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Surgical Practices May Explain Survival Differences


Poor colorectal cancer survival rates in some countries could be due to lower rates of surgical resection in those areas, particularly among elderly patients, according to findings from a retrospective, tumor-registry study published in The Lancet Oncology.1 Surgical techniques did not appear to correlate with survival rates in the comparative study of treatment patterns and patient outcomes in England, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.

“Survival from colon cancer and rectal cancer in England and colon cancer in Denmark was lower than in Norway and Sweden,” the authors reported. “Survival paralleled the relative provision of resectional surgery in these countries. Differences in patient selection for surgery, especially in patients older than 75 years or individuals with advanced disease, might partly explain these differences in international colorectal cancer survival.”

Click here to read the full article sourced from Cancer Therapy Advisor.

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UN Scientist Stands Behind Bacon Research


Christopher Wild, the outgoing director for the UN’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has spoken in defense of research that links the consumption of processed meats like bacon to cancer.

The Guardian reports that the original research, which was released by the World Health Organization (WHO) in October 2015, caused an outcry when it concluded that processed meat is carcinogenic, like smoking and asbestos. Just over three years later, Wild still stands by the study’s findings, which sparked headlines such as “save our bacon.”

“The science was crystal clear,” Wild said. “We placed quite a bit of emphasis on the dose-response, if you like – the relationship between quantities eaten and effect.”

Wild further explained the original research, stating that although tobacco, ultraviolet radiation, alcohol, and processed meat are all “grade 1 carcinogens,” this does not mean that they are all equally hazardous. Rather, risk factor depends on how much, and how often processed meat is eaten.

The IARC study is not alone in linking eating bacon and other processed meats to health issues. According to the WHO, diets high in red meat cause up to 50,000 deaths a year while processed meat is responsible for 34,000.

Last May, a study released by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) revealed that ditching processed meat, adopting a regular exercise regime, and avoiding alcohol and sugary drinks can reduce the risk of cancer by 40 percent.

Researchers noted that while processed meat raises the risk of cancer, a plant-based diet rich in whole foods like beans, grains, nuts and seeds, vegetables, and fruits can protect against it. The WCRF advises that people should “consume very little, if any, processed meat.”

Adding to the growing body of medical research on the health benefits of a vegan diet, a study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine revealed that a plant-based diet may lower the risk of colon cancer by as much as 16 percent and rectal cancer by 29 percent. Meat-heavy diets such as keto and paleo, meanwhile, do not lower one’s risk of cancer. Additionally, a study published in The Lancet Public Health, which analyzed the diets of more than 16,000 adults, found that low-carb, high-meat diets could reduce life expectancy...

Click here to read the full article sourced from livekindly.com

Kat Smith
News Editor
January 2019

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Smile please, Dr AI will see you now


By Will Peakin/ December 15, 2018

A trial is underway in the Highlands and Islands of a potentially transformative procedure that will use artificial intelligence to detect bowel cancer.

A capsule containing a tiny camera is swallowed by a patient and passes through their gastrointestinal tract, capturing up to 400,000 images which are then transmitted for analysis.

The procedure is accurate, cost effective, and significantly less disruptive to patients than existing methods. The new funding will support the development of artificial intelligence in analysing the images.

Bowel cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in both men and women in Scotland, and the second most deadly with around 1,600dying from the disease every year.

Currently, invasive, time-consuming and expensive optical endoscopes are used to investigate bowel cancers and gastrointestinal diseases; 30 million in the world, 1m in the UK and 100,000 in Scotland.

Using the minimally invasive colon capsule endoscopy (CCE),a gastrointestinal investigation can be initiated by a GP, undertaken in the patient’s home, and overseen by a consultant remotely.

The pioneering programme involves a partnership comprising NHS Highland, the Digital Health and Care Institute (DHI), the web services provider OpenBrolly, and Danish firm CorporateHealth International (CHI), which has established a base in Inverness.

Feasibility studies have already been conducted at primary care sites in Skye and Ullapool.

Now, from their base in Aurora House on Inverness Campus, CHI and its partners are developing a new ‘patient pathway’ that is locally-based and delivers fast results in a cost-effective way.

“By enabling what are currently complex hospital investigations to be done easily at home,” explained Hagen Wenzek, CorporateHealth’s chief innovation officer, “and by allowing a patient’s medical team to quickly see very accurate results, we’re delivering benefits for clinicians, for public spending and, importantly, for patients. The potential is huge.”

CHI’s founders, Hamburg- based Dr Cornelius Glismann and New York-based Dr Wenzek had been looking around the world for the right partners to develop their diagnostic pathway.

An existing collaboration between the University of Southern Denmark and Scotland’s Digital Health and Care Institute led to Wenzek and Glismann sharing their proposals with DHI’s chief executive George Crooks.

Professor Crooks introduced them to Professor Angus Watson at NHS Highland and James Cameron, Head of Life Sciences at Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). Professor Watson was already exploring this type of approach but lacked the resources to scale it up, which is CHI’s speciality.

Watson had also been working with Elgin-based IT specialists OpenBrolly on projects such as MyCancerPortal. OpenBrolly were experienced in pulling information across NHS firewalls and had learnt effective ways to anonymise patient information and then re-attach it to individual patient records.

Facilitated by DHI and HIE, the partners discovered that they shared the same commitment and confidence in the benefits the project promises. “I didn’t think a government agency could be so flexible and proactive,” added Wenzek. “The collaborative support we’ve had from HIE has been outstanding.”

CHI was one of the first companies to open a base at Inverness Campus,a 215-acre enterprise park with a particular focus on Life Sciences which is becoming a significant economic driver for the Highlands and Islands.

Thirty jobs, including AI and data specialists, are to be created at Inverness Campus over three years and, as demand rises, medical analysts based in Hamburg will be augmented by additional analysts in Inverness who will be reviewing images submitted from capsules across the UK.

Inverness will be CHI’s global research and development centre and, through its collaboration with HIE, the company has already won a contract with Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge to research ways that the analytical process can be undertaken by artificial intelligence.

“This exciting initiative is leading the way toward scalable, community-based bowel cancer screening in a way that can address the substantive backlogs we currently face,” commented Adrian Smith, head of digital transformation at NHS Arden & GEM CSU.

“This is an exceptional and highly creative programme driven by a passionately committed and knowledgeable set of partners that will underpin significant patient, clinician and system-wide benefits.”

Click here to read the full article sourced by Future Scot.

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Study Identifies 40 New Genetic Variants


Collaboration involved researchers from more than 130 institutions globally.

December 3, 2018

The most comprehensive genomewide association study, or GWAS, of colorectal cancer risk to date has discovered 40 new genetic variants and validated 55 previously identified variants that signal an increased risk of colon cancer.

The study, published today in Nature Genetics, also has identified the first rare protective variant for instances of sporadic colorectal cancer, i.e., those not associated with a known familial risk syndrome, and which account for the vast majority of colorectal cancer cases.

Genetic variants occur from differences in our DNA. Most variants are believed to be benign, some are known to be associated with various diseases, and the significance of many others is unknown. While individual genetic variants have little impact on disease risk, several combined variants can become clinically relevant, and this could have an impact on future personalized screening recommendations.

Together, the findings are a significant step toward creating personalized screening strategies and better informing drug development for colorectal cancer. The study identified several loci, the physical location of the gene on a chromosome, near proposed drug targets and genes in pathways not previously known to be causally linked to colorectal cancer.

“A study of this magnitude was possible only through collaboration with our partners from institutions around the world,” said Ulrike “Riki” Peters, PhD, MPH, associate director of the Public Health Sciences Division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the institution which led the study. “Understanding the genetic architecture of colorectal cancer will revolutionize how we assess risk and treatment for this disease, which is the second most deadly cancer in the United States.”

In Pursuit of New Colorectal Cancer Treatment Targets

In 2009, Dr. Peters initiated and has since led the Genetics and Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer Consortium, the world’s largest molecular genetic consortium for colorectal cancer. Using GWAS results to inform cancer drug development, the authors believe, could improve the drug-development success rate and even lead to chemoprevention drugs for high-risk individuals.

“There’s great potential in using GWAS results to inform target discovery for anticancer drugs. For diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease, the GWAS approach drives the discovery of new biology and potential drug targets,” explained Jeroen Huyghe, PhD, who co-led the study’s statistical genetic analysis and is a staff scientist at Fred Hutch.

“To date, the search for new targets for cancer therapy has been limited to focusing primarily on the molecular characteristics of cancer cells. We think there is a huge opportunity in using the GWAS approach to inform drug development for colorectal cancer,” says Huyghe...

Click here to continue reading this article sourced from Everyday Health.

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PASYKAF Cyrpus wins ImpactPANC Award!


Empowering Caregivers of Pan Can Patients for Enhanced Patient Outcomes (EC for EPO)

Celgene launched the 2018 “ImpactPANC” competition designed to recognise and honour patient organisations that demonstrate excellence in crafting novel solutions that innovatively meet the needs of people living with pancreatic cancer and those who care for them.

2018 Theme: Supporting the Needs of Caregivers in Pancreatic Cancer

Celgene extends its sincere thanks to all WPCC organizations who participated in their 2018 ImpactPANC award program indicating that this year’s theme, “Supporting the Needs of Caregivers in Pancreatic Cancer” resulted in some outstanding submissions. They indicated that the panel of judges spent significant time reflecting upon the applications and reviewed each independently giving much consideration to the evaluation process. According to Celgene, it was a very challenging and difficult task to select the five winners of this year’s program.

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Screening for CRC may benefit male patients


According to a recent study, screening for colorectal cancer can benefit male patients, while similar benefits were not found among women. The study appeared in the British Journal of Surgery. Colorectal cancer is the third most common form of cancer in the world. Every year, approximately 3,000 new cases are diagnosed, and roughly 1,200 patients die of it.

Between 2004 and 2016, an extensive screening programme was conducted in Finland, intending to study the potential benefits and downsides of a nation-wide screening for colorectal cancer.

The study targeted people aged 60-69 years, and just under half of the age group, or a little more than 300,000 people, were randomised by late 2011. Half of the population in the study was invited for screening, while the other half of the age cohort served as a control group. Faecal occult blood tests (FOBT) were used in the screening, and patients who tested positive for blood were referred for a colonoscopy.

The first study based on the screening results indicated no significant decrease in mortality, so the screenings were discontinued after 2016. However, researchers from the Helsinki University Hospital and the Finnish Cancer Registry wanted to examine whether the screening had offered benefits to patients with colorectal cancer.

"Practically no cancer screenings have been found to have an impact on overall mortality. However, they may still be useful in other ways. We wanted to study whether the patients could avoid the more intense treatments if they participated in screening for colorectal cancer," said Dr. Laura Koskenvuo.

The study examined the data of approximately 1,400 patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer. The results indicated that among patients from the screening group, the surgical removal of an entire tumour was more commonly successful than it was among the control group patients, and they were less likely to require chemotherapy. The patients from the screening group were also less likely to undergo emergency surgery because of their tumour than the control group patients.

"The control group had 50 percent more emergency surgeries, 40 percent more incomplete tumour removals and 20 percent more chemotherapy treatments than patients in the screening group," said Adjunct Professor Ville Sallinen, gastrointestinal surgeon.

Closer inspection of the results showed that these benefits were particularly prevalent among male patients. Similar benefits were not seen among women.

Additionally, the researchers found that the screening was most efficient at detecting left-sided colorectal cancer and the screening was found to have no benefit for patients with cancer on the right side, possibly because blood seeping from tumours on the right side becomes so diluted as it travels through the colon that the gFOBT can no longer detect it.

"In the future, we must examine whether different screening techniques could improve the situation of female patients and facilitate the diagnosis of right-sided colorectal cancer," the researchers stated.

Click here to read the full article sourced from timesnownews.com

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Want to keep bowel cancer risk at bay?


Intake of aspirin and omega-3 is safe and effective at reducing chances of bowel cancer in high-risk patients, according to a new clinical trial. 

In the trial, published in the journal The Lancet, these low-cost drugs reduced the number of pre-cancerous polyps -- a small growth, usually benign -- in patients found to be at high risk of developing bowel cancer. 

The findings showed that patients who took aspirin had 22 per cent fewer polyps compared to those who took the placebo.

Although aspirin and EPA had beneficial effects on polyp numbers individually, the combination of aspirin and EPA together appeared to have an even greater effect, as it provided another layer of prevention, alongside colonoscopy, the researchers said. 

"The trial demonstrates that both aspirin and EPA have preventative effects, which is particularly exciting given that they are both relatively cheap and safe compounds to give to patients," said Mark Hull, Professor at the University of Leeds in the Uk.



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Your 'Second Brain' is in your gut


The human gut microbiome impacts human brain health in numerous ways - watch this video from Hashem Al-Ghaili and click here to see more from the Science Nature Pages Facebook page.

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EU Health Summit 2018


As we head towards the European Parliament elections in 2019, healthcare systems and citizens across Europe are facing unprecedented challenges arising from an ageing population, and increased prevalence of chronic diseases. At the same time, rapid scientific developments are leading us into a new era of innovation.

What is the role of the European Union in helping European health systems to make the most of these opportunities for the benefit of citizens and patients, while following a sustainable path?

How can different sectors converge to help ensuring a healthy future for Europe?

Join the first ever multi-stakeholder summit organised by 28 organisations from within and across the health community to discuss how Europe could develop and take the lead in areas such as research and innovation, health data and digital health, healthcare organisation and financing, as well as health in all policies.

The summit will take place on 29 November at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Brussels. To register, click here. For more information, please visit our website: www.euhealthsummit.eu

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A remarkable insight into the cancer journey of Barbara Moss


Barbara Moss speaks to Roshaine Wijayatunga, Senior Editor Oncology at the 2018 European Society for Medical Oncology World Congress on Gastrointestinal Cancer (ESMO GI; Barcelona).

Barbara Moss is a Patient Ambassador for EuropaColon and Bowel Cancer UK. At the age of 52, in 2006, Barbara was diagnosed with stage IV colorectal cancer of the colon, spread to the liver and was told she had 3–5 months to live! Barbara is now an active campaigner and an active member of several organizations in the UK and Europe. Her main wish is for patients to be able to access the medicine that they need, to have choices clearly explained and to be treated personally.

Click here to read the full article.

Click here to listen to the podcast.

Published online: 19 October 2018


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