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Cancer breakthroughs: 5 recent updates this year
Cancer is an archnemesis of medical science. Thanks to the advent of clinical researches and studies, we are starting to understand how cancer works and how to possibly prevent and combat it. Scientists worldwide are no longer interested in finding a one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, they are looking for different ways to outsmart the disease.
With the pace of the health industry, we're still not quite sure how this dreadful disease will be solved once and for all. Fortunately, there are multiple breakthroughs that we can be hopeful about. Even though they are small steps, they are in the right direction towards solving the cancer problem.
Lighting Up Cancer Where It Lives
For many years, the best way to determine if the cancer has metastasized is to use anatomic imaging, which consists of scans combined with a series of X-ray images into a rough picture of your insides. However, this method is not precise. Thomas Hope, MD, led a trial recently that helped UCLA and UCSF gain approval to provide the first scans for US residents diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Since then, the new imaging technique has taken off, especially this year, and hundreds of patients are currently getting the scans. A lot of people are struggling with their finances nowadays so there are still people who might not be able to get their scans.
Thankfully, there is still hope even for financially struggling people with this new affordable imaging technique, alternarive treatments, and money-savings opportunities like Ondansetron HCL Savings for medications.
Implant and Pumps
Chemotherapy is just as scary as cancer itself, and scientists worldwide have been looking for ways to make treating cancer a little bit easier for patients. Luckily, this year, they seemingly have found a solution. The solution is to corral cancer treatment right at the doorstep of the cancer. For example, cancers found inside the lining of the abdomen can be difficult to treat because circulation happens on them.
However, with the latest approach offered by UC San Francisco's Mohamed Adam, MD, surgeons can remove the apparent tumor, pump chemotherapy into the abdomen, and drain it. The idea is to bring the battle within the enemy's territory and pull out once its job is done. This can be done through the use of pumps. Surgeons will implant pumps containing chemotherapy for cancer going to sensitive areas like the liver.
Targeting the Tumor's Genetic Fuel
There are many kinds of cancer, but they all have one thing in common: they have broken free of the rules of cell growth. Because of this, mutation can easily happen, easily leading to cancer. That said, one of the aims of medical science nowadays is to stop that growth. Researchers have considered KRAS the most common driver of tumors for many years.
KRAS does typically good things in healthy cells, but the brakes are off when it mutates and will be like a runaway freight train. Luckily, it was revealed that KRAS has a previously unknown pocket on the surface to which drugs can bind easily. Pretty exciting, right? However, some test subjects this theory tested on have formed some resistance.
Still, it doesn't mean hope is lost because researchers are looking for a method that gives a one-two punch: disrupting KRAS and disabling the cancer's resistance tools.
New Stool DNA Test That Detects Gastrointestinal Cancers Early
Gastrointestinal cancers, or GI cancers, are cancers that involve the GI tract of the patient. These cancers include bile duct, colorectal, stomach, etc. Overall, GI cancers make up a fourth of cancer cases globally. While tests using either blood or stools have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, there are currently no similar tests regarding the early detection of other GI cancers.
That said, in a study, researchers wanted to know if the use of a new stool DNA test could locate GI cancers early on. The study included 124 Chinese people diagnosed with GI cancer but did not receive treatment and another 92 people who weren't diagnosed with GI cancer but received GI-related treatment.
The study then showed that the new stool DNA test was able to diagnose cancer accurately and was able to locate it. Overall, the patients diagnosed with cancer tested 79% positive with the test, and those who weren't tested 96% negative for cancer.
A method that makes the body's immune cells hunt and kill mutated cells was recently announced as a success for leukemia patients. The treatment, called CAR-T-cell therapy, involves removing and altering the immune cells, called T cells, from a cancer patient's body.
After the altered T cells are returned, they produce proteins called chimeric antigen receptors, or CARs, that recognize and kill cancer cells. It was recently announced that the first two patients treated with CAR-T-cell therapy are still in remission today, 12 years after the initial treatment.
Although we're still quite a long way from solving the cancer problem, exciting news is getting brought up every year about our advances in the issue. With the age of people getting cancer getting lower and lower, researchers are hard at work trying to solve this medical threat for people worldwide. It's still too early to give up.