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Blood test for lung cancer, Protelos shown to slow down osteoporosis and genetic testing for breast cancer

OnMedica staff

Friday, 23 March 2012

BLOOD TEST FOR LUNG CANCER

A blood test that can detect lung cancer five years earlier than conventional screening is to be trialled on the NHS, report The Daily Telegraph (p18), The Guardian (p17) and The Times (p1, 13).

The test, developed by Oncimmune, detects levels of antibodies in the blood produced by the immune system when lung cancer is present. It has been available in the U.S. for two years, the Telegraph says.

A version of the test, known as Early CDT, has been developed at Nottingham University to detect breast cancer cells, notes the Telegraph.

Antibody-detecting tests have existed for a number of years but until recently have not been sensitive enough to accurately detect cancer, the papers all note.

The Times quotes Sir Harry Burns, Scotland’s chief medical officer, saying: “Smaller studies clearly show it does what it says, but does it extrapolate up to thousands of smokers? If that works then you would certainly be planning to expand it more widely.”

The paper also includes a commentary by John Robertson, professor of surgery at the University of Nottingham, who developed the Early CDT lung test, explaining the evolution of the diagnostic (p13).

The news is also carried briefly in The Independent (p17).

PROTELOS SHOWN TO SLOW OSTEOPOROSIS

Arthritis patients could be given a one-pound-a-day drug to delay progression of the disease and reduce the need for hip and knee replacements, report The Daily Telegraph (p1, 4) and the Daily Mail (p4).

Protelos (strontium ranelate) is the first drug to have shown to slow the progression of osteoporosis, the papers report, noting that the findings of a 1,683-patient trial were presented at the European Congress of Osteoporosis, in Bordeaux.

The Telegraph quotes lead author professor Cyrus Cooper, from Oxford and Southampton universities, saying: “For the first time we have a treatment that can slow the development of this debilitating disease and could reduce or even eliminate the need for expensive and painful joint replacement therapy.”

The papers noted that patients in the trial taking the higher dose, 2mg, appeared to show only one year’s worth of disease decline after three years.

BREAST CANCER TEST

Genetic testing could cut the number of women given chemotherapy after breast cancer surgery by 30%, report The Daily Telegraph (p18) and the Daily Mail (p19).

The European Breast Cancer Conference in Vienna heard that the test could determine the genetic signature of breast cancer to identify which women need chemotherapy after surgery, and which do not, the papers say.

Researchers from the Netherlands Cancer Institute studied data from 427 patients with early breast cancer that had not spread, reports the Telegraph.

The Mail adds that the research could eventually lead to safer treatments adapted to individual patients.

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