes a long way to explaining the limited success of the targeted drugs developed thus far Cancers seem to evolve to evade treatment To illustrate this consider a melanoma patient whose tumour has tested positive for the faulty BRAF gene targeted by vemurafenib Since not all his or her tumour cells are identical it s possible that a small proportion of them don t contain faulty BRAF even though the test is positive So the drug won t affect these cells and in time they will continue to grow and the cancer will come back Alternatively suppose some of the cells maybe just a handful among the millions that make up a tumour carry a second gene fault alongside the BRAF mutation allowing them to evade the drug s effects Again most of the cancer cells will be eradicated but their souped up sisters can survive to grow back So how do you tackle an enemy that s so hard to pin down The answer of course is more research In the first scenario the recurring tumour will be driven by something other than a faulty BRAF gene Finding out what it is and targeting that should allow more treatment with a second drug And hardly a week goes by without a new experimental drug aimed at a particular mutation common in cancers going into clinical trials Once we have enough drugs like these a cancer could theoretically be held at bay by identifying what makes it tick and targeting that each time it comes back In the second scenario researchers are again making progress For example some of the key molecules that allow BRAF driven cancer cells to evade vemurafenib s effects have already been identified Experimental drugs already exist to target these cells for instance trametinib which targets a protein called MEK Combination trials are underway and are showing promise In another example vemurafenib was tested on bowel tumours that also bore the BRAF mutation This didn t work so well But researchers have discovered why and how to get around this again it points to combining vemurafenib with another class of new drugs called EGFR inhibitors which are already available The hope is that before too long doctors will have a whole arsenal of targeted treatments which they can give in different combinations and alongside conventional chemotherapy depending on the genetic make up of a patient s disease In this light it s hardly surprising that the single drug regimes tested in recent years haven t lived up to expectation they almost certainly work much better in combination But this all needs to be proven in clinical trials And if and when these trials do show which combinations work for which patients we need to be able to pay for them Which brings us to the second set of barriers the social ethical and financial ones Social ethical and financial barriers to targeted cancer therapy New drugs are expensive As the story of vemurafenib and ipilimumab shows there s a gulf between what drugs companies expect at least initially and what health services can afford Thankfully in this case a solution was reached but it took nearly a year We urgently need a rethink of how this works so patients aren t left in limbo while regulators and pharma companies negotiate On the one hand we do appreciate that the pharma industry needs to invest in new research and development and is facing a squeeze as existing patents expire On the other their marketing budgets have historically been very large and the initial price they offer regulators is frequently too high for an immediate yes We need to find a better way But aside from the crucial issue of cost ever more pressing in these straitened times there are other barriers as discussed earlier this year in an excellent article New England Journal of Medicine article Preparing for Precision Medicine Its authors propose six key obstacles to be overcome Trial design and regulation Testing new drugs in combination is going to require collaborations between drug companies which historically have been reluctant to work together And setting up combination trials will also need to be done swiftly with the minimum of bureaucratic fuss We ve been actively pushing for streamlined trial regulation on a UK and EU level for some time On top of this trials will be focused on smaller numbers of patients and results will be expected quickly Designing robust ethical trials that can do this is no mean feat but not impossible either Better classification of cancers Cancers are classified according to where they originate in the body But this 100 year old system doesn t take into account our new molecular knowledge As noted above some bowel cancers are driven by the same BRAF mutation that drives some melanomas We need a system of recording cancers that recognises this new knowledge Improved electronic data management and patient records To be able to realise fully the potential of molecular targeted treatments health services need to be able to link molecular test results to a patient s record and for these to be available across the NHS records system not buried in a paper

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2012/11/02/the-slow-dawn-of-targeted-therapies/ (2016-02-11)
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  • Conferences - Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    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 Topic Conferences Topic Conferences The route to precision medicine four key challenges we need to meet Category Science blog January 13 2016 Henry Scowcroft We look at the key themes that emerged from the first ever Molecular Analysis for Personalised Therapy conference in Paris last year Read More NCRI cancer conference day 4 the cost of cancer care and the immune system again Category Science blog November 5 2015 Nick Peel Our final report from the 2015 NCRI cancer conference featuring the cost of cancer drugs and another update on immunotherapy Read More NCRI cancer conference day 3 radiotherapy lifestyle and a pill to prevent cancer Category Science blog November 4 2015 Henry Scowcroft All the events from the third day of this year s National Cancer Research Institute conference in Liverpool Read More NCRI cancer conference day 2 big data immunotherapy and prizes Category Science blog November 3 2015 Nick Peel We re back for day two of our highlights from this year s NCRI cancer conference in Liverpool Read More Getting the full picture better imaging makes brain cancer easier to see Category Science blog November 3 2015 Misha Gajewski Scientists have found a way to make brain tumours easier to see according to new research presented at the NCRI conference Read More NCRI cancer conference day 1 prostate cancer drugs and early diagnosis Category Science blog November 1 2015 Nick Peel We pick out our highlights from day one of the NCRI cancer conference Read More How we re building a community to beat oesophageal cancer Category Science blog August 28 2015 Stephanie McClellan We recap what happened at our first ever international conference for oesophageal cancer in Oxford 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

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/topic/conferences/ (2016-02-11)
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  • ASCO 2012 – a new treatment for HER2-positive breast cancer? - Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    trial telling the huge audience that she was honoured to present the trial on behalf of her collaborators from around the world and began by explaining what makes this new treatment special About 20 to 25 per cent of breast cancers have a protein called HER2 on the surface of the cancer cells We can already target these cells using the well known drug Herceptin trastuzumab Herceptin is an antibody drug a molecule that binds to the HER2 protein to help block signals that encourage the cancer cells to grow Double whammy T DM1 takes this targeted approach to the next level The treatment is an antibody drug conjugate a combination of the Herceptin antibody linked to a chemotherapy drug forming a single potent package This double whammy means T DM1 can seek out the cancer cells thanks to the antibody and then deliver a toxic dose of chemotherapy exactly where it s needed That s the theory but does it work in practice The EMILIA trial compared two groups of women with HER2 positive breast cancer that had spread all the women had already been treated with Herceptin and a taxane drug One group received the new drug T DM1 while the other were given a standard treatment for this type of breast cancer two drugs called lapatinib and capecitabine The results presented to the conference were very encouraging The researchers compared how long it took for disease to get worse in the two groups of women a measure of how well the different treatments were working Women receiving T DM1 survived for 3 months longer before their cancers progressed a big difference for patients with advanced cancer On top of this the researchers didn t find a maximum tolerated dose of the drug meaning that even at the highest dose tested side effects were fairly minimal Unanswered question But the key unanswered question is whether T DM1 can help women survive for longer overall Many of the women taking T DM1 are still alive so we can t yet tell exactly how long the average survival time is But the results so far are encouraging 12 and 24 months after receiving the treatment the women on T DM1 appeared to be doing better than those in the comparison group How big a step is this in the treatment of breast cancer After the results had been presented Dr Louis Weiner from the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center stepped up to put the research into context He explained that researchers expect T DM1 to be approved shortly by the US Food and Drug Administration for treating HER2 positive breast cancer that has spread a crucial regulatory hurdle Dr Weiner also gave a nod to the fascinating scientific concepts behind the new treatment harking back to one of the first researchers to grasp the potential of targeted treatments One hundred years ago German scientist Paul Ehrlich had imagined a way to treat diseases using magic bullets that could directly target

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2012/06/06/asco-2012-a-new-treatment-for-her2-positive-breast-cancer/ (2016-02-11)
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  • Counting copies: HER2 and the development of Herceptin - Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    than their non cancerous counterparts But Dr Gullick s study went one step further and showed for the first time that not only was the HER2 gene over represented in breast cancer cells but the HER2 protein was also found at unnaturally high levels He discovered this using antibodies that specifically recognise the HER2 protein revealing exactly where it is and how much is there Working with another of our researchers Dr Diana Barnes from the Imperial Cancer Research Fund Unit at Guys Hospital Dr Gullick found that tumours with the most copies of the HER2 gene also had the most protein And he found that areas of tumours that were starting to spread had more HER2 protein than other areas This was different from other studies as it showed a direct match between having too many copies of the gene and levels of the subsequent protein and that this correlated with how aggressive the tumour was Today around one in eight women with breast cancer in England and Wales are diagnosed with HER2 positive disease adding up to many thousands of women in the UK and many more worldwide with this type of cancer The next step was to turn this laboratory finding into new hope for these patients From HER2 to Herceptin The Herceptin antibody Most drugs work by blocking or interfering with the activity of a protein molecule So the fact that the HER2 protein was present at a very high level in some breast cancer cells highlighted it as a good target for potential drugs to treat HER2 positive tumours Building on the research from our scientists and others around the world Dr Mark Sliwkowski and his colleagues at the biotechnology company Genentech developed a way to target HER2 with an antibody the same kind of molecule that Professor Gullick first used to reveal the location of HER2 in cancer cells The antibody blocked the receptor activity of HER2 stopping it transmitting signals into the cells that made them grow and divide This eventually became the drug Herceptin also known as trastuzumab Herceptin was approved as a drug for HER2 positive breast cancer in 1998 10 years before Sadie got her diagnosis Sadie s treatment Sadie had surgery chemotherapy and radiotherapy before she started Herceptin treatment It wasn t the easiest road for her to walk down as she explains The long haul began I wrote be brave a faint heart never won the day on my first day of chemotherapy but my resolve was tested as I became more and more unwell during the treatment Would I make my daughter s graduation and my nephew s wedding Both of which required photos and I d lost my hair But as the months went by I started to look and feel a bit more normal After all I d got cancer but it had not got me Sadie started Herceptin treatment in 2009 getting the drug every 3 weeks Because it can sometimes affect the heart

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  • Tracking down the BRCA genes (Part 1) - Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    UK team then The Cancer Research Campaign led by Professor Doug Easton pulled together the results from all the linkage studies around the world In a paper published in 1993 they analysed the combined data from more than 200 families affected by breast and ovarian cancer Their results narrowed down the search to a smaller region of chromosome 17 and showed that a faulty gene in this region accounted for most of the families affected by many cases of breast and ovarian cancer But it also confirmed that there must be other breast cancer genes lurking elsewhere a story we ll return to in part 2 Now that Professor Easton s team had confirmed that that the region on chromosome 17 definitely harboured a breast and ovarian cancer gene and it had been reduced to a much more manageable size the BRCA1 race was on Go First out of the blocks was a team including The Cancer Research Campaign s Cambridge based Human Cancer Genetics Research Group led by Professor Bruce Ponder who went on to become the first director of the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Research Institute In May 1994 they published a paper narrowing down the possible BRCA1 containing region even further In August that year Ponder s team together with colleagues in the US published a paper in the journal Nature Genetics detailing a map of the region on chromosome 17 pinpointing more than 20 genes within it that were possible candidates for BRCA1 Not only was this a paper map the scientists had also built a physical map made up of small pieces of DNA spanning the region cleverly smuggled into yeast and bacterial cells so they could be studied in the lab This map laid out the racecourse All that was needed now was to read the sequences of these DNA fragments piece them together into whole genes and then work out which gene had the same faults as those seen in women with hereditary breast cancer Though it sounds simple it was a massive task A number of research groups around the world threw their efforts into the race all angling for the prize of finding the first breast cancer gene Announcing the winners Throughout 1994 various teams published papers describing how they were inching ever closer to the prize but by October the race was over First across the line was a team of US scientists led by Professor Mark Skolnick Writing in the journal Science the team revealed the identity of the gene now known as BRCA1 proving that it was faulty in a number of families affected by hereditary breast and ovarian cancer Although reports at the time talked about winners and losers in the race to track down the gene the ultimate winners are cancer patients and their families From genetic testing to targeted treatments we ll take a look at the benefits of finding the BRCA genes in part 2 of this series It s also important to remember

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2012/02/28/high-impact-science-tracking-down-the-brca-genes-part-1/comment-page-1/ (2016-02-11)
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