No change in Greek debt talks after another day of spin

Reuters UK Business News - Thu, 28/05/2015 - 10:20
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The euro leapt, Greek bond yields fell, global financial markets brightened, but nothing actually changed in another day of conflicting statements on Greece's long-running debt talks with international creditors.

Drivers prosecuted for taking pictures on mobile phones at crash scene

Ely Standard - Thu, 28/05/2015 - 10:19

Police are investigating a collision this morning involving four lorries that caused severe disruption on the A14.

Categories: Local Press

RBS may need to bulk up Williams & Glyn to improve competition

Reuters UK Business News - Thu, 28/05/2015 - 10:17
LONDON (Reuters) - Royal Bank of Scotland could be asked to increase the size of the Williams & Glyn business it plans to sell next year after the British government asked for a speedy review of its impact on competition in the banking market.

Deflation threat retreats as euro zone households see rising prices

Reuters UK Business News - Thu, 28/05/2015 - 10:10
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Confidence in the euro zone's economy stabilised in May after a strong start to the year, held back from further gains by pessimism among households, who also expect rising prices in a sign of the retreating threat of deflation.

Financial spreadbetter CMC Markets set to move forward on 2016 IPO - CEO

Reuters UK Business News - Thu, 28/05/2015 - 10:04
LONDON (Reuters) - Financial spreadbetting firm CMC Markets should announce details of a planned stock market offering within about two weeks and should float next year, the company's chief executive and main shareholder Peter Cruddas said on Thursday.

ECB warns low economic growth is risk to financial stability

Reuters UK Business News - Thu, 28/05/2015 - 10:03
LONDON (Reuters) - Low economic growth and rising asset prices pose a risk to financial stability in the euro zone, the European Central bank said on Thursday.

UK small business lending picks up in first quarter under BoE scheme

Reuters UK Business News - Thu, 28/05/2015 - 09:54
LONDON (Reuters) - Lending to small businesses by banks in Britain taking part in the Bank of England's Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS) increased by 635 million pounds in the first quarter of this year, the BoE said on Thursday.

New discovery about how breast cancer spreads into bones

NHS Choices - Behind the Headlines - Thu, 28/05/2015 - 09:48

"Certain breast cancers spread to the bones using an enzyme that drills 'seed holes' for planting new tumours, research has shown," The Guardian reports. The hope is drugs currently available – or possibly modified versions of them – could block the effects of this enzyme.

This largely animal and lab-based study has identified how a protein called lysyl oxidase (LOX), which some breast cancer tumours secrete, helps cancer spread to bones.

Analysis of data collected on human tumours found that in breast cancers not responsive to oestrogen, high levels of LOX production was associated with an increased risk of spread to the bones. This suggests the findings may apply to some human breast cancers as well.

Blocking the LOX protein in mice reduced the spread of cancer to the bones. Reducing the ability of the protein to create "holes" in the bone using a drug called a bisphosphonate also stopped cancer cells forming metastases in the bone.

Bisphosphonates are already used to treat osteoporosis (weakened bones) and reduce the risk of fracture in people with cancers that affect their bones. Researchers hope these drugs could also be used in people with breast cancer to reduce spread to the bone.

This will need to be tested before we can be certain that it works, but the fact these drugs are already used in humans should speed up the start of this testing process.  

Where did the story come from?

The study was carried out by researchers from the University of Copenhagen and other research centres in Denmark and the UK, including the University of Sheffield.

It was funded by Cancer Research UK, the Biotech Research and Innovation Centre, the University of Sheffield, the National Institute for Health Research Sheffield Clinical Research Facility, Breast Cancer Campaign, the Danish Cancer Society, The Lundbeck Foundation, the Velux Foundation, and the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature, and has been made available on a semi open-access basis – you can read it online, but you can't print or download it.

The UK media covered this story reasonably, although their headlines don't make it clear that such a drug would specifically be expected to stop spread to the bone and not necessarily other areas of the body.

The drug would also not be expected to have any effect on the breast tumour itself, so it would need to be combined with other treatments.  

What kind of research was this?

This was mainly a laboratory and animal study looking at how breast cancer affects the bones. Breast cancer can spread to the bone and cause the surrounding bone to be destroyed (lesions). This can cause serious complications, and the spread also makes the cancer harder to treat successfully.

The researchers wanted to investigate exactly how the breast cancer cells spread to bone and what happens within the bone when they do. They hope that by understanding this process better they may be able to find ways to stop it. This type of research is an appropriate way to study this type of question.   

What did the research involve?

Previous research suggests lower levels of oxygen within breast cancer tumours are associated with poorer outcomes for the patient. The researchers carried out a wide range of experiments to look at why this might be the case and unravel the biology behind this.

The researchers first looked at data on 344 women with information on the pattern of gene activity in their breast tumours, and also information on whether their tumours had later spread to the bone or elsewhere in the body.

They looked at whether a particular gene activity pattern that indicated low oxygen levels in the tumour was associated with tumour spread. An additional set of data from another 295 women was used to confirm the initial findings.

The researchers then looked at which proteins were secreted by breast cancer cells when they were exposed to low oxygen conditions in the lab. These proteins may play a role in helping the cancer spread by "preparing" other tissues for the cancer.

They then went on to study this protein in various experiments in mice. The mice were injected with mouse breast (mammary gland) cancer cells, which spread to the bones and other tissues.

The researchers looked at what effect increasing the levels of this protein had and what effect blocking it had on spread to the bone.

Bone is constantly being broken down and reformed by cells within it, so the researchers looked at what effect the protein had on the balance of these actions within the bone.

They also looked at the effect of a bisphosphonate drug on the formation of lesions. Bisphosphonates are drugs used to treat osteoporosis (thinning of the bones). They do this by reducing the number of bone-digesting cells, allowing the bone-building cells to take over the balance.  

What were the basic results?

The researchers found low oxygen conditions within the breast tumour were associated with cancer spread (metastases) in women with one form of breast cancer (oestrogen receptor-negative breast cancer).

It was most strongly associated with spread to the bone. This relationship was not seen in those with oestrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. 

They then looked at breast cancer cells from oestrogen receptor-negative tumours in the laboratory, including cells that had spread to bone. They found a protein called lysyl oxidase (LOX) was released in high levels in low oxygen conditions, particularly in the cells that spread to the bone.

When looking back at the data they had on breast cancer tumour gene activity and outcome, higher activity of the gene encoding LOX was found to be associated with bone metastasis in oestrogen receptor-negative breast cancer.

In mice, the researchers found cancer cells were more likely to spread to the bone and form lesions when high levels of LOX were present. Injecting the mice with cancer cells producing lower amounts of LOX, or blocking the activity of LOX with antibodies, reduced the ability of the cancer cells to form lesions in the bone.

The researchers found high levels of LOX upsets the normal balance of bone formation and "digestion". It encourages more bone-digesting cells to form, overwhelming the action of the bone-forming cells and causing small lesions of destroyed bone to start to form. These lesions are then colonised by circulating tumour cells, allowing the formation of bone metastases.

The researchers found giving the mice with tumours a bisphosphonate stopped bone lesions forming, but did not affect the growth of the original tumour. Bisphosphonates also reduced the ability of injected cancer cells to settle in the bone and develop bone metastases if they were given to mice at the time of injection. 

How did the researchers interpret the results?

The researchers concluded they have discovered new information about the way bone metastases form from breast tumours. They say this opens up the possibility of developing new treatments for breast cancer.

They suggest that: "Bisphosphonate treatment of patients with high-LOX-expressing tumours after surgery could prevent the establishment and growth of circulating tumour cells within the bone." 


This research has identified how breast tumours create conditions that allow them to spread into the bone. Most of this research was in mice, but initial experiments suggest these findings may apply in humans as well. Researchers are likely to carry out further study to confirm this.

As part of their research, researchers found a bisphosphonate – a drug that can reduce bone breakdown – was able to reduce bone metastases in mice.

These drugs are already used to treat osteoporosis and people who have advanced malignancies affecting their bone. This means that getting approval for human studies testing the effect of these drugs on the spread of breast cancer to the bone should easier than if a completely new drug was being tested.

However, we will not know for certain whether it is effective in humans until these trials are carried out. If it does work, there will still be a lot to investigate – for example, the best dose or length of treatment to use, or when best to give it.

Researchers may also try to develop alternative ways to disrupt this pathway and stop or reduce tumour spread to the bones. New treatments would require a longer time to develop and reach the human testing stage.

Such treatments would be aimed at reducing spread to the bone, but would not be expected to have any effect on the main breast tumour itself or on spread to other parts of the body, such as the brain or lungs. This means it would need to be combined with other treatments, such as chemotherapy and surgery.

This study adds another piece of knowledge to the overall picture we have of breast cancer biology, and opens up another avenue for investigation in the search for new approaches to treatment. 

Links To The Headlines

Breast cancer could be 'stopped in its tracks' by new technique, say scientists. The Guardian, May 28 2015

Breast cancer 'alters bone to help it spread'. BBC News, May 28 2015

Thousands of breast cancer patients could be saved by £1 osteoporosis drug after scientists discover it stops the disease spreading to the bones. Daily Mail, May 28 2015

Scientists discover mechanism that could stop breast cancer spreading to bones. The Independent, May 27 2015

Breast cancer could be 'stopped in tracks' by cheap drugs. The Daily Telegraph, May 27 2015

Links To Science

Cox TR, Rumney RMH, Schoof EM, et al. The hypoxic cancer secretome induces pre-metastatic bone lesions through lysyl oxidase. Nature. Published online May 27 2105

Categories: NHS Choices

UK first-quarter growth sapped by surge in imports

Reuters UK Business News - Thu, 28/05/2015 - 09:45
LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's economy sucked in imports in the first three months of 2015, and the services sector turned out weaker than first thought, contributing to soft overall economic growth.

Strong retail sector supports FTSE; miners drop

Reuters UK Business News - Thu, 28/05/2015 - 09:36
LONDON (Reuters) - Strong rises for retailers Kingfisher and Sports Direct limited losses in Britain's top share index on Thursday, which was knocked by weak mining and financial stocks.

Italy business and consumer morale fall in May

Reuters UK Business News - Thu, 28/05/2015 - 09:19
ROME (Reuters) - Morale among Italian manufacturers and consumers both fell in May, missing expectations and raising questions about the strength of a nascent economic recovery, data showed on Thursday.

Airbus exec says jet market could absorb over 60 A320s a month

Reuters UK Business News - Thu, 28/05/2015 - 09:09
TOULOUSE (Reuters) - Planemaker Airbus hinted at further production increases in its popular A320 series on Thursday, saying market demand would justify a leap to "more than 60 aircraft" a month.

Three companies say discover oil north of the Falkland Islands

Reuters UK Business News - Thu, 28/05/2015 - 08:47
LONDON (Reuters) - Three oil companies said on Thursday they had discovered oil north of the Falklands, setting up potential further confrontation with Argentina which disputes British sovereignty over the islands.

Spending rebound propels Spain's accelerating economy

Reuters UK Business News - Thu, 28/05/2015 - 08:43
MADRID (Reuters) - Spain's economy grew at its fastest quarterly pace in over seven years in the first quarter, propped up by recovering consumer spending, data showed on Thursday.

Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways reports 52 percent jump in annual profit

Reuters UK Business News - Thu, 28/05/2015 - 08:40
DUBAI (Reuters) - Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways, one of three Gulf airlines that U.S. rivals say benefit from state subsidies, reported a 52 percent rise in annual profit on higher passenger numbers and increased revenue from cargo and partner airlines.

Tate & Lyle signals tough year ahead as it overhauls business

Reuters UK Business News - Thu, 28/05/2015 - 08:14
LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Tate & Lyle reported lower full-year profit in line with its forecast on Thursday and signalled that this year would be equally tough as it overhauls its business.

China May official factory PMI seen lacklustre despite stimulus moves

Reuters UK Business News - Thu, 28/05/2015 - 07:48
BEIJING (Reuters) - China's factories struggled to expand in May despite recent interest rate cuts and other policy stimulus, a Reuters poll showed, suggesting the government may have to do more to halt a protracted slowdown in the economy.

UPDATE: A14 reopens following serious collision

Newmarket Journal - Thu, 28/05/2015 - 07:45

The A14 westbound between junction 36, the A1303 at Nine Mile Hill and junction 31 for the M11 at Girton has now fully reopened.

Categories: Local Press

UPDATE: A14 expected to be closed until 1pm today, Thursday

Newmarket Journal - Thu, 28/05/2015 - 07:41

Two separate collisions have blocked the A14 this morning, Thursday May 28.

Categories: Local Press

Woman suffers burns after pan of oil catches fire

Ely Standard - Wed, 27/05/2015 - 16:54

A woman was rushed to hospital after suffering burns caused when a pan of oil caught fire in her kitchen this morning (Wednesday).

Categories: Local Press