Cancer treatment is in a state of flux. The three cancer treatments – surgery, chemotherapy and radiation — that have dominated Western medicine for decades are finding much needed competition in interesting new cancer treatments. Recent genetic and cellular research has resulted in discoveries that are broadening our understanding of cancer and how cancer cells interact with the body’s immune system.
Among the more interesting new treatment approaches are:
- Strengthening immune response. Genome sequencing is being used to identify immune system cells that attack specific mutations in malignant cells. In a recent trial, billions of immune system cells were replicated in the laboratory and infused into the patient’s bloodstream. According to a New York Times article, the patient’s tumors began “melting away.”
- Combining alternative and conventional treatments. Increasingly, alternative cancer therapies are being used hand-in-hand with conventional cancer treatments as oncologists recognize the value of taking an integrative approach to treating cancer. By combining immunotherapy with conventional treatment, patients are experiencing better outcomes with fewer problematic side effects.
- Targeting cell processes. Advanced targeted therapies are being used to manipulate specific cell processes, allowing immune system cells to more effectively and efficiently attack cancer cells. Researchers are also experimenting with genetically reprogramming cells. While promising, early trials have also proven dangerous for the patients, as a recent Forbes article indicates.
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