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2016 editions

  • December 2016
    Joao Incio on mechanisms to explain why obesity promotes cancer.
  • November 2016
    Mike Stratton on how mutational changes in a cancer genome can point to the cause of the cancer.
  • October 2016
    Ruth Muschel on a new target for treatments for colorectal cancer.
  • September 2016
    Freddie Hamdy on the effectiveness of treatments for prostate cancer.
  • August 2016
    Moshe Oren discusses the effects of the microenvironment on cancer cells.
  • July 2016
    Richard Gilbertson on the 'bad luck hypothesis' for the cause of cancer.
  • June 2016
    Key advances in clinical trials.
  • May 2016
    Mark Lemmon on the underlying biochemistry of cancer.
  • April 2016
    Roger Stupp on using alternating electric fields as treatment.
  • March 2016
    Charlotte Vrinten on public perception of deaths from cancer.
  • February 2016
    Guillermo Garcia-Manero on myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS).
  • December 2015/January 2016
    Nazneen Rahman on germline genetic screening in ovarian cancer.

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EJC News Focus – June 2014

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How Lgr5 and R-spondin are leading to new reality in colon cancer

Hans Clevers (Hubrecht Institute, Utrecht, the Netherlands) was the first to identify Lgr5 stem cells in the gut, which play a key role both in normal cell renewal and in colon cancer. His lab went on to establish – against accepted wisdom – that the stem cells could be grown in culture with the addition of the growth factor R-spondin. This discovery is paving the way for dramatic advances in personalised medicine. Already, the group in the Netherlands is building a living biobank of samples of 100 patients' colon cancer, along with their normal gut tissue. It will help researchers identify which of the genetic changes typically present in a tumour have serious consequences for patients.

In this month's EJC News Focus, Clevers outlines the background to the discoveries and explains to Helen Saul how they are leading to improved design of clinical trials and a step change in the possibilities for personalised medicine.