Sunday, February 10, 2008

Those Brits - it's more than their famous cuisine...

I've always maintained an abiding admiration for the Brits. To begin with, as I found out as a young Navy officer, they can really hold their liquor (assuming that to be a good thing). And of course, my antecedents were profoundly English.

But they are also doing some cutting edge medical research. Two examples demonstrate this:
A genetic test that identifies men most at risk of prostate cancer could be available within three years, scientists said yesterday. British doctors will use the test in screening programmes to spot the disease in its earliest stages, before it has become dangerously advanced or has spread throughout the body.

Early detection could boost the survival rate of the tens of thousands of men diagnosed with the disease in Britain every year.

Scientists began work on the test following a landmark study of nearly 2,000 cancer patients, which found seven previously unknown genetic markers that are linked to the disease. Each one raises the risk of prostate cancer by around 60%.

The findings, reported in the journal Nature Genetics, pave the way for the first reliable screening test for men at high risk of the disease, but might also lead to new drug therapies for the condition. "We are entering an era of very exciting medicine. This kind of genetic medicine will definitely happen and I definitely think it will deliver," said Dr Rosalind Eeles, lead author of the study at the Institute for Cancer Research in Sutton, Surrey.

Prostate cancer is the most common form of male cancer in developed countries and cases are rising among men under 50. Every year, more than 32,000 British men are diagnosed and 10,000 die from the disease. [More]
It may be a little late for me, but it is my hope my sons will not have to fear this gorwing nemesis of men late in life. Just as we have essentially shut down cervical cancer for women, efforts such as this increase the likelihood of a similar outcome for men.

Meanwhile, British researchers offer some very interesting advice for staying fit.

What's not to love about a country like that?

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