February 4, 2016 marked the annual observance of World Cancer Day, an event that originated in 2000 during the first World Summit against Cancer. Professor Colin Goding, a cancer researcher at Oxford University, took the opportunity to sit down for an interview about the current and future state of cancer treatment.
How researchers study cancer
According to Dr. Goding, the cellular events leading to the development of cancer are relatively complicated. Our bodies have systems to block mutated cells that lead to tumors, so those systems need to break down, allowing the mutations to take hold while accelerator cells push growth into overdrive.
Melanoma, or skin cancer, is one of the more common forms of the disease. It begins in the cells that manufacture melanin, which is a pigment controlling skin, eye and hair color. Dr. Goding cited melanoma as a good model for researchers to follow all stages of development, as opposed to forms like lung cancer that have already progressed by the time symptoms present.
Where does treatment go from here?
Dr. Goding sees the most promise for the future in two methods that are used in our immuno-oncology center. One is the ongoing development of drugs that reactivate the body’s immune system to attack cancer cells. The other is a focus on changing the micro-environment, which consists of the elements involved in the growth or regression of tumors.
Our Issels® immuno-oncology centers have been ahead of the curve in the use of non-toxic therapies that stimulate the immune system and target a tumor’s micro-environment. Visit our website to learn more about our personalized treatment protocols.
One of the biggest challenges facing surgeons operating on cancer patients is making sure the entire tumor is removed. Thanks to recent cancer research at Oregon State University (OSU) in Corvallis, advancements in phototherapy could lead to major improvements in surgery and treatment.
Phototherapy is a field holding promise as a valuable adjunct to current primary cancer treatments of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Its unique nature can help surmount the hurdles presented by forms of cancer that have developed a resistance to drug therapy.
The study at OSU involved a single-agent system using silicon napthalocyanine, a substance considered to be “theranostic” because it has both therapeutic and diagnostic applications. The compound causes cancer cells to glow under near-infrared light, allowing a surgeon to have a clearer view of the tumor. In addition, the heat generated by the substance kills any remaining cancer cells.
Associate professor Olena Taratula, lead author of the study, compared the system to “an extra pair of eyes” assisting a surgeon. Other benefits include its relatively low cost as well as biodegradability and ease of reproduction.
Tests were performed on laboratory animals suffering from ovarian cancers. After treatment, the tumors were eliminated without any side effects and never returned. Continuing cancer research will be performed on dogs with cancerous tumors, with an eventual goal of progressing to trials with human cancer patients.
If your cancer has not responded to standard treatments, even new tactics, our non-toxic immunotherapy programs at Issels® may be the answer. Our protocols incorporate innovative, state-of-the-art methods for personalized treatment with fewer side effects. Visit our website to learn more about these immune boosting treatments and read real-life testimonials from our patients.
At Rice University they are blowing up cancer cells with nanoparticle “bombs.” Like integrative immunotherapy, the new cancer-fighting technique kills cancer cells without harming surrounding healthy cells. Experimental trials have been so successful destroying aggressive and resistant cancer cells, particularly in the head and neck areas, that human trials are expected to begin in the near future.
Rice cellular biologist Dmitri Lapolko who developed the new treatment calls it quadrapeutics for the four techniques – nanoparticles, laser, drugs and radiation — used in this revolutionary new cancer treatment. Here’s how it works (Click here to watch a video.):
1. Colloidal gold nanoparticles filled with a small dose of chemotherapy drugs are injected into the body at the tumor site.
2. The nanoparticles are detonated with a near-infrared laser. The gold magnifies the laser’s effect which allows the use of very small doses of radiation.
3. As the laser hits the nanoparticles, they burst. The energy expansion creates a momentary bubble that blows up and destroys surrounding cancer cells, much like the shock wave from a bomb.
4. Chemotherapy drugs released when the nanoparticles explode deliver a second deadly payload to any remaining cancer cells in the area. With their cell walls already damaged by the nanoparticle explosion, remaining cells are quickly penetrated by the chemo drugs which are able to directly attack the cytoplasm at the cells’ heart, destroying them.
If human trials are successful, Lapolko believes quadrapeutics could be valuable in addressing complex tumors intertwined with critical organs. Increasingly the fight against cancer is being conducted on the cellular battlefield. Visit our website for information about cell therapy in cancer treatments.