Breast cancer: Scientists hail ‘milestone’ genetic find

Scientists say they now have a near-perfect picture of the genetic events that cause breast cancer.

The study, published in Nature, has been described as a “milestone” moment that could help unlock new ways of treating and preventing the disease.

The largest study of its kind unpicked practically all the errors that cause healthy breast tissue to go rogue.

Cancer Research UK said the findings were an important stepping-stone to new drugs for treating cancer.

To understand the causes of the disease, scientists have to understand what goes wrong in our DNA that makes healthy tissue turn cancerous.

The international team looked at all 3 billion letters of people’s genetic code – their entire blueprint of life – in 560 breast cancers.

They uncovered 93 sets of instructions, or genes, that if mutated, can cause tumours. Some have been discovered before, but scientists expect this to be the definitive list, barring a few rare mutations.


Read at BBC

Healthier lifestyles ‘could cut cancer cases by a third’

Preventable cancers

Data from the World Cancer Research Fund suggests that 20,000 cases of breast cancer and about 19,000 cases of bowel cancer could be stopped each year with small changes in lifestyle.

In 2013, there were more than 351,000 new cases of cancer in the UK.

The WCRF said 84,000 could have been prevented.

Head of research Dr Rachel Thompson said simple changes to diet and lifestyle could make “a huge difference” in the battle against cancer.

“Even minor adjustments, like 10 to 15 extra minutes of physical activity each day, cutting down on alcohol, or limiting your intake of high calorie foods and sugary drinks, will help decrease your cancer risk,” she said.

Link to full story on BBC

Software Lets You See Your Child’s Future Face, University of Bradford Study

Parents could be offered the chance to glimpse into their child’s future using a new piece of software created by scientists at the University of Bradford.

Taking visual cues from the child’s parents, the software can create a much more detailed and accurate portrait of an individual’s likely future appearance than currently possible with existing ‘aging’ software.

As well as offering us a fascinating opportunity to see what Prince George might look like in 2073, it could have a more important role in helping authorities catch criminals or identify missing people.

Speaking at the British Science Festival hosted by the University of Bradford, Hassan Ugail, the University’s Professor of Visual Computing, revealed how blending an individual’s features with those of the parents has enabled programmers to create a reliable forecast of the subject’s future face.

“It’s widely understood that the genes of our parents provide the blueprint for how we look,” he says.


Link to full article

New Clinical Laboratory Test Exposes Cancer Cells with Ultra Violet Light: Improves Accuracy of Current Cancer Assays

New technology accurately distinguishes between cancerous cells and healthy cells. Will it give pathologists a “universal” assay for cancer diagnosis?

In England, a university team has developed a new technology for detecting circulating cancer cells in blood. Their method uses ultraviolet light and the results are so promising that efforts are now underway to develop this method into a clinical laboratory test.

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Great Ormond Street doctors aim to grow ears from fat

Interesting article from BBC. Click here for more information

Doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London are aiming to reconstruct people’s faces with stem cells taken from their fat.

The team has grown cartilage in the laboratory and believe it could be used to rebuild ears and noses.

They say the technique, published in the journal Nanomedicine, could revolutionise care.

Experts said there was some way to go, but it had the potential to be “transformative”.

The doctors want to treat conditions like microtia, that results in the ear failing to develop properly and can be missing or malformed.

At the moment, children have cartilage taken from their ribs, which is then delicately sculpted by surgeons to resemble an ear and implanted into the child.

It requires multiple operations, leaves permanent scarring on the chest and the rib cartilage never recovers.