Breakthroughs in cancer research are happening every day. Advances in treatments have saved so many lives, and doctors and scientists are always looking for better ways to treat cancer with less or not-so-severe side effects. Many people who get cancer are living longer, fuller lives than even just 20 years ago.
Advances in Cancer Treatments
Some of the newest treatments that are in the works right now are immunotherapy, gene-based treatments, liquid biopsies, treatments to replace chemotherapy, and precision medicine.
The immune system is what helps fight off colds and flus and helps your body heal. It also hunts down and destroys cancers as they form, however, cancer has found ways to hide from the immune system. Immunotherapy boosts the immune response against cancer and prevents cancer from hiding so that the person’s own immune system can kill the cancer cells.
There are fighters in your immune system called T-cells; they are what go out and destroy not just cancer cells, but all foreign cells. Healthy cells have proteins on their surface called checkpoints, so the fighters know not to destroy them. Cancer cells also hide from the immune system by using checkpoints.
Adoptive cell transfer
Doctors take a person’s cells, from their blood or the tumor, and uses their immune cells to fight cancer. The cells are modified in a lab to make them better able to attack cancer cells. One type, CAR T-cell therapy, is approved to treat certain kinds of lymphoma and leukemia.
Yes, vaccines to fight cancer. They work similar to other vaccines, but they are made from the cancer cells in your own body.
One cancer, like breast cancer or prostate cancer, can come in different genetic types. Doctors look for mutations, or changes, in various cancer genes so they can:
- Diagnose the type of cancer
- Predict the outcome
- Determine the best course of treatment
- Check to see how beneficial the treatment is
Every day scientists are studying gene changes in cancer cells, seeking new treatments. This could lead to more specific gene therapies in the future.
At the moment, cancers are diagnosed by taking a tissue sample from the lump for a diagnosis. Though this is a way to determine whether or not the patient has cancer, it could come too late, after cancer has spread. Liquid biopsies are being tested so that doctors can check the DNA in the blood to see if there is cancer or not. This way, they can find out earlier if the patient does have cancer, thus making cancer much more treatable and saving lives in the process.
New treatments to replace chemotherapy
Chemotherapy is another word that strikes terror in people. The toxicity, nausea, hair loss, not to mention a weakened immune system, are all challenging to deal with and take a major toll on your body. Recently, however, targeted therapies have come on the scene and are making waves. They zero in on the cancer cells, leaving most of the healthy cells alone. These therapies help patients receive much less chemotherapy or avoid it altogether!
Possibility of a cancer cure
Immunotherapy seems to be the direction that cancer cures are heading in. The treatment stimulates a person’s own immune system to fight off cancer rather than introducing chemotherapies that kill bad and good cells. This leaves the person vulnerable to fight off anything that attacks the immune system, making something as small as the common cold or a spider bite a big deal that lands them in the hospital.
Very recently, a team of researchers at Cardiff University in Wales was using killer T cells as a way to fight bacteria, and they accidentally figured out that these killer T cells sought out and killed cancer cells! They tried it on all different kinds of cancer cells, and it killed all of them. Though they are years away from testing it in humans, it was a fantastic accident to be sure!
Contact Us for an Appointment
Nevada Surgery and Cancer Care offers many cancer treatment options in Las Vegas, NV. We have a staff of experienced doctors and the latest in surgical technology to provide our patients with the minimally invasive procedures they need to help with various types of cancers.
Our doctors have extensive expertise in cancer prevention and are ready to provide you with the compassion and attention you deserve. Please call or contact us today to schedule an appointment for our services.