NHS useless when you really need them
Girl, 2, riddled with cancer tumours now in remission after pioneering treatment in U.S.
When Dawn and John MacGlashan had their baby twins in 2009 they were devastated to learn that while their daughter Molly was perfectly healthy, her sister Lilly had a devastating cancer.
The toddler has since spent her short existence fighting for the chance of a normal life and at one point was given just 24 hours to live.
But after being ‘written off’ by doctors in the UK when she relapsed following chemotherapy treatment, the toddler has celebrated her second birthday with her twin after undergoing pioneering treatment in America.
Lilly now has a much more promising prognosis after she was treated at the American cancer hospital that successfully treated actor Michael Douglas for throat cancer last year.
Scans have shown that where there were once ‘dozens and dozens’ of tumours in her brain, retina or spine, there is now no trace of the disease.
The toddler is now part-way through an antibody treatment designed to prevent the cancer from returning to her body and doctors have told her parents there is a 70 per cent chance she will remain free of the childhood cancer neuroblastoma.
Her mother, Dawn, 43, said: ‘At one point before we went to New York, the doctors told us Lilly was likely to die at home in the end. She was written off, but she has amazed everybody .
‘Lilly has had to fight so hard because the treatment is so bad. She is the only current documented case in the world with neuroblastoma in her retinas.’
Mrs MacGlashan and husband John, 47, estimate their daughter’s fight for life has cost around £500,000 on medical treatment and accommodation costs in New York City, where they have rented an apartment since Lilly’s treatment began in March.
The family have raised close to £300,000 after more than a year of fundraising events in their home town of Dunstable, Bedfordshire, including marathon runs, sponsored swims and charity music nights, but need all the help they can to raise the balance of the cash.
Mrs MacGlashan added: ‘It’s the most awful thing to have to fundraise, but when you have a child that’s fighting so hard it drives you on.’
Lilly was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in her stomach at just six weeks old, after an 8cm tumour grew in her stomach. Doctors said the tumour was curable and removed it…only to discover later that the cancer had spread to her brain, spinal cord and both retinas.
Lilly was given high-dose chemotherapy at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge to shrink the new tumours, but her only real hope lay in an experimental antibody drug available only at a private cancer clinic in New York.
After Lilly’s case was highlighted in the Daily Mail in January, the family raised enough cash to head across the Atlantic to begin Lilly’s treatment at the private Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center(US spelling) in Manhattan, which is trialling the antibody drug called 8H9.
After a final course of chemotherapy, followed by radiation therapy to tackle what was left of the tumours, Lilly had a series of injections of 8H9 into the brain via a catheter implanted under the scalp, which rid the brain, spine and retinas of the remaining tiny specks of cancer which were too small for chemotherapy and radiation to shift.
Lilly is now part-way through a final course of antibodies aimed at expelling any microscopic cancer cells that may be present in the rest of her body.
The MacGlashans returned home to the UK to celebrate the twins’ second birthday in December, but will return to New York later this year so Lilly can complete her treatment.
Mrs MacGlashan, who gave up work as a mobile hairdresser when Lilly was diagnosed, added: ‘Molly has played such a big part in her fight. They have that bond you here about with twins – Molly cries a lot when Lilly is sick. But when Lilly is fine, Molly is too.
‘Once, when Lilly had an injection at Addenbrookes she screamed. Molly was staying in the family accommodation on site and at that very moment, she screamed too.’
The devoted mother has three older children from a previous relationship.
Mr MacGlashan, a maintenance electrician, was allowed to take a year’s unpaid leave to allow him to accompany Lilly and the rest of the family to New York.
Lilly’s consultant in New York, Dr Kim Kramer, said neuroblastoma that came back in the brain was once considered a ‘lethal type of relapse’.
But Dr Kramer, an associate attending in paediatric neuro-oncology, said Lilly was proof of the ‘great strides’ that have been made in beating the disease.
She said: ‘Ten per cent of patients who have had bad neuroblastoma run the risk of it returning in the brain. When it does, it is usually one or two tumours, not dozens and dozens as Lilly had throughout her brain, spine and retinas.
‘We have made great progress and have treated plenty of children who have beaten this and gone on to live good lives without the cancer coming back anywhere in their bodies. ‘Lilly is doing great. Her scans are wonderful and she’s as adorable and active as her sister.’
£15bn lawyers’ bill for NHS blunders: Avalanche of no-win, no-fee claims push costs up 13%
A tremendous reminder of how great is NHS negligence. Why can’t they get it right in the first place?
An avalanche of claims against doctors has left the Health Service with a £15.7billion bill. The sum – one seventh of the annual NHS budget – has had to be set aside to pay compensation over future years to tens of thousands of victims of clinical negligence.
A report by MPs reveals that much of the bill is the result of blunders that have left babies brain-damaged. Advances in medical science mean that these children live much longer, increasing their lifelong care bill.
But a substantial part of the rise is also being blamed on ‘no-win no-fee’ lawyers, who encourage patients to make negligence claims because they will not have to pay costs if they lose.
If the patients win, the NHS has to pay even more than normal because no-win no-fee lawyers charge more to defendants to cover their own bills in lost cases. Around a third of all the money paid out by the NHS in compensation goes straight into the pockets of lawyers.
The £15.7billion figure, which dates from 2009/10, is 13 per cent up on the liability bill from the previous year. Officials admit it could be an underestimate because, if more court cases than expected go against the NHS, the full cost could exceed £23billion.
The figure is contained in a report on the ‘Whole of Government Accounts’ by the public accounts committee. It also revealed the full cost of Labour’s PFI deals.
It shows that in 2009/10 – Labour’s last year in power – the NHS believed that clinical negligence claims would cost it £15.7billion over future years. This is an actuarial calculation, based on the number of claims the NHS believes there is a very good chance of it not being able to defend, the severity of the claimed errors and how much a victim would be paid out for these mistakes. The figure includes an estimate of the cost of mistakes that have not yet been claimed for.
Last year, more than 8,500 clinical negligence claims were received by the NHS – 30 per cent up on 2009/10. Around £1billion is actually paid each year to victims of blunders. In the report, the Public Accounts Committee warns: ‘Claims for clinical negligence outstanding at 31 March 2010 could cost £15.7billion, or 15 per cent of the government’s total provision for future expenses arising from events that have happened in the past.
‘The Treasury … did not know that clinical claims recorded by the NHS Litigation Authority had increased by some 31 per cent in 2010/11 or what plans were in place to reduce liabilities for clinical negligence.’
Peter Walsh of Action Against Medical Accidents said: ‘One of the most unhelpful things that has happened in recent years is the increase in the more disreputable lawyers who get involved in no-win no-fee deals. This makes it all the more baffling that the Government wants to scrap legal aid for clinical negligence cases. This will encourage claims farmers and no-win no-fee, leaving the NHS to pick up the tabs. This bill will increase.’
Emma Boon of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: ‘It is extremely worrying that clinical negligence is costing taxpayers billions – especially as no-win no-fee solicitors and a growing compensation culture are partly responsible.’
She added: ‘Health chiefs need to learn lessons from negligence cases and urgently address this issue. The cost to taxpayers is shockingly high.’ A source at the Ministry of Justice said there were concerns that lawyers may be artificially inflating the cost of claims.
A spokesman for the Department of Health said: ‘The vast majority of the millions of people treated by the NHS every year experience good quality, safe and effective care.
‘However, if patients do not receive the treatment they should, and mistakes are made, it is right that they are entitled to compensation and the NHS Litigation Authority plays a vital role in ensuring claims are settled as swiftly as possible.
‘The Government’s ambitious proposals for reforming the civil litigation system will support the NHS in dealing with costly litigation cases. ‘We want to strike the right balance between access to compensation claims and ensuring costs are proportionate, sustainable and affordable.’
Store security guard is fired for chasing a thief who swiped 20 DVDs… because of crazy British ‘elf and safety obsession
When security guard Charles Oloro spotted a shoplifter slipping out of his store with an armful of DVDs, he knew exactly what to do. He gave chase through the shopping centre before catching him and marching him back to the store.
But instead of being congratulated by his bosses, the 42-year-old HMV worker was sacked for apprehending a suspect outside the shop premises.
HMV policy is for security guards to avoid all confrontations with suspects that have the potential to escalate into something more serious. That includes trying to catch thieves once they have carried their stolen goods through the exit doors.
A spokesman for the chain said the rules were introduced in 2007 after a member of staff was stabbed to death in Norwich after apprehending a thief.
Mr Oloro, who has worked for HMV for 14 years, caught the thief in the St Nicholas Centre, Sutton, South London, on New Year’s Eve. He had been watching him acting suspiciously around a display of DVDs. The man had picked up about 20 films before making his way towards the exit.
Once he was close to the doors, he darted out pursued by a quick-thinking Mr Oloro – who caught him 30ft away.
The security guard then frogmarched him back to the shop where he called police. But despite recovering the stolen goods, his actions saw him hauled in front of his bosses, and led to him losing his job.
Mr Oloro, who has two mortgages to pay, said he was just trying to help the shop and save them from losing money. He said: ‘Twenty DVDs is £200 for the shop and that was too much to lose. ‘In a time of recession, I just wanted to save the shop money, and this is how they repay me.’ He said he even went to his manager after the incident to apologise for leaving the shop.
HMV later issued a statement defending their actions.
A spokesman said: ‘While I am not in a position to give specific details of why Mr Oloro has been dismissed… not least because he still has a right of appeal, which we would not wish to prejudice, I can confirm he was asked to leave for an accumulation of reasons.’
But HMV customer Kieran Spears, defended Mr Oloro’s actions. ‘Charlie is a hero,’ he said. ‘He has been there as long as I remember, he’s such a nice guy and everyone knows him. ‘What is the point in having security guards if they cannot tackle thieves?
Let people wear the cross with pride: Bishops join motion to defend Christianity against human rights zealots
Three bishops will call for the Church of England’s national assembly to stand up for the right of Christians to wear a cross. They are among more than a hundred members of the Synod to sign a motion condemning the ‘silencing’ of outward displays of Christianity.
Supporters say the Church should defend Christians against the ‘overzealous’ interpretation of human rights and equality legislation by judges, politicians and employers.
The motion also calls for the Church to make a landmark statement that wearing a cross is an integral part of the Christian faith. It cites ‘ludicrous’ cases of Christian practices and symbols being forbidden.
The motion also adds that attempts to scrap prayers at council meetings and to ban employees from wearing the cross could ultimately lead to religion being confined to the home.
The Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Rev Donald Allister, told The Sunday Telegraph: ‘It is to say, OK, if you say wearing a cross isn’t a compulsory part of Christianity, we agree. ‘But it is a duty of a Christian to be public about their faith as well as private, and that is clear New Testament teaching.’
The intervention by clergy and lay members of the General Synod comes as four Christians who believe they have suffered discrimination for their beliefs fight a landmark legal battle in the European Court of Human Rights.
The motion highlights the case of Gary McFarlane, a marriage counsellor who was fired for refusing to give sex therapy to homosexual couples.
Mr McFarlane is one of four Christians taking legal action at a landmark European Court of Human Rights hearing because they believe British laws have failed to protect their human rights to wear religious symbols or opt out of gay rights legislation.
Mr McFarlane, from Bristol, was sacked by marriage guidance service Relate in 2008 after he said he could not do anything to promote gay sex.
The former church elder has again appealed on the grounds of religious discrimination that Relate had refused to accommodate his religious beliefs.
He lost his appeal for unfair dismissal at Bristol Crown Court in April 2010 and accused senior judges of being biased against Christianity.
The other cases in the action are of Shirley Chaplin, a Devon nurse banned from working on the wards after she failed to hide a cross she had worn since the age of 16, Nadia Eweida, a check-in clerk for British Airways who was told to remove her small crucifix at work and registrar Lilian Ladele, who was disciplined by Islington council in North London after refusing to officiate at civil partnership ceremonies.
The Rev Stephen Trott, a rector in Boughton, Northampton, who drew up the motion, said: ‘There are four cases being appealed currently to the ECHR and that’s an example of the sort of court action where we would be able to say that the established Church, which is part of the law of the land, takes the view that it’s not only a right, it’s a duty of Christians to manifest their faith in public.’
In December, former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, appealed to Prime Minister David Cameron on their behalf.
But the Government told the European Court of Human Rights that it backed the British judges and does not accept that the Christians have suffered discrimination. To the dismay of Lord Carey, the Government even said that wearing a cross or a crucifix was not a ‘generally recognised’ Christian practice – even though Church leaders say it is a hugely significant symbol.
Lord Carey said: ‘I am very disappointed for the individuals concerned who have simply followed their conscience. ‘Such is the result of a liberal establishment that has become deeply illiberal.’
No chance of the Church of England connecting with British youth
As if the Guardian were not already preachy enough, it has signed up an actual preacher to write its leaders and op-eds. The Rev Dr Giles Fraser resigned as a canon of St Paul’s in sympathy with people camped on its doorstep for whom I think the kindest word is “troubled”. His departure puzzled his colleagues, who had detected beneath his right-on sound bites a Trollopian eagerness for preferment. They were wrong. Giles is now a professional hack, and he has used his first big article to suggest that the Occupy movement may “revitalise traditional Christianity”.
Of all the delusions nurtured by Left-wing Christians, perhaps the loopiest is that anyone under the age of 40 gives a monkey’s about their opinions. Let me spell this out for ex-Canon Fraser (who, like his former boss Richard Chartres, is jolly keen on his “Doctor” title, though unlike the bishop he at least has a proper doctorate).
Chartres could don mitre and nose-peg and ordain the Occupy protesters as priests of the Church of England and it still wouldn’t revitalise Christianity. England’s few remaining churchgoers have lost any sympathy they had with the smelly fanatics, who yesterday locked boy scouts out of their London headquarters so they could squat in it.
But the crucial point is that the sharpest young opinion-formers are atheists. This is a development that seems to have been missed by the old boobies who pass for bishops in the Anglican and Catholic Churches. It’s a rapid and startling change in our religious landscape and not one that is going to be reversed.
The average bright 25-year-old Briton isn’t looking for supernatural solutions to existential problems. Senior churchmen speak of the “spiritual hunger” of the young. That’s wishful thinking. The next generation don’t believe in God. Few of them frame their arguments as rabidly as Richard Dawkins; they don’t all use the word “atheist” – “humanist” is cooler – but that’s what they are. If they worship anything, it’s “human rights” or, in the case of Johann Hari, Laurie Penny and Owen Jones, themselves.
Their attitude towards Christians ranges from indifference to hatred. This is partly thanks to the paedophile scandal in the Catholic Church. We can argue about the extent to which this has been misreported, but not about the fact that crimes against children were covered up by bishops (and not just conservative ones, either). These crimes were seized upon by academics, writers and opportunistic publishers to create an indestructible caricature of institutional Christianity.
One reason that caricature isn’t challenged is that this is the first generation of young people whose parents didn’t go to church themselves. Their religious education consists of nativity plays, visits to Sikh temples and lectures about energy-saving light bulbs.
But that doesn’t make the new atheists stupid, despite their intergalactic levels of conceit. The brightest of them are far, far cleverer than the bishops, who (if you ignore the puzzling anomaly of Rowan Williams) are men of middling intellect – and that’s being polite, in the case of the Catholic hierarchy. All that drivel about “religion in the public square” makes me want to convert to a more rigorous creed, such as a Prince Philip-worshipping cargo cult. I was going to suggest that, for all the good they do, the bishops might as well join Giles Fraser and write Guardian leaders for a living. But, frankly, they’re not up to it.
Britain’s Wind Lunacy
THE big freeze has not just caused major disruption across the country. It has also exposed the hollowness of fashionable green rhetoric about global warming.
For years, environmental zealots have indulged in alarmist talk about relentlessly soaring temperatures caused by mankind’s destructive irresponsibility. Typical of this scaremongering was the claim made in 2000 by Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the university of East Anglia, that “children just aren’t going to know what snow is”.
How foolish those words now look more than a decade later as Britain is gripped by Arctic weather. Indeed, contrary to the green lobby’s shrill declaration that “the science is settled” on the reality of man- made global warming, there is now a wealth of evidence that earth is not heating up at all.
One recent study by the Met office, based on readings from 30,000 measuring stations, indicates that there has been no significant increase in temperatures over the past 15 years.
But nothing will halt the environmental fanatics who are driven by dogma rather than the search for the truth. That is why they are so keen on manipulating data, bullying their opponents and spreading lurid propaganda.
Our ruling political class has swallowed the green agenda because it gives them an excuse to grab more power while posing self-righteously as the saviours of the planet. In the name of protecting future generations they can pursue their favourite activities of imposing regulations, dishing out subsidies and raising taxes.
Always keen to expand the role of the state labour enthusiastically adopted this approach, especially when Ed Miliband was Climate Change secretary in Gordon Brown’s government until 2010.
But the coalition has been just as bad. Miliband’s successor, the liberal Democrat Chris Huhne, was an aggressive evangelist for green policies no matter what the burden to the public. since his resignation on Friday, Huhne’s place has been taken by fellow liberal Democrat Ed Davey.
Though he has been hailed as a more pragmatic figure than Huhne it is likely that Davey will pursue the same line. “I am determined to follow on Chris’s priorities,” he proclaimed on taking office.
Many Conservatives, however, are rightly disturbed at the Government’s continuing infatuation with expensive environmentalism. And their concern has focused on the ministerial obsession with wind farms, the most controversial, high-profile aspect of the fashionable green agenda.
OVER the weekend no fewer than 101 Tory MPs, along with a few politicians from other parties, wrote a letter to David Cameron urging that he cut the lavish, counter-productive subsidies given to wind power.
The rebellious Tories are right to challenge the coalition. The onward march of wind farms has been a disaster for the country, imposing savage increases on household electricity bills while doing nothing to enhance our energy supplies. Wind turbines are monuments of political folly, a triumph of dogma over common sense. Chris Huhne, with the characteristic fervour of a green extremist, called these massive structures “elegant and beautiful” but the truth is that they are unsightly monstrosities.
Paradoxically, for all the cheer-leading of the green lobby, they do terrible damage to the environment. They despoil the landscape, create noise pollution and are a men- ace to wildlife. It is estimated that 400,000 birds are killed every year in America by their revolving blades.
Moreover, wind farms are both costly and inefficient, which is why they have to be so heavily subsidised. The Government pours £522million every year into support for wind power, for which we all have to pay through increased electricity charges. Green politics operates like robin Hood in reverse, taking from the hard- pressed citizens through electricity bills and giving to rich landowners through handouts.
The outlay for this madness is likely to soar in the coming years as the coalition expands the role of wind power. There are already 3,500 turbines in Britain but the Government wants another 10,000 onshore and 4,300 offshore by 2020, a programme that will ultimately cost £140billion, the equivalent of £5,600 for every household. Within eight years wind subsidies will account for about a fifth of our electricity bills.
BUT the rush to wind makes little difference to energy generation. Despite all the profligate funding, wind turbines currently supply a pitiful 2.7 per cent of our electricity. Even if 10 per cent of the entire country was covered in wind farms they could still only provide a sixth of our needs. That is because turbines are so hopelessly unre- liable. on still days they produce nothing yet if the wind gusts at more than 56mph they have to be shut down because they become unstable
In 2010, onshore turbines operated on average at just 21 per cent of capacity, making a mockery of the greens’ claim that wind can ever be an effective source of power.
While we cripple ourselves in an expensive display of ideological superiority, nations such as China, India and Brazil are forging ahead. It does not have to be like this. We are a uniquely energy rich country with plentiful supplies of oil, gas and coal, as well as nuclear expertise.
We should be exploiting our resources to become richer, not submitting to green lunacy to make ourselves poorer.
5,000 underperforming head teachers are blighting England’s primary schools, warns inspector
More than 5,000 head teachers are failing to do their jobs properly, the chief inspector of schools declared today.
Sir Michael Wilshaw warned that poor leadership was blighting about a quarter of England’s 21,000 primary and secondary schools.
Weak heads were failing to get a grip on substandard teaching and simply ‘trotting out excuses’ such as poverty and deprivation for low exam grades, he said.
The explosive claim – certain to aggravate many heads and teachers – came as Sir Michael prepares to unveil a tough new inspection regime later this week. Schools will be given no notice of inspections and ‘coasting’ schools face intense monitoring.
The ‘satisfactory’ grading used by Ofsted for years will be scrapped because it ‘falsely denotes acceptable provision’. Instead these schools will be judged to ‘require improvement’.
Figures from Ofsted reveal that 23 per cent of heads missed out on a ‘good’ rating at their last inspection. A further one per cent were found to be failing.
At the same time, heads have benefited from pay rises with around 700 now on six-figure salaries.
‘Everything flows from leadership – that just has to be said,’ said Sir Michael, himself a former head, latterly at Mossbourne Academy in Hackney, London.
‘We are not going to improve the quality of teaching unless there is a) strong leadership and b) really strong performance management of staff.’
He added: ‘If we are going to improve standards in this country, we have got to create leadership that does not offer excuses for poor performance. ‘That is too often the case, I am absolutely clear about that.
‘A whole range of issues are trotted out – it is ethnicity or it is poverty or it is background or it is years of poor performance in a particular city or region. ‘We have heard them all before. We won’t move forward if we don’t have a no-excuses culture. ‘We haven’t got it at the moment, we must develop it.’
Sir Michael said parents were too willing to believe a school was good simply because their child liked it.
‘A lot of parents will say, “Well my child is happy here”. We need to say, “Well yes, they may be happy and relationships might be good but actually they should be achieving a lot more,” he said, in an interview with the Sunday Times.
Other reforms championed by Sir Michael – due to be set out in a consultation document on Thursday – include stripping inspection reports of jargon and ‘Ofsted-speak’. Instead comments will be ‘blunt and straightforward’.
Ofsted has already launched a Parent View website which allows parents to rate their children’s schools.
Sir Michael also plans to target 3,000 so-called ‘coasting’ schools – including 300,000 in affluent areas – that have been graded satisfactory in two consecutive inspections.
On their third inspection, they face being put in special measures unless their rating improves to ‘good’.
He also floated the idea of checking how many A*, A and B grades pupils at these schools are achieving instead of merely focusing on C-grades.
Sir Michael added that heads played a crucial role in fostering good teaching. Poor leadership was responsible for the ‘national disaster’ of thousands of teachers leaving the profession soon after qualifying, he warned. These new teachers were left floundering without the support they needed, especially when it came to enforcing good behaviour in class.
Sir Michael warned last week that thousands of teachers have been awarded £5,000-a-year performance-related pay rises that cannot be justified. Some heads and governors of ‘indiscriminately’ promoting teachers to a higher pay scale, he said.
In fact, up to 40 per cent of teaching was not good enough – a figure that was ‘very high’, he claimed.
Cancer ‘slowed by cooked tomatoes’ (?)
This is a very preliminary finding from a study in laboratory glassware only
A nutrient in cooked tomatoes has been shown in laboratory studies to slow the growth of – and even kill – prostate cancer cells, scientists said today.
Dr Mridula Chopra and colleagues at the University of Portsmouth tested the effect of the nutrient lycopene on the simple mechanism through which cancer cells hijack a body’s healthy blood supply to grow and spread. They found that lycopene, which is what gives tomatoes their red colour, intercepts cancer’s ability to make the connections it needs to attach to a healthy blood supply.
The researchers, from the university’s School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, are now calling for tests to check if the same reaction occurs in the human body.
Director of the research Dr Chopra said: “This simple chemical reaction was shown to occur at lycopene concentrations that can easily be achieved by eating processed tomatoes.”
Lycopene is present in all red fruits and vegetables, but its concentrations are highest in tomatoes and it becomes more readily available and biologically active when it comes from processed tomatoes with a small amount of cooking oil added.
Dr Chopra said: “I stress that our tests were done in test tubes in a laboratory and more testing needs to be carried out to confirm our findings, but the laboratory evidence we have found is clear – it is possible to intercept the simple mechanism some cancer cells use to grow at concentrations that can be achieved by eating sufficient cooked tomatoes.”
The research, which is published in the British Journal of Nutrition, was part-funded by Heinz after the food manufacturer asked for more research to follow up earlier studies by the same researchers which showed a significant increase in lycopene levels in blood and semen samples after subjects ate 400g (14oz) of processed tomatoes for two weeks.
Dr Chopra and her colleagues Simone Elgass and Alan Cooper said they had a firm agreement they would publish their results irrespective of the outcome.
Cancer cells can remain dormant for years until their growth is triggered through the secretion of chemicals which initiate the process of linking cancer cells with endothelial cells which act as healthy gatekeeper cells lining blood vessels. This allows the cancer cells to reach out and attach to the blood supply.
In the laboratory experiments, lycopene was shown to disrupt this linking process, without which cancer cells cannot grow.
The researchers explained that all cancer cells use a similar mechanism (angiogenesis) to “feed” upon a healthy blood supply.
They said there was added importance of this mechanism for prostate cancer because lycopene tends to accumulate in prostate tissues.
Dr Chopra said: “The important thing is for sufficient lycopene to reach where it can matter. We know that in case of prostate tissues it gets there. “We have tested this in the labs but we don’t yet know if the same action will happen in the body.
“Individuals will vary in how much lycopene their bodies make available to fight cancer cell growth and the ability of lycopene to ‘intercept’ in this way in the body is likely to vary between tomato products – both processing and cooking with fat have previously been shown to make lycopene more effective biologically.
“The type of tomatoes which offer the most effective lycopene also differs and more tests need to be done to find the best breed of tomato for this purpose.”
It was suggested in their previous research that smokers might have to consume more tomatoes than non-smokers to achieve the benefits of lycopene due to the presence of high oxidative stress in smokers.
Eleanor Barrie, senior science information officer at Cancer Research UK, said: “Some existing cancer drugs target the formation of new blood vessels, but more research is needed to show how they could be used to help cancer patients.
“This small study doesn’t directly tell us if lycopene has any effect against cancer, but research like this can help us to understand more about how the chemical affects blood vessel formation.”