News from Around the Globe

Research is constant.  Every day we are learning more about how to fight cancer in all of its forms.  Here are the latest news articles from some of the leading cancer organizations.  Check back often to stay up to date.

news from around the world

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Stronger Than Cancer has shared these news articles for information purposes only.  It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

 

News digest – cancer waiting times, complementary treatments, obesity and a NASA-style training for cancer patients?

1 day 5 hours ago

Science blog

Cancer waiting time targets missed since 2015

The most recent figures reveal hospital performance in England is at its worst level on record and cancer waiting time targets have been missed since 2015. According to BBC News, slightly more than 76 in 100 cancer patients are starting treatment within 62 days of being urgently referred by a GP, when the target is 85 in 100.

Tackling melanoma treatment resistance

Blocking a survival mechanism in melanoma cells could tackle resistance to treatment, reports the Mail Online. Our scientists have shown that hitting these advanced cancers with a double whammy attack shrank tumours in mice, as our press release explains.

Women from ethnic minority backgrounds face more barriers to seeking medical help

Our research shows that women from ethnic minority backgrounds report around twice as many barriers than white women to seeking help for potential cancer symptoms. Researchers now hope to find ways to help people overcome some of these barriers so everyone has the best chance of surviving their cancer.

More research needed for hard-to-treat cancers

People with the 6 deadliest forms of cancer are dying due to a lack of research, reports the Mail Online. The figures on research spending were released by the Less Survivable Cancers Taskforce, a coalition of charities aiming to double survival rates in diseases such as pancreatic, stomach and lung cancer.

Labour pledges to spend more on NHS

The NHS is already becoming a hot topic for debate in the 2019 General Election campaign. And BBC News reports the latest promise from the Labour party: to spend more on the health service in England.

Some complementary treatments ‘do more harm than good’

Professor Maria Joao Cardoso, speaking at a cancer conference, warned that some herbal products can interfere with cancer drugs and advised doctors to ask their patients what other treatments they might be taking. But a breast cancer surgeon also said that therapies like acupuncture may have a positive impact on people’s quality of life during treatment.

Should doctors give patients a prognosis?

The Telegraph covers thoughts from the same conference in Australia about whether people with cancer should be given a prognosis. Experts discussed whether giving an exact estimate of how long they had left to live was the best way to present information to patients and why these estimates aren’t always accurate.

UK obesity continues to climb

Nearly 30 in 100 people in England are now are obese, reports the Guardian. And the number of people over the age of 16 years old who are obese has almost doubled in the last 20 years. The new stats from Diabetes UK shows that urgent action is needed from the government to support people to eat more healthily.

Ethnic minority researchers receive less funding

The Independent reports new stats that show ethnic minority researchers are less likely to receive funding for their research than their white colleagues. And white applicants were also awarded more money, receiving £670,000 on average while those from minority backgrounds got £564,000.

Private bowel cancer checks miss or fail to prevent more cancers than NHS

Bowel cancer screening tests carried out by private healthcare providers in the UK are less reliable than those done in the NHS, according to new figures compiled by UK Research and Innovation. The new report revealed variation in the number of bowel cancers diagnosed 6 months to 3 years after screening appointments. Read the Mail Online for more.

And finally…

The bodies of astronauts in space may be under similar physical strains as those of cancer patients, according to experts. The Telegraph reports on a study that found some surprising similarities between the two groups of people, such as muscle and bone loss. They suggest doctors could take note of NASA’s training programme to help prepare people for treatment.

Gabi

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5 top myths about philanthropy

2 days 3 hours ago

Philanthropy and partnerships

We know that the global appetite for philanthropic giving is growing. But for someone thinking about giving a gift to charity, there are often a lot of questions. With the help of some of Cancer Research UK’s philanthropy managers, Samantha Gharial tackles the common misconceptions around charitable giving.

1. My gift won’t make a difference to such a big charity

At Cancer Research UK, more than 9 out of 10 donations we receive are for less than £10, proving that small amounts really do make a big difference. Somehow, over the years, the word ‘philanthropy’ has become tied with wealth and status – but size shouldn’t matter. It’s what you do with your resources that really counts.

Being a large organisation, we can select and fund the very best research and commit to funding large, impactful projects over many years, which smaller charities perhaps can’t afford to do. And if you do want to see the specific impact of your gift, it’s possible to restrict your donation to a certain area of cancer research. You could also consider pooling money as part of a syndicate or joining a ‘giving club’, such as our Catalyst Club, to make your gift go further.

2. Cancer Research UK gets loads of money from the Government

Actually, Cancer Research UK receives almost no Government funding to support its research. As an independent funder of cancer research, most of our income comes from donations, trading and income from our charitable activities (which is predominantly royalty income from pharmaceutical patents). Around a third of our income is from a single source: legacies.

In 2018/19, for every pound of income from donations, investments and royalties, 82p was available to beat cancer – which is impressive in terms of fundraising efficiency. For those who think this figure could still be higher, watch the interesting Ted Talk by Dan Pallotta, an American entrepreneur, author and humanitarian activist, who boldly challenges the way not-for-profit organisations are rewarded for how little they spend, rather than what they achieve.

3. Rich people only give to charity for tax breaks

In fact, according to numerous studies by Beth Breeze, the director of the Centre for Philanthropy at the University of Kent, tax is absolutely not a principal driver for philanthropic giving among wealthy people in the UK. However, tax relief does help by making a gift go a lot further and signalling that philanthropy is supported and encouraged by the Government. For UK taxpayers, Gift Aid means that charities can increase the value of a donation by claiming back the tax: if you don’t pay tax, it costs £1 to donate £1, whereas a basic-rate tax payer need only pay 80p for the charity to end up with £1, and a donation of the same size costs a higher rate tax payer just 60p. Businesses can also set up a Payroll Giving scheme, where employees can donate directly from their salary before tax is deducted.

4. As soon as I express an interest, the fundraisers won’t leave me alone!

Thanks to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), this is impossible. But even before GDPR came into effect, in April 2017 Cancer Research UK became an ‘opt-in’ charity, which means that we ask all supporters to give us permission to contact them about making a donation or signing up to fundraising events. If they choose not to opt in, they won’t receive any marketing or fundraising requests from us.

Our fundraisers work with supporters over time to find an area of cancer research that resonates most with their interests. They build the relationship slowly, help them find the right way to give and allow them to choose the level of engagement they want to receive. Many supporters are keen to hear about the impact of their gift and meet other supporters, while others aren’t. Everyone is unique and experiences their own supporter journey with Cancer Research UK.

5. Money is the only way to give

Your time, energy and talents have tremendous value and can have the same impact as a financial gift. For example, you could open up your network by hosting a private event to raise awareness and encourage others to give. Or you could volunteer your time and skills, such as marketing or IT. Katherine Coates, Partner at international law firm Clifford Chance, has done all of the above. In the 10 years she has supported our work, she has sat on one of our philanthropy boards, hosted networking events and co-founded the Clifford Chance supporters’ syndicate, as well as donating personal gifts. “I like to be actively involved, so not just giving money but time and expertise too,” Katherine explains. “I became more active after my nephew sadly died from pancreatic cancer aged just 22. We felt completely helpless. Supporting the charity has given me an opportunity to overcome that feeling.”

If you’re looking to start a philanthropic journey with Cancer Research UK, please contact nicola.lightfoot@cancer.org.uk

Samantha Gharial is Philanthropy & Partnerships Copywriter at Cancer Research UK

Find out more about philanthropy at Cancer Research UK Read more

Late stage breast cancer survival estimate is 'rarely accurate'

2 days 7 hours ago
Single-number survival estimates for people with late stage breast cancer are unhelpful, research shows. So what approach would be more beneficial?

Lymphoma rash: What to know

2 days 13 hours ago
Lymphoma is a type of cancer that can cause symptoms on the skin, such as a rash. In this article, learn more about a lymphoma rash and how doctors diagnose it.

What to know about bone marrow transplants

2 days 20 hours ago
Bone marrow transplants help treat certain health issues by replacing damaged blood cells with healthy cells. Here, we look at the types and risks of these transplants, as well as how to prepare and the recovery process.

Blocking a survival mechanism could tackle melanoma treatment resistance

3 days 3 hours ago

Press release

The effectiveness of current treatments for melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, could be improved by using approaches that wipe out the ‘survival system’ of cancer cells according to a study published in Nature Communications today.

"By targeting both vulnerabilities at the same time we can kill melanoma cells" - Dr Matthew Sale

Researchers from the Babraham Institute, AstraZeneca and the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre have demonstrated an approach, used in parallel with existing treatments, which knocks out one of melanoma cells’ survival pathways and is effective at triggering tumour cell death and delaying treatment resistance.

The researchers suggest this approach may also help to tackle late stage cancers even after they have become resistant to existing treatments.

There are around 16,000 new melanoma skin cancer cases in the UK every year. Although survival has doubled in the UK in the past 40 years, late-stage melanoma is aggressive and difficult to treat. Around 55% of people with latest stage melanoma survive their disease for 1 year or more compared to nearly 100% of those diagnosed at the earliest stage.* These late-stage cancers evolve rapidly to resist treatment.

Cancer cells can rely on various ‘survival proteins’ to stay alive despite the effect of treatment. But so far, researchers have been unable to pinpoint which of these survival proteins are used by melanoma cells.

Researchers from the Babraham Institute and Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre have now discovered that melanoma cells rely on a protein called MCL1, which is critical for the cells to survive when they are exposed to standard MEK and BRAF inhibitor drugs, such as trametinib or vemurafenib.

The researchers then studied an investigational compound from AstraZeneca, an MCL1 antagonist called AZD5991, and used it in the lab against models of melanoma.

They showed that by blocking MCL1, AZD5991 inactivated the backup survival system within melanoma cells. Combining AZD5991 with a treatment like vemurafenib had a ‘double whammy’ effect against cancer cells, eliminating them more effectively.

This drug combination also worked in late-stage melanoma tumours, derived from patients and grown in mice. In these mice, combinations of vemurafenib and AZD5991 reduced the size of tumours, sometimes almost completely, and slowed their growth compared to standard treatment alone. However, used alone, AZD5991 had no effect in these models.

Patients with these aggressive tumours may be given a different type of drug called an ERK inhibitor; although these drugs are still undergoing clinical trials and not widely available yet, it already seems that melanoma could evolve rapidly to resist them. Future clinical trials could look at whether blocking MCL1 at the same time as giving an ERK inhibitor, could halt the evolution of these late-stage tumours from becoming resistant.

Lead researcher Dr Matthew Sale, from the Babraham Institute, said: “This study has demonstrated that melanoma cells are addicted to the MCL1 protein for survival, but only when they are treated with the existing melanoma drugs.

“By targeting both vulnerabilities at the same time we can kill melanoma cells, causing greater inhibition of tumour growth over a longer time period.”

Dr Simon Cook, group leader at the Babraham Institute, said: “This study stems from 15 years of basic research in which we have sought to understand the normal signals that control whether a cell lives or dies.

“However, we became increasingly aware that these same pathways were not functioning correctly in cancer. Thanks to a long-standing partnership with AstraZeneca and the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre we were able to translate this basic research to understand and potentially better treat melanoma.”

Professor Duncan Jodrell from the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre, who contributed to the research, said: “This work highlights the importance of performing collaborative research like this, as it could lead to new ways to tackle cancers, particularly those that are hard to treat. Our work also shows the value of scientists in basic science labs working closely with drug development specialists and industry scientists, which is fundamental if we want to find better treatments for people affected by cancer.”

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The Benefits of Wakame Seaweed Salad on Blood Pressure

3 days 5 hours ago
I used to think of seaweed as just a beneficial whole-food source of minerals like iodine, for which it is the most concentrated dietary source. […]