Cancer is still not curable, but as technology advances and scientists continue to research, the treatment and prognosis continually improve. While no person wants to hear the awful “C” word come out of their doctor’s mouth, it’s no longer a death sentence and that can give you a reason to celebrate. Just a couple of decades ago, you would resign yourself to the fact that you or a loved one has months to live with no possible options to change that outcome. Now, there are many treatments available and that provides hope to anyone who hears they have cancer. Hope is a powerful motivator, so take a look at some of the most innovative things happening in the cancer treatment realm.
New Genes Found
With hefty investments in cancer research pouring in from philanthropists like Bill Malloy San Diego, researchers have greater opportunities to explore new areas and ideas to find cures and treatment methods to help fight cancer. In Italy, at the European Institute of Oncology, Dr. Sara Sigismund was part of a team that discovered a gene called EPN3 that aids the spread of breast cancer throughout the body. With this knowledge, this gene can be targeted to assist in the development of new cancer drugs.
Another development that could aid in the treatment of lung cancer was the discovery by Professor Andrew Fry at the University of Leicester of how a specific genetic mutation amplified the spread of lung cancer. The molecular mechanism can now be used to expand the advances of new treatment methods.
Surface Molecules on Cancer Cells
A new protein coating was found on the surface of cancer cells by Dr. Elvira Olaso at the University of the Basque Country located in Spain. This research has the potential to help develop new treatments because it’s been shown that blocking that protein can prohibit cancer cells from transforming into new cells that have the ability to spread around the body.
New Clinical Trials Planned
Clinical trials are a necessary part of the cancer treatment development process and multiple trials are starting now and in the near future. Promising research coming from Queensland, Australia will lead to cancer vaccine clinical trials within three years time.
A new treatment for bladder cancer is in the early stages of a clinical trial, with patients combining two types of immunotherapy before surgery to prevent the cancer from coming back. This was made possible by scientists in the Netherlands.
New Drugs Developed
New drugs are also a prominent part of cancer treatment. Discoveries happen all the time that include other drugs not typically used to treat cancer, but also newly created drugs made specifically for cancer.
Birinapant is a new drug being studied at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Australia. Dr. Najoua Lalaoui’s research has the possibility of transforming the outcomes of triple-negative breast cancer with this drug that specifically targets that population of cancer patients.
Research is being conducted for the treatment of pancreatic cancer by a team in the United Kingdom that is led by Dr. Sharon Rossiter. The protein called S100P is known to enhance the ability of tumor progression and metastasis in patients with pancreatic cancer. This team is working on a targeted treatment using compounds that inhibit the ability of this protein to work.
A new drug called FL118 has been studied by a team in the Netherlands at the VU University Medical Center led by Dr. Tuna Mutis. It has shown developments in the treatment of colon, head and neck cancers and has the potential to overcome treatment resistance in patients with advanced cases of multiple myeloma.
Finally, an inexpensive roundworm drug was discovered to increase the effects of chemotherapy in patients with prostate cancer. After testing over one thousand existing medicines, this could be the drastic new treatment needed for this type of cancer.
Cancer has developed the ability to hide from a person’s immune system, which means treatments have to become more creative in their approach with immunotherapy. Immunotherapy treatments can increase your body’s ability to fight the cancer cells or prevent cancer from hiding. Some drugs are called checkpoint inhibitors and are used to block the checkpoints on cancer cells so your immune system’s T cells have the ability to find and destroy cancer cells.
Other immunotherapy treatments use monoclonal antibodies to target antigens on cancer cells, adoptive cell transfer to treat your cancer with your immune cells and immune system modulators that help immune cells communicate.
A collaborative group of researchers found that combining immunotherapy with a drug called tumor necrosis factor can help increase the effectiveness of tumor elimination.
The eradication of cancer will take the combination of brilliant minds from all around the world collaborating together to develop and research new methods of treatment. It takes time, but the hope is getting brighter as new cancer research breakthroughs and drugs are being released.