Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Arthritis drug could also help combat ovarian cancer

Monday Jan 11 2016

"A rheumatoid arthritis drug can kill off ovarian cancer cells in women with the BRCA1 mutation," the Mail Online reports. The drug, auranofin, was found to be effective against ovarian cancer cells associated with the BRCA1 mutation…

Do high doses of vitamin D increase falls risk in the elderly?

Wednesday Jan 6 2016

"Giving pensioners high doses of vitamin D to strengthen their leg bones may put them at higher risk of a fall," The Times reports, after a Swiss study suggested high doses of the supplement offer no benefits, but do increase the risk of falling…

Do potatoes reduce stomach cancer risk?

Tuesday Dec 1 2015

"Eating lots of potatoes will reduce your risk of getting stomach cancer," according to enthusiastic media reports that seized on the UK's love affair with the spud...

Gene editing breakthrough in treating baby’s leukaemia

Friday Nov 6 2015

"Baby girl is first in the world to be treated with 'designer immune cells'," The Guardian reports. Pioneering work carried out at Great Ormond Street Hospital made use of a novel technique known as genome editing…

Blood test could help improve prostate cancer outcomes

Thursday Nov 5 2015

"A blood test can determine whether prostate cancer patients are likely to respond to drugs," BBC News reports. The test assesses whether men with prostate cancer have a good chance, or not, of responding well to a drug called abiraterone…

Ovarian cancer drug 'can help with some types of prostate cancer'

Thursday Oct 29 2015

"Ovarian cancer pill 'effective' at treating men with prostate cancer," The Independent reports after a small trial found the drug olaparib slowed tumour growth in men with a certain type of prostate cancer…

Processed meat 'causes cancer' warns official report

Tuesday Oct 27 2015

"Processed meat ranks alongside smoking as major cause of cancer, World Health Organisation [WHO] says," The Daily Telegraph reports. They have been ranked as a group one carcinogen – the same ranking as cigarettes, alcohol and asbestos…

Claims rhubarb pigment 'could help cancer crumble'

Tuesday Oct 20 2015

The front page of the Daily Express announces that, "Rhubarb can save your life," while other headlines state, "cancer-killing drug of rhubarb [will be available] 'within years' " – but these claims are unsupported by the facts. Tests were only carried…

There may be four distinct types of bowel cancer

Wednesday Oct 14 2015

"Bowel cancer is four distinct diseases, each with a different prognosis," BBC News reports after new research suggests there are four genetic sub-types of bowel cancer. It's hoped adapting treatment to each type will lead to better outcomes…

Why elephants hardly ever get cancer and how that can help us

Friday Oct 9 2015

"Elephants have enhanced defences against cancer that can prevent tumours forming," BBC News reports. Just 1 in 20 elephants die of cancer, compared with around 1 in 5 humans. Researchers wanted to see why this is…

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What is Behind the Headlines?

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