Anti-Angiogenesis - Stopping the blood supp

There is a recent TED talk discussing how eating certain foods can prevent tumours from attracting a blood supply and growing.  As with many things in science, the reality is not that simple, thousands of labs all over the world are working on treatments that aim to stop tumours attracting their own blood supply [...]


Does asparagus cure cancer? Nope.

My Dad forwarded me an email called “read the contents below and pass to your friends”.  The gist of it was that aspargus can cure cancer.  It gives three case studies of people with different types of cancer who were cured by eating asparagus and cites a study done in 1979 that I can’t [...]


Science Links

I’ve come across a few good science links lately, if you know of any more feel free to leave a comment below.

Naturally Obsessed – The Making of a Scientist.

This is a one hour documentary about how scientific research works. It follows 3 people in the lab of Dr Lawrence Shapiro in New [...]


Online Cancer Textbooks & Statistics Information

So many things to blog about, so little time!  I’ve found some good (free) resources for biology teaching.  Firstly there is the “Cancer Biology – Open Educational Resource“.  It is an online module produced in conjunction with the University of Bath, there is all sorts of good stuff there, online tutorials on apoptosis and [...]


Are you likely to have a scientist as an MP?

In the run up to the UK election, I thought it was worth posting this link from the Times, Are you likely to have a scientist as an MP? Short answer. No.  Only one candidate standing in this years election is an  active research scientist and perhaps not surpringly, they are in Cambridge.  In [...]


Cancer Research - Highlights and Opportunities

I’d like to draw your attention to a video on YouTube about cancer research. It is produced by the American Association of Cancer Research and it is in part, an advert for the American Association of Cancer Research and (the US) National Cancer Institute. Most of the statistics relate to research in America, however, [...]


How do you explain fatigue to other people?

I have written about cancer fatigue before. Fatigue can affect people with any type of cancer and at any stage of treatment, having said that there is actually very little research and practical support available. Fatigue is tiredness that doesn’t go away with rest and it can be very hard to explain this to [...]


Kidney Cancer News and Resources

A few things have caught my interest this week, including this research on kidney cancer. A very early study has shown that two proteins in your urine (called aquaporin-1 and adipophilin) may act as markers of kidney cancer. This study only looked at 42 people with kidney cancer, so it will need to be [...]


Is there any point in eating fruit and veg?

This week, there have been many news reports saying “Five-a-day has little impact on cancer” and “Five fruit and veg a day won’t keep cancer away”. This is a result of new research, published by in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, you can read the study in all it’s glory here “Fruit [...]


Breast Cancer and Exposure to Chemicals at Work

There have been several news reports about how exposure to certain chemicals at work, before you are 36, increases your chances of getting breast cancer when you are older.  There is a video summary of this research at Insider Medicine, called “Work exposure to certain chemicals increases breast cancer risk“  You can also read [...]


The Human Genome - Still more to learn...

There is a nice feature in Wired magazine about “The Genome Revolution”, it is ten years since all the genes in a human were first mapped.  The article is called “10 years on ‘the genome revolution is only just beginning‘”.  There are a few quotes in the article that particularly struck me

The Human [...]


Foresterhill - Cancer Talk 12th March 2016

I have some more details about events going on in and around Aberdeen for National Science and Engineering Week (12th to 21st March 2016). All are open to anyone (though you may have to register in advance for some events).

For a list of all the events in Aberdeen and a downloadable program, visit [...]


Information is Beautiful - Are supplements worth it?

I found a fascinating website today called “Information is Beautiful“, in particular I was interested in the post “SnakeOil?  Scientific Evidence for Health Food Supplements“.  This post is based on HUGE amounts of data and is a lot to take in at first glance, it certainly doesn’t look like a conventional graph.

So what’s [...]


Nick Clegg - Cancer in the UK

I have previously written about Gordon Brown and David Cameron’s views on cancer in the UK.  This week Nick Clegg, the leader of the liberal democrats has been giving his opinions and they are on the Cancer Research UK website.

Again, like Gordon Brown and David Cameron he starts off by saying that “early [...]


Cancer Resesarch UK Videos

Cancer Research UK have produced 4 short videos about detecting cancer early.  The videos are each 5 minutes long and discuss breast cancer, bowel cancer, lung cancer and mouth cancer.

Obviously there are lots of other types of cancer and there are also links to early signs and symptoms of other types of cancer.  [...]


Waiting Times Update

Figures out this week show that 96 % of people who were urgently referred and then diagnosed with cancer were treated within 62 days.  This means the 95 % target has been reached every quarter for the past year.  The average wait was 35 days.  NHS Grampian treated 96.8% of people within 62 days.



Vitamin D and Colorectal Cancer

A Cancer Research UK press release out today suggests that people with higher levels of vitamin D in their blood have a lower risk of colorectal cancer (you can read the original paper in the British Medical Journal Jenab et al 2016).  This is particularly important in Scotland because we only get about 5 [...]


Cell Journal – 60 Day Free Trial

This is a geeky post aimed at the scientists, the journal “Cell” is trying out a new way of showing scientific articles online and (in my opinion), it looks great. Normally you have to pay a lot of money to read Cell (an online only individual subscription for one year costs about £180). For [...]


Cancer, cold weather and fuel payments

It’s freezing so now seems as good a time as any to mention Mamcillan’s campaign to Freeze out Fuel Poverty. According to Macmillan 1 in 5 cancer patients can’t afford to heat their homes.

If you have cancer Macmillan provide a factsheet about help with fuel bills. In the first instance they suggest you [...]


David Cameron – Cancer in the UK

In September 2015 I drew your attention to an interview between Gordon Brown and the Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK, Harpal Kumar. In the interests of fairness,  I thought I’d point out that Cancer Research UK have posted a similar interview with David Cameron called “David Cameron speaks exclusively to Cancer Research [...]


Can positive thinking cure cancer?

Can positive thinking cure cancer? Personally I don’t think so. That’s not to say that attitude is not important, but the idea that it’s “your fault” if your cancer can’t be cured has no scientific basis. Some of the treatments we have now can cure some types of cancer sadly, not all treatments cure [...]


2016 - A New Year

Happy New Year!  2016 is here, and I will be updating my News blog again on a daily (or almost daily basis).

I’ve had a quick scan of my favourite websites and there is lots to write about, several new bits of research have caught my eye including the effect of blood sugar levels [...]


Can a CT scan give you cancer?

Can a CT scan give you cancer?  Yes, occasionally. A research study published on the 14th of December 2015  looked at whether CT scans increase your risk of cancer, this was covered in the Press and Journal “CT scans may increase risk of cancer“.  CT scans (also known as CAT scans) use X-rays (a [...]


We can afford to pay bankers but not scientists?

This is a politics rant about cuts to the science and education budgets. One of the advantages of having your own website and working for yourself is that you can write what you like, please indulge me, I am about to have a rant…

Obviously, I am a scientist and have spent most of [...]


Does loneliness cause cancer?

Yes, if you are a genetically in bred rat. If you are not? Well the jury is still out.  This story was widely reported in the Times, The Daily Mail and the BBC News website (among others).  As usual, the best place to find out more is the NHS Choices website “Can loneliness cause [...]


Does morphine make cancer cells grow?

I am a bit reluctant to write this post as I don’t want to scare people. Morphine based pain killers are often used to treat cancer pain and this recent news report does not change any treatment your consultant or doctor may have prescribed.

This week the BBC news website had a story “Morphine [...]


Can you prevent cancer? Is it possible?

Can you prevent cancer? Yes, you can prevent some types of cancer, some of the time.  How is that for hedging your beats?  I could be a politician!

Many people think that getting cancer is solely down to fate.  Some people blame faulty genes, after all, you can’t choose your parents.  Many people think [...]


Lung cancer – Why don’t we look for it?

Lung cancer is often discovered at an advanced stage, when it has already spread, this means the survival rate for lung cancer is very low. So why aren’t we doing more about this? We know that smoking causes lung cancers, so why don’t we give smokers an x-ray or a scan to look for [...]


More on microRNAs and why cancer spreads

This is another geeky post.  If you are currently having treatment for cancer the research described in this post will not alter your treatment as this work is being carried out in cells in a laboratory (and not in people) but it is very interesting and will hopefully be used to design new treatments [...]


Science and Evidence Based Medicine Vs Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Not the snappiest title I know!  I have intended to write a post on science and evidence based medicine for a while but I didn’t know where to start. It’s a huge topic and not one that can be covered in a brief blog post.

As a scientist I have been taught to [...]