- Pamper Day at Cancerkin
- “Wellbeing and work – are they compatible with chronic diseases?”
- Study suggests that Herceptin may be effective against more types of breast cancer than previously thought
Pamper Day at Cancerkin
This year’s Pamper Day will be held on March 6th 2013 from 10.30am to 3pm. Led by Laurel Herman, a team of make-up artists, hairdressers, nail technicians and image consultants will descend on the Cancerkin Centre aiming to make you feel truly fantastic!
Laurel’s team includes some amazing people from the beauty industry, including Paul Herrington (former Creative Director at Bobby Brown) and Max Coles (Artistic Director at Michaeljohn’s Mayfair salon).
Spaces are limited and are running out. To book your place contact us on 020 7830 2323 or email Reema on firstname.lastname@example.org!
“Wellbeing and work – are they compatible with chronic diseases?”
Cancerkin’s annual lecture, taking place this year on Tuesday 19th March 2013. The lecture will be given by Professor Dame Carol Black DBE MD FRCP MACP FMedSci, the first UK National Director for Health and Work and current chair of the Department of Health’s Public Health Responsibility Deal, Health at Work Network.
The lecture will explore chronic diseases and their relationship to work. Work, for many people, is a key-determinant of self-worth and identity, besides providing income and a means of social participation and fulfilment. For most people of working age, work – the right work – is good for their health and well-being; and for most people, worklessness is harmful. Work absence and inactivity often follow common health conditions and chronic diseases. In many circumstances this needn’t be the case; many conditions are compatible with work, if the right support is provided and the nature of the work can be tailored. Naturally, despite our best efforts, some people are too unwell or disabled to work at all, and their needs too should be answered promptly and adequately.
The lecture will take place in the Atrium of the Royal Free Hospital and will begin at 6.30pm, with a drinks reception from 5.45pm. Drinks and nibbles will also be served after the talk. Places are free; to reserve yours, please contact Holly, either on email@example.com or 020 7830 2323. Spaces are limited, so please confirm your attendance by Friday 9th March 2013.
Study suggests that Herceptin may be effective against more types of breast cancer than previously thought
Research, published in the journal Cancer Research, has suggested that more women could benefit from Herceptin. Currently, Herceptin (also known as trastuzumab) is often given to women who test positive for high levels of a protein called HER2. Approximately 20 per cent of breast cancer patients have HER2-positive tumours and Herceptin has improved the survival rates in these women.
However, scientists at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center wanted to understand previous research which indicated that some HER2-negative cancers still responded to Herceptin. They found that cancers registering as HER2-negative may still contain a small number (1 to 5 per cent) of treatment-resistant ‘cancer stem cells’, which respond to the HER2 protein and which play an important role in encouraging the cancer to grow and spread. This means Herceptin may be effective in treating a greater number of cancers than first thought. In particular, it is hoped that Herceptin might be useful in lowering the risk of reoccurrence for these cases (known as adjuvant treatment).
Study author Professor Max S Wicha said: “We can now provide a molecular explanation for the surprising finding the adjuvant Herceptin benefited some women with HER2-negative breast cancer.”
“If this is confirmed in clinical trials, it could alter our approach to breast cancer treatment.”
The researchers also found that where a primary breast tumour was classified as HER2-negative, levels of the HER2 protein were higher in the cancer cells which had spread to the bone (the most frequent site to which breast cancer spreads), compared to levels in the primary breast tumour.
Working with mouse models, they found that if Herceptin was given early, when tumours were very small, Herceptin helped to almost completely block bone tumours from growing. However, if it was administered later, once the bone tumours were established, the effect of the drug was negligible.
The researchers say that their findings indicate a move away from drugs that merely shrink tumours, to treatments that also target the cancer stem cells and so prevent cancer coming back. These drugs could then be used in conjunction with traditional chemotherapies, which will still be needed to eliminate the primary tumour cells.
Dr John Stingl, a Cancer Research UK expert of breast stem cells, said: “From a biological perspective, this work makes a lot of sense and could be an early step towards many more women benefiting from treatments that target HER2.”
“Tests to see if a woman may respond to Herceptin look for abnormally high levels of HER2 in the tumour, but actually this research suggests that much lower levels of HER2 can drive the growth of some breast cancers, particularly once they have spread.”
“This presents the tantalising prospect of combating this spread in ‘HER2-negative’ cancers with Herceptin.”
“We don’t know yet whether this will work in the clinic, but it will be exciting to see whether this elegant biological explanation means more women could benefit from this life-extending drug.”
It must be remembered, however, that this research is still in an early stage and patients with HER2-negative breast cancer are not advised to take Herceptin. Future work is still needed to identify which people will benefit from this treatment.
For more information, please see the Cancer Research UK.