Thursday, January 10, 2019

Monitoring scientific news in the general press

Illustration of the
initial news
Sometimes the general press is accused of opening up great expectations about scientific discoveries and forgetting about them when reality puts a brake on expectations. In other posts I have criticized this. That’s why I’m happy to be able to give an example of the impeccable follow-up of a specific scientific news, performed during a decade by a media outlet (the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia).
The initial news appeared on May 9, 2005 on pages 29 and 30 with the following headlines:
The text echoed the discovery of drugs that act by inhibiting the action of a gene (EGFR), whose deleterious mutation can lead to the appearance of cancer (disordered multiplication of cells).
Over the next 10 years, this news received the following follow up in La Vanguardia:
Illustration of news nr. 6
July 3, 2005, pages 30 and 31: A brake to lung cancer. Informs on a debate about the discovery, commented two months before.
2.      July 4, 2005, page 34: Advances in early detection of lung cancer predict survival improvements. A comment on a congress held in Barcelona, where the subject was discussed.
3.      May 14, 2008, page 72: Interview to Josep Baselga, who had researched about this subject.
5.      November 1, 2008, page 26: Spanish doctors improve the treatment of lung cancer. More about the blood test to detect the mutation of the EGFR gene.
6.      August 20, 2009, page 21: A genetic test improves the treatment of lung cancer. Describes the use of drugs against the mutated EGFR gene.
7.      December 1, 2009, page 24: Cancer: detection in blood. More on the detection of the EGFR mutation through a test.
8.      January 4, 2011, pages 20 and 21: A genetic ID for each tumor. This is the first time it is noted that not all people treated with anti-mutated EGFR drugs respond to treatment. If the KRAS gene is also mutated (a mutation affecting 40% patients), these drugs will not work.
9.      March 27, 2011, pages 34 and 35: Doctors in Can Ruti improve the treatment of lung cancer. More research on why some patients do not respond to drugs. The presence of a certain protein (NF-KB) prevents the drugs from taking effect.
10.  July 2, 2012, page 25: Doctors discover why some cancers stop responding to therapy. Another protein (AXL) also prevents the action of the anti-mutated EGFR drugs.
11.  October 21, 2013, page 24: A patent against cancer. Discovery of a new mutation in the EGFR gene that prevents the action of drugs against colorectal cancer.      
12.   January 26, 2014, page 18: Genetic data to heal better. The company Pangea Biotech validates a machine that analyzes the mutations of the EGFR gene.

The same post in Spanish
Manuel Alfonseca

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