- Patient Support Group Meeting
- Christmas at Cancerkin
- Test developed to identify seven classes of breast cancer
Patient Support Group Meeting
On Wednesday 30 October Mr Tim Davidson ChM, MRCP, FRCS (Cancerkin’s Medical Director) Consultant Breast and General Surgeon, Honorary Senior Lecturer in Surgery at the Royal Free Hospital and chair of the General Surgery group at the Royal Free came to a packed Patient Support Group meeting to run a Question and Answer session about breast cancer. The topics covered included the BRACA 1 and 2 genes associated with breast cancer and when testing for them is and is not appropriate; the risk factors for breast cancer; the importance of breast self-examination and what to look out for; the different policies and practices of hospitals as regards post-operative review and discharge; the value of complementary therapies and exercise in aiding recovery from breast cancer treatment; and the risk of lymphoedema. The meeting very much appreciated Mr Davidson’s approach which enabled a wide range of topics of interest to patients to be explored.
Christmas at Cancerkin
Christmas is creeping ever closer and a date has been set for our annual Christmas tombola! It will take place on Wednesday 4th December 2013, outside the Atrium in the Royal Free Hospital. We are looking for volunteers to help run the stall as well as any suitable new items for the tombola. We are also running a book stall and so would welcome any books in good condition that anyone wishes to donate. If you can help us with either of these, please contact Holly, either by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling us on 020 7830 2323.
We are also selling Christmas cards again, and it’s never too early to get organised! We have three festive designs, each of which we are selling, very reasonably, at £3 for a pack of 10. To see the selection, or to purchase cards, simply drop into the Cancerkin Centre anytime Monday-Friday, from 9am – 5.30pm, and we will be happy to help.
Test developed to identify seven classes of breast cancer
Scientists from the University of Nottingham have developed a test that identifies seven classes of breast cancer, which could help doctors to tailor treatment better and increase survival rates.
Breast cancer is a biologically complex disease and each tumour can have very different properties. Last year, researchers found that breast cancer can be divided into ten different subtypes, depending on the genetic make-up. However, these can only be identified using detailed genetic profiling, which is costly and impractical for most patients.
This new method screens for ten key proteins in tumour samples that identify seven different biological types of breast cancer. The study, published in the British Journal of Cancer, looked for the “signature” in each class of cancer in over 1,000 tumour samples. They found that 93% of the samples fitted well into one of seven classes, with the remaining 7% being harder to categorise. The categories were then verified in another 238 tumour samples.
These seven classes were defined by different combinations and levels of ten proteins found in breast cancer cells, which include two proteins already routinely identified in breast cancer cells: the oestrogen receptor and HER2, along with others that are not currently tested for, such as p53, cytokeratins, HER3 and HER4.
From this information, the researchers were able to develop a diagnostic test using these seven distinct classes, which could be ready for use in as little as two years. The technology needed to measure these proteins already exists in most pathology laboratories across the UK.
Baroness Delyth Morgan, chief executive of the Breast Cancer Campaign, said: “We need to ensure the life-saving and life-extending treatments we already have in the clinic are used more effectively – directing the right treatments to those who will benefit, and sparing others from unnecessary side effects, so that by 2050 we can achieve our ambition to overcome breast cancer.
“This new test could be a realistic step towards making the holy grail of personalised medicine a reality, offering hope to the 50,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK every year.”
However, Dr Emma Smith, senior science information officer at Cancer Research UK, highlighted the need for further study: “Research and new cutting-edge technologies are beginning to give us a glimpse of what is on the horizon in this area.
“But it’s not clear whether this set of biomarkers will give doctors any more useful information than the tests already in place.
“We would need results from further studies or clinical trials to say for certain whether this approach could be a good way of identifying different treatments and improving survival for women with the disease.”