INNOVATION IN CANCER TREATMENTS IN 2018
Every year new treatments and drugs for cancer are discovered, each time getting a step closer to finding a permanent cure. While medical science hasn't quite gotten there yet, there have been multiple exciting breakthroughs in cancer treatment this year that are very likely to change the way our grandchildren view this life-threatening disease.
Here we will be discussing five of the most exciting innovations in cancer treatments of 2018, which range from research discoveries to novel anti-cancer drugs.
2018 Nobel Medicine Prize Awarded to Cancer Therapy
This year, two scientists jointly won the Nobel Medicine Prize for their breakthrough in the field of cancer therapy.
Prof. Tasuku Honjo of Kyoto University, Japan and PhD James P. Allison of MD Anderson Cancer Centre at Texas University both proved through research that the body's natural defenses can fight cancer.
This is unlike any previous forms of cancer treatment that focus on cancer cells or suppress our immune function - instead this treatment helps the body's immune system better fight cancer by harnessing proteins which are made by our immune system cells. These proteins signal for more immune cells to help in the battle, thereby effectively destroying the tumors.
While still in it's infancy, the repercussions of this discovery will have a large effect on the way we move forward with treating cancer. New drugs in the next couple of years will likely be created based off this treatment principle.
A New Anti-Cancer Drug That Puts Cancer to Sleep
A couple of scientists from Melbourne, Australia made a significant contribution toward cancer innovations this year by discovering a new class of cancer drug that can put tumors to sleep without any of the harmful side effects caused by conventional cancer therapies.
This new class of compounds work by affecting specific genes on the site of the cancer, effectively arresting cancer cell's ability to grow without damaging it's DNA - hence a state of sleep. The technical term is 'cellular senescence' which also could translate to meaning cellular aging.
These new drugs only harm cancer cells and do not cause any damage to our own DNA, as other therapies such as chemotherapy would. More clinical trials are needed before we will see these new types of anti-cancer drugs hit the shelves, but the discovery is phenomenal.
Therapies to Make Cancer Cells Sensitive to Oxidative Stress
At the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, scientists have found that tumors and cancer cells will die if exposed to enough free radicals and oxidative stress. They went on to create a specialized therapy that works off this principle.
The therapy is being called adoptive T cell therapy. It works by reprogramming cancer cells so that they produce more oxidative stress and self destruct because of it. Combined with a chemotherapy drug that increases the amount of the body's T cells (a type of immune cell), the cancer cells appear to be hit by a "double whammy," according to scientists.
More research is needed before this therapy can make it to the public, however the results are highly promising.
A Tumor Technique To Possibly Improve Ovarian Cancer Outcomes
At the University of Guelph, Professor Jim Petrik has discovered that targeting the vascular system of a tumor is one of the best ways to transport anti-cancer drugs inside the tumor, ultimately leading to it's demise.
Before discoveries such as this occurred this year, treatments were focused on blocking the blood supply from the tumor. This in fact made the tumor far more aggressive, growing at a faster pace.
In a recent study performed by this professor, it would seem that by leaving the blood supply open of the tumor, encouraging healthy blood flow to the area, it makes delivery of novel anti-cancer drugs far easier and speeds the process up a lot. His treatment focused on destroying any abnormal blood vessels the tumor had, which brought down the size of the tumor significantly before he could administer drugs to it.
This technique will have a big impact on the way new treatments are carried out in the future after the research is completed.
Amazing Anti-Cancer Drug By Bayer About To Hit The Shelves
Vitrakvi or Larotrectinib is a new anti-cancer drug designed to treat cancers that have a specific genetic characteristic - and it has already been approved by the FDA this year.
The drug by-passes the way cancers were treated in the past as it makes no difference as to where the site of the cancer is in the body - if the cancer has a specific genetic marker, then this drug will destroy that type of cancer. The gene marker is rare and not found in all cancer types, however it is found in some of the most aggressive cancers that grow very fast.
There have already been success stories as to how this drug brings down these special tumors.
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-  https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/sci-tech/2018-10-01-nobel-medicine-prize-to-cancer-therapy-by-japanese-and-us-scientist/
-  https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-08-anti-cancer-drugs-cancers-sleeppermanently.html
-  https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180621000344.htm
-  https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-10/uog-ntc103018.php
-  https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/fda-approves-new-cancer-drug-targeted-genetic-mutation-not-cancer-n940656
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