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Science Alert: Experts Respond

Sunglasses not up to scratch – Expert Reaction

Sarah-Jane O'Connor posted in on August 26th, 2016.

A new study suggests sunglasses’ UV filters need to be more rigorously tested as the current test is unrealistic, especially for people living in the Southern Hemisphere. The Brazilian-led research, published in Biomedical Engineering Online, found the ageing test used to determine safety standards for sunglasses was not sufficient to ensure protection for the average […]

Anti-cancer vaccines – In the News

Sarah-Jane O'Connor posted in on August 25th, 2016.

New Zealand scientists are preparing to move to human clinical trials on a vaccine they hope will aid in the treatment of bowel cancer. The University of Otago researchers studying a potential vaccine for colorectal cancer presented their findings at a Melbourne conference this week. PhD candidate Braeden Donaldson said the vaccine worked differently from […]

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Pharmac confirms funding for melanoma drug – In the News

Sarah-Jane O'Connor posted in on August 3rd, 2016.

Drug-buying agency Pharmac officially announced funding for the melanoma treatment Keytruda on Tuesday. It followed a provisional decision in June to fund the drug and funding for the alternate Opdivo (nivolumab). Pharmac had previously said it had received mixed advice on the long-term benefits of Keytruda (pembrolizumab), but operations director Sarah Fitt said new evidence […]

‘Very hot’ drinks probably cause cancer, coffee redeemed – Expert reaction

John Kerr posted in on June 16th, 2016.

The World Health Organization’s cancer agency has found no conclusive evidence that coffee causes cancer but that drinking very hot drinks (65 °C or above) probably causes cancer of the oesophagus. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) said the finding suggests that it is the temperature of drinks rather than the drinks themselves […]

Cell phone radiation and cancer in rats – Experts reaction

John Kerr posted in on May 30th, 2016.

A new report detailing an increase in tumours in male rats exposed to cell phone radiation has been widely reported in international media. The study, undertaken by the US National Toxicology Program, reports ‘low incidence’ of two types of tumors in the brains and hearts of male rats exposed to cell phone radiation. The research […]

BUDGET 2016: Bowel cancer screening

John Kerr posted in on May 26th, 2016.

The national budget announced today reveals an investement in a national bowel screening programme: Budget 2016 invests $39.3 million over four years for national bowel screening – starting with Hutt Valley and Wairarapa DHBs. This will be followed by a progressive roll-out across the country. The SMC collected the following commentary. Associate Professor Brian Cox, […]

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Melanoma mutations vary North to South – In the News

John Kerr posted in on May 16th, 2016.

New Zealand has the highest rates of melanoma in the world but the underlying genetic changes behind these cancers vary considerably between the North and South islands, finds a new study. Researchers from the University of Otago analysed the DNA in tumour samples from 529 patients with metastatic melanoma, looking for genes linked to the […]

Mapping mutations in breast cancer – In the News

John Kerr posted in on May 3rd, 2016.

An international team of researchers have produced the most comprehensive map to date of the genetic changes leading to breast cancer, publishing their results today in the journals Nature and Nature Communications. The researchers sequenced the DNA of tumours and normal tissue from 560 breast cancer patients to identify mutations in 93 genes, moving us […]

Kiwi teens sizzle in the sun – In the News

John Kerr posted in on March 31st, 2016.

New Zealand teens are shirking sun-smart clothing and the grown-ups looking after them are not doing much better, according to new research.  The findings come from a study in which researchers surreptitiously monitored the sun protection efforts of over 1,200 students and 200 adult supervisors at a Dunedin school sport day. The University of Otago […]

PHARMAC needs funding boost – Dr Francis Hunter

John Kerr posted in on March 7th, 2016.

Writing on Stuff.co.nz* the University of Auckland’s Dr Francis Hunter outlines the situation PHARMAC and the Government face over the melanoma drug Keytruda. An excerpt (read in full here): ‘Real, urgent’ plight for melanoma patients hoping for better Keytruda funding Pharmac’s assignment of a low-funding priority to pembrolizumab (Keytruda) for advanced melanoma has brought cancer drug […]

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