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  • TRAIL and error – flipping cancer’s self-destruct switch - Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    orders especially orders that call for their own demise Nevertheless researchers now know the identities of many of the key molecules involved in transmitting self destruct signals Over the last few years Professor Henning Walczak and his team at the UCL Cancer Institute have focused their attention on a particular set of suicide molecules showing it s possible to activate the cell death signal centred on a molecule called TRAIL short for TNF related apoptosis inducing ligand in lung cancer cells And we ve written about their previous work here Now the same group has published a paper in the journal Cancer Cell finding that particular genetic faults found inside cancer cells can actually subvert this self destruct switch and instead encourage the cancer to spread So how does it work KRAS by name crass by nature Since the 1990s scientists have known that TRAIL signals could tell laboratory grown tumour cells to commit suicide But taking this concept out of the lab and into the clinic has proved fruitless trials of drugs that flip these switches have yet to show any clinical benefit for patients Why Professor Walczak and his colleagues wanted to find out Particularly puzzling was the fact that some cancers have more of the protein that kick starts the signal called the TRAIL receptor on their surface If TRAIL receptors are responsible for telling a cell to die why would cancer cells need more of them The key to this puzzle turns out to involve a well known cancer causing gene fault a mutation in a gene called KRAS KRAS acts as a molecular on off switch that tells cells when to grow But in many cancers faults in the gene leave it permanently switched on constantly giving the green light for cells to grow Around one in five human cancers carry a fault in KRAS but it is even more frequent in aggressive types of cancer including just under a third of lung cancers and nearly all 95 per cent of the most common type of pancreatic cancer called pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma Previously Professor Walczak and his team had found that some of the molecules necessary to carry out TRAIL s self destruct signal are dependent on KRAS being turned off But in cancers where KRAS is permanently switched on it turns out that the cancer cell never receives the message to self destruct The faulty KRAS effectively sabotages the TRAIL signal similar to cutting the wire from a switch to a light bulb No matter how many times you flip the switch the light bulb won t turn on So why would these cancer cells still make TRAIL receptors What Professor Walczak and his colleagues now discovered was quite remarkable the faulty KRAS doesn t just cut the wire to the light bulb it actually redirects the signal to an entirely different and previously unknown set of signals We found that when the TRAIL receptor was blocked from passing on the self destruct message

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2015/04/16/trail-and-error-flipping-cancers-self-destruct-switch/ (2016-02-11)
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  • Hazel Nunn | Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    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 Hazel Nunn Author Hazel Nunn New tricks for old drugs blocking oestrogen to prevent breast cancer Category Science blog April 30 2013 Hazel Nunn Tamoxifen is one of the mainstays of breast cancer treatment Since the early 1980s it s been given to women who ve had breast cancer to try to stop th Read More Leaders team up to combat cancer worldwide Category Science blog March 6 2013 Hazel Nunn Today leaders from cancer organisations across the world from Australia to Argentina and Taiwan to Turkey have issued a joint statement about Read More Breast cancer in the UK can we do even better Category Science blog March 1 2013 Hazel Nunn In the UK we re making great progress against breast cancer over 85 per cent of women diagnosed with the disease survive for at least five years And arou Read More Spreading the word about cancer worldwide Category Science blog February 4 2013 Hazel Nunn Today is World Cancer Day In the UK barely a day goes by without a cancer story in the headlines or politicians debating a cancer related issue Here cancer is Read More New horizons for lung cancer Category Science blog July 8 2011 Hazel Nunn Beating lung cancer is one of our greatest challenges It s the most common cancer in the world a staggering 1 61 million new cases are diagnosed every ye Read More First indication that bowel screening is working Category Science blog March 23 2011 Hazel Nunn This week we ve released new figures showing bowel cancer is on the rise Between 2006 and 2008 the number of bowel cancer cases increased by around 10 per c Read More Breast cancer why do the over 70s often fare worse Category Science blog February 16 2011 Hazel Nunn A new study published in the British Journal of Cancer today sheds some light on why older women with breast cancer tend to fare more poorly than their younger Read More Older Posts Newer Posts Popular posts Most read today

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/author/hazelnunn/ (2016-02-11)
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  • Hayley Frend | Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    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 Hayley Frend Author Hayley Frend From Branch to Bedside standing up to inherited bowel cancer Category Science blog March 24 2015 Hayley Frend We take a look at a Stand Up To Cancer funded bowel cancer clinical trial testing the potential to prevent the disease in people with Lynch Syndrome Read More Changing the future of pancreatic cancer The ESPAC trials Category Science blog July 31 2014 Hayley Frend This entry is part 16 of 25 in the series Our milestones This latest in Our Milestones series explores the ESPAC 1 trial which led to an improvement in survival that had never been seen before in pancreatic cancer Read More Older Posts Newer Posts Popular posts Most read today Most discussed Don t believe the hype 10 persistent cancer

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/author/hayley-frend/ (2016-02-11)
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  • Anthea Martin | Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    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 Anthea Martin Author Anthea Martin Classifying leukaemia one size doesn t fit all Category Science blog September 26 2014 Anthea Martin This entry is part 18 of 25 in the series Our milestones A landmark research paper in 1977 changed the way children with acute leukaemia are diagnosed and treated We look at the story of a research milestone Read More Coming together to tackle children s cancers Category Science blog October 31 2012 Anthea Martin From doctors and scientists to parents and survivors the International Society of Paediatric Oncology is bringing people together here s the highlights Read More Behind the Headlines HPV vaccines and cervical cancer Category Science blog March 18 2009 Anthea Martin This week the Welsh Assembly Government announced that its catch up programme for HPV human papillomavirus vaccination is to be sped up protecting even more Read More Older Posts

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/author/ammartin/ (2016-02-11)
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  • ‘It seemed like the surgery had never happened’ – Rosa’s story - Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    Nick Peel Rosa with Gordon Banks MP In the third in our series of guest posts from our Cancer Campaigns Ambassadors Rosa Macpherson shares her personal story and tells us why she campaigns for the Government to improve access to surgery for all cancer patients where appropriate It was 8th December 2008 when I was diagnosed with early stage uterine cancer spotted early thanks to my GP And just over a month later on New Year s Day I was discharged with the all clear A new year and a new life thanks to both early detection and surgery I had never had an operation before It wasn t a minor procedure though and my oncologist carefully described the surgery to me I would have a radical hysterectomy the removal of my womb both ovaries and on further consideration and as a precaution my cervix would also be removed This surgery would be all the treatment necessary as far as they could tell at that point Happily it turned out to be the case I needed neither chemotherapy nor radiotherapy I had never had an operation before never had an anesthetic The team explained the process of the surgery to me the anesthesia and the personalised pain control that would follow I was reassured by the swiftness of the decisions taken and the very short waiting time I had to endure And so 21 days after my initial diagnosis I was being wheeled into surgery The ward assistant told me jokes as I watched the moving ceiling take me closer to the theatre A nurse took my glasses for safe keeping I m blind without them I explained They ll be under your pillow when you wake up she promised I remember I tried to recite the alphabet backwards The next thing I remember is reaching under the pillow and my glasses were there I put them on The world came back into focus It was all over It seemed like the surgery had never even happened I was given the gift of a future Swift diagnosis and prompt effective surgery meant I didn t have to have radiotherapy or chemotherapy or any other expensive cancer medication Surgery is an essential component of the management and treatment of cancer contributing to half of the cases where cancer is cured more than any other treatment I am grateful that I was relatively young 52 and that surgery was available to me and was effective However evidence suggests that older patients are less likely to have surgery for their cancer For example between 2008 and 2012 only 13 9 per cent of over 75 year olds in the UK received surgery for lung cancer compared to 21 4 per cent of 65 74 year olds Where appropriate surgery should be offered to all suitable cancer patients as a treatment option It s so important the Government commits to increasing access to surgery in the older population and that s why ahead of

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2015/02/02/it-seemed-like-the-surgery-had-never-happened-rosas-story/ (2016-02-11)
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  • My role as independent chair of the Cancer Strategy Taskforce - Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    opportunity to do better The NHS is aiming to increase early stage diagnosis by just 10 per cent over the next five years equivalent to about 8 000 more patients living longer than five years after diagnosis We need to chart a path to achieving this But we are not waiting on publishing the strategy to get on with our work Also announced at the same time as the Task Force is the ACE Programme which Cancer Research UK is leading jointly with NHS England and Macmillan This programme has identified more than 60 potential projects to address late diagnosis The projects will be led locally by NHS teams and include Giving GPs direct access to diagnostic tests Working with people at high risk of cancer to help spot the disease early Creating bespoke clinics where unexplained symptoms can get a quick diagnosis Improving multi disciplinary diagnostic centres Boosting the role of pharmacists who keep track of regular prescriptions and may be able to refer patients for tests Allowing GPs to overrule NICE criteria at their discretion Enabling patients to book their own appointments for a diagnostic test Cancer Research UK operates across the UK so although this is a plan being developed for England many of the principles should apply across all four nations and we hope it will support similar work throughout the country Chiefly because of the UK s ageing population we know that many more people will be diagnosed with cancer in the years ahead Cancer Research UK is projecting an increase of a third in the number of cases over the next 15 years So the time is right to set new ambitions and to take a fresh look at how we will meet this need I believe this is the first time that something like this has been led from outside the NHS or Department of Health It is a huge responsibility but one that is central to our priorities as an organisation as well as the many other organisations involved I am in the process of pulling together an excellent group of people to drive this work and provide the expertise necessary My aim is to publish a strategy that is both exciting and ambitious but equally is deliverable and is owned by the people and organisations who will be charged with implementing it I am honoured to have been asked to lead this work Harpal Find out more about the Task Force If you have thoughts on what you would like to see in the future of the cancer plan email taskforce cancer org uk Share this article More on this topic Tags Cancer in the news Diagnosing cancer Early detection Health service policy Policy Radiotherapy Research and trials Research policy Surgery Treatment Comments Click here to cancel reply Henry Scowcroft July 10 2015 Ann first of all thank you for your comments and for your dedication and time supporting Cancer Research UK We re sorry to hear you re concerned about

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2015/01/11/my-role-as-independent-chair-of-the-cancer-strategy-taskforce/ (2016-02-11)
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  • Year of Radiotherapy: A lot can change in 100 years - Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    be spent on radiotherapy Professor Richards believes the medical profession needs to be more aware of the huge advances that have been made in radiotherapy in the last 15 years This view was echoed by Dr Amit Bhargava GP and Chair of the Crawley Commissioning Consortium who noted that radiotherapy was still shrouded in mystery for primary care professionals The government is giving more say to GPs on buying services and much of the NHS budget through Clinical Commissioning Groups but unless GPs learn the value of radiotherapy this could mean that patients continue to miss out Dr Bhargava believes that we need to explain to GPs the difference that new radiotherapy treatments can make for patients in terms they can understand Using a military metaphor he suggested that No one would opt for carpet bombing of their cancer if they knew that laser targeted missiles could be used instead New technology for all Professor Tim Maughan Clinical Director of Cancer Research UK s Gray Institute for Radiation Oncology and Biology in Oxford supported the call for improved access to more advanced radiotherapy treatments He noted how intensity modulated radiotherapy IMRT which shapes the radiotherapy beams to better match the tumour and image guided radiotherapy IGRT which allows the location of the tumour to be tracked so that doctors can ensure they are hitting the target every time can mean better treatment with fewer side effects Experts believe that a third of all patients who are treated with radiotherapy could benefit from IMRT But while 97 per cent of radiation equipment in England is able to deliver IMRT only around 35 of the 50 radiotherapy centres across England have staff trained in how to use this new technique As a result only a limited number are offering IMRT to all patients who might benefit Professor David Dearnaley of the Royal Marsden Hospital explained Radiotherapy has come a long way in the last 10 years Older radiotherapy used to add rectangular radiotherapy beams together and where those beams overlap you get your high dose But if you use rectangular beams you end up with something that looks like a shoebox and of course cancers aren t shaped like shoeboxes Modern radiotherapy means we have much more directed and precise treatment with reduced side effects which allows us to actually increase the dose which controls the cancer even further Putting all that together we ve got a safer treatment which is more effective so it s a win win situation Counting the costs While introducing these newer treatments will require investment this is small compared to the benefits it could bring particularly compared with the overall NHS spend Cancer commands about six per cent of the NHS budget accounting for 6bn per year Of this the radiotherapy budget is a snip at around 300m or just five per cent of the total spend on cancer Adding IMRT to conventional cancer treatment could cost as little as 500 per patient costs that could

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2011/07/29/100-years-radiotherapy/ (2016-02-11)
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  • Making advanced radiotherapy available to everyone who could benefit - Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    Peter Kirkbride co author of the report explains the benefits of this advanced treatment Radiotherapy cures more patients than cancer drugs Radiotherapy has been in use as a cancer treatment for more than 100 years with its earliest roots traced from the discovery of x rays in 1895 The field of radiotherapy began to grow in the early 1900s largely due to the groundbreaking work of Nobel Prize winning scientist Marie Curie who discovered the radioactive elements polonium and radium In the early days radiotherapy was a rather blunt form of treatment and could lead to quite severe side effects due to healthy tissue as well as the cancer being damaged However as with other areas of science and medicine radiotherapy treatment has become incredibly sophisticated in recent years Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy SBRT has the potential to treat tumours with radiation using far fewer treatments know as fractions This not only allows long courses to become much shorter it also offers the possibility that SBRT could be used as an alternative to surgery and because of its precision to treat and possibly cure cancers which otherwise might not be treatable SBRT is an established treatment for early stage lung cancer and has been shown in non randomised studies to be better than conventional radiotherapy at controlling the disease in the lungs and at extending survival For selected lung cancer patients whose tumours are near the edge of their lungs and who can t be operated on either because they have other diseases because they decide they don t want surgery or for technical reasons it offers a good option to control the disease with relatively few side effects It should therefore be available as an alternative to conventional radiotherapy or radical surgery in these patients The technique may also have a role in treating other cancers but the evidence for this is less developed and so can only currently be recommended as part of a clinical trial However this is a rapidly evolving area of medical practice and the number of types of cancer that SBRT is suitable for is likely to expand as more evidence emerges A further benefit of SBRT particularly in these uncertain economic times is that the treatment can often be delivered using standard radiotherapy machines called linear accelerators While SBRT is more resource intensive than conventional radiotherapy in terms of additional planning procedures delivery in only a few high dose fractions provides the opportunity for savings within the NHS In addition SBRT has potential to be used under certain circumstances as an alternative to radical surgery avoiding the need for costly in patient admissions However an informal survey of the English radiotherapy centres showed that the majority of them were not offering SBRT in 2010 Therefore our report pdf has made a number of recommendations The main one is that SBRT should made available to all suitable cancer patients in England particularly those with early lung cancer who are unable to undergo surgery We have

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2011/07/05/making-advanced-radiotherapy-available-to-everyone-who-could-benefit/ (2016-02-11)
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