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Hospitals in Oxfordshire to test for susceptibility to dangers of chemotherapy

Hospitals in Oxfordshire have introduced a genetic test which helps doctors predict the dangerous side effects of chemotherapy.  

In total, 600 cancer patients at the Cancer and Haematology Centre at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford and the Horton General Hospital in Banbury will undergo a blood test prior to treatment to predict potential side effects of two commonly used cancer drugs - capecitabine and fluorouracil (5FU).

Introduction to Cancer: Focus on Solid Tumors

More cancer patients surviving for longer

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Cancerous cells

Cancer survival rates in England are continuing to improve, though many cancers still have an ‘extremely poor’ prognosis, according to a new report.

Conducted by the Office for National Statistics, the research looked at 24 common cancers and found that for the majority of them the trend of increasing survival continued for patients diagnosed between 2008 and 2012.

Nick Ormiston-Smith, head of statistical information at Cancer Research UK, tells the BBC that the increase in survival rates is thanks to “better treatments, earlier diagnosis and greater awareness”.

Roche’s Perjeta sees ‘impressive’ survival rates

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Roche’s oncology drug Perjeta combined with other medicines can help certain breast cancer patients live longer.

This is according to new trial data from the Swiss firm, presented at a conference of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) in Madrid over the weekend.

It shows that the combination treatment of Perjeta (pertuzumab) with Roche’s ageing blockbuster drug Herceptin (trastuzumab) and chemotherapy agent docetaxel can extend the survival of women with advanced HER2+ breast cancer by 15.7 months more than the current standard treatment.

‘Angelina effect’ sees BRCA tests soar in UK

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Angelina Jolie

Referrals for testing for breast cancer risk more than doubled across the UK, after Oscar-winning American actress Angelina Jolie announced last year that she tested positive for a BRCA1 gene mutation and underwent a double mastectomy.

This is according to new research from published in the journal Breast Cancer Research this week, which says that the rise in UK referrals for the test continued through to October 2013, long after her announcement was made in May last year.

Cancer Research funding to be doubled

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£20 million a year will be put into research leading to earlier diagnosis

Cancer Research UK is to increase its research funding by 50% over the next decade as part of a new strategy to tackle the disease across several fronts, including prevention, improving early diagnosis and finding treatments for cancers with an unmet need.

“There is an overriding belief that the next several years can, and will, transform the outlook for cancer patients,” says Harpal Kumar, the charity’s chief executive.

Kadcyla launches in UK

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Roche’s Kadcyla, indicated to treat an aggressive form of breast cancer, has launched today in the UK.

Kadcyla (trastuzumab emtansine) which was also approved a year ago in the US, combines the manufacturer’s ageing breast cancer brand Herceptin (trastuzumab) and ImmunoGen’s DM1 chemotherapy in one molecule.

Administered intravenously once every three weeks, it is the first antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) for treating HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer.

Pfizer breast cancer drug shows promise

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Pfizer’s experimental breast cancer drug palbociclib has successfully extended progression-free survival in a Phase II trial. 

The pill was administered in combination with Novartis’ Femara (letrozole) to post-menopausal women with advanced tumours, and was found to be more effective than letrozole alone.

The new treatment is being heralded as a potential blockbuster, with some analysts predicting peak annual sales of $5 billion, according to Reuters. 

PIP founder jailed for fraud

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PIP silicone breast implant

The boss of a French firm at the centre of a global health scare over faulty breast implants has been jailed in France for four years.

Jean-Claude Mas, founder of Poly Implant Prothese (PIP), was also handed a fine of €75,000 by a court in Marseille, although it is thought that he will appeal.

The 5th Annual Royal Marsden Breast Cancer Meeting: Hot Topics in Breast Cancer

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