One of breast cancer's best-kept secrets has been unlocked by British scientists. They have discovered how the disease escapes into the bloodstream, allowing its deadly spread to the lungs, liver and other vital organs. The find paves the way for drugs that could save thousands of lives a year by stopping the cancer in its tracks. Breast cancer is Britain's most common cancer and one in eight women will be diagnosed with it in their lifetime. The initial tumour that appears on a woman's breast rarely kills but once the disease starts to eat away at other parts of the body it becomes incurable.
An aspirin a day could slash the odds of dying from cancer, new research has shown. The Cardiff University super-analysis of 47 studies revealed that the humble painkiller cut the chances of dying from breast, bowel and prostate cancers by up to a fifth. And in those with a certain gene, it doubled the odds of survival. Other forms of the disease are also likely to be in the grasp of the pills, packets of which are found in most bathroom cabinets and cost pennies. With aspirin already known to help stop cancer from developing in the first place and to protect heart health, researcher Peter Elwood said that it is imperative people are made aware of the benefits.
A drug that is already used to treat strokes can significantly prolong the survival of mice with pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer has the worst survival rate of any major cancer. The standard chemotherapy combination of gemcitabine and nab-paclitaxel (Abraxane) only keeps patients alive for an average of nine months. Treatment is difficult because pancreatic tumours are protected by an armour of connective tissue, blood vessels and immune cells, known collectively as the stroma. Now, a team led by Paul Timpson and Marina Pajic at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, Australia, has shown that the stroke drug fasudil can weaken this stroma, making it easier for chemotherapy drugs to enter the tumour.
Scientists are investigating whether bubbly drinks could boost the success of cancer treatments, after winning a Cancer Research UK award for ideas "outside the box". Researchers from Oxford and Ulster universities say low oxygen levels in tumours is a key reason why radiotherapy and drugs fail. They hope to develop a drink, rich in oxygen micro-bubbles, that could deliver oxygen to cancerous masses. Scientists have noted for years that many cancerous tissues have less oxygen than their healthy counterparts. One reason thought to behind this is that cancers grow rapidly and their blood supply fails to keep up - leaving tumours with torturous, poorly-formed blood vessels that don't deliver oxygen-rich blood as well.
New software built in Japan can detect bowel cancer in less than a second, researchers claim. In recently-conducted trials, the artificial intelligence (AI)-powered system was able to spot colorectal adenomas -- which are benign tumours that can evolve into cancer -- from magnified endoscopic images. The images were matched against 30,000 others that were used for machine learning. The system analysed more than 300 colorectal adenomas in 250 patients, taking less than a second to assess each magnified endoscopic image and determine the malignancy of the tumours with 94 percent accuracy, researchers claim. "The most remarkable breakthrough with this system is that AI enables real-time optical biopsy of colorectal polyps during colonoscopy, regardless of the endoscopists' skill," said study leader Dr Yuichi Mori from Showa University in Yokohama, Japan, who presented the results at United European Gastroenterology Week in Barcelona, Spain.