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Also in the press

OnMedica staff

Thursday, 19 April 2012

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BREAST CANCER CAN EFFECTIVELY BE DIVIDED INTO 10 GENETIC TYPES

The Independent (p1,4,5), The Times (p9,42), The Guardian (p5), the Daily Mail (p6) and The Daily Telegraph (p1) report on Thursday that according to a study published in the journal Nature, breast cancer can effectively be divided into 10 genetic types, and this discovery could lead tailored treatments, new drugs and better diagnostic tests.

The discovery, made by University of Cambridge academics and funded by Cancer Research UK, was hailed by charities as a step towards the “holy grail” of tailoring treatments to the needs of the individual. The academics analysed the genetics of 2,000 tumours.

Knowledge of the genetics of each type of the disease could speed up the development of drugs, allowing tailored treatments. The Mail notes: “A handful of such ‘wonder-drugs’, including Herceptin (trastuzumab), are already in use.”

Professor Carlos Caldas, study co-author, said: “[The discovery is] not going to change the way we manage women being treated in the National Health Service (NHS) tomorrow, but it will surely change the way we manage clinical trials [so that] we will be running trials that are much more targeted at each of these different cancer subtypes,” quotes The Independent.

GPs NOT TRAINED TO SPOT ARTHRITIS SYMPTOMS

The Daily Telegraph (p14) reports that according to charity Arthritis Care, more than half of rheumatoid arthritis sufferers visit their GPs three times before being diagnosed, because doctors are not trained to spot symptoms.

“The charity spoke to 131 patients and 42 doctors and health service managers. More than nine in 10 patients said the NHS was not doing enough to ensure that the condition was diagnosed early, while three quarters of health service staff said it was not sufficiently prioritised by the NHS,” says the Telegraph.

A STEP TOWARDS TREATMENT FOR BLINDNESS

The Independent (p13), The Daily Telegraph (p2) and the Daily Mail (p25) say that a study, published in the journal Nature, has shown that blindness can be partly reversed in mice by replacing lost light-sensitive nerve cells in the back of the eye.

The researchers injected immature photoreceptors into the retinas of genetically engineered mice that could not see in the dark. The cells grew nerve connections and generated visual signals that were sent to the brain.

Although clinical trials could still be up to 10 years away, the “landmark” study could offer hope to people suffering from eye conditions such as macular degeneration.

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