When using treatments to kill cancer cells, often normal healthy cells get killed off or harmed in the process. Scientists have been working towards finding new ways to kill cancer cells without harming the healthy ones. I was very intrigued by this topic when stumbling through various medical headlines. I have seen people struggle with the sometimes harmful effects of chemotherapy. I saw this and was delighted to see that there are new treatments in the works that will kill only cancer cells and not the healthy ones. Through many years of research scientist are starting to find new, breakthrough technology, and methods to do so.
“One of the longstanding problems in medicine is how to cure cancer without harming normal body tissue. Standard chemotherapy destroys cancer cells and normal cells alike,” says Hongjie Dai, an associate professor of chemistry at Stanford. Cancer can affect anyone. Your age, gender, social status and/or wealth don’t matter when it comes to cancer. Everyone is at risk. Traditionally, once cancer is treated a patient will go through chemotherapy. Normal cells are attacked as well as the cancer cells. This is why chemo can have such adverse affects such as hair loss. This has been one of the main issues scientists have been trying to figure out. What is a way to kill cancer without harming healthy and normal cells? Well, scientists have come up with a few different and effective ways to target and kill certain cancer cells.
One method that is still in the works but has been proven to kill off cancer cells that cause lymphoma or cancer of the lymphatic system, is the nanotech-laser treatment. This is a treatment that uses laser technology to target and kill cancer cells. The basic tool of nanotechnology is carbon nanotubes, synthetic rods that are half the width of a DNA molecule. “An interesting property of carbon nanotubes is that they absorb near-infrared light waves, which are slightly longer than visible rays of light and pass harmlessly through our cells,” says Dai. When these nanotubes were placed inside cells and radiated by a laser beam, the cancer cells were destroyed by the heat. The cells without the nanotubes showed no effect when placed under near-infrared light. “It’s actually quite amazing simple and amazing. We’re using an intrinsic property of nanotubes to develop a weapon that kills cancer.” observes Dai.
Another method that is being researched to kill cancer is the unleashing of tumor killing T-Cells. Scientists have developed a protein that is two pronged and grabs immune system cells and introduces those cells to cancer cells. The result: eradicated tumors. This technology is still new and still in the trail stage , but if it’s effective, the new antibody could offer a way to stop non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas. According to the 2008 National Cancer Institute, more than 65,000 Americans have been diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma and nearly 20,000 have died from it. Scientists conducted a thirty-eight person trail in which eleven people showed a significant response to the drug blinatumomab (this incorporates the protein) and their cancerous lymph nodes shrunk. How does this all work? Well the two-pronged protein is part of a fleet of T-cell engagers. T-cells are the immune system cells that coordinate and attack foreign invaders (cancer cells). The T-cell treatment, as I like to call it, does have minor side effects such as cold and flu like symptoms but the benefits outweigh these side effects.
There are also other cancer killing methods in the works such as the STX140 which stimulates a natural cancer suicide process. This is being used to hopefully one day fight breast cancer. And many more treatments are in the works. I hope these experiments work! I have seen what the effects of cancer treatments and chemotherapy have done to people. I really am looking forward to seeing what else scientists come up with to help preserve healthy cells. Does anyone havesomeone they know that’s dealing with the effects of cancer and/or chemo? Sometimes chemo works and sometimes it doesn’t. Is taking a risk and doing chemo worth it? My hope is that one day these new medical advances in the killing of cancer cells will work. Who knows, maybe one day we can kill cancer with a single procedure!
For more info try these…