Cancer is the term for a group of more than 100 diseases. Cancer begins when the cell’s genetic material is damaged, leading to mutations that affect normal progress of the cell’s life cycle. Normal cells multiply in required number according to the need of the organs, mature, and die. Cancer cells are different – they keep multiplying and form a tumor for lack of space, and invade other tissues, which normal cells do not do. Cancer cells travel to other parts of the body too, and this is called metastasis.
The National Cancer Institute has divided cancer into five categories:
Carcinoma: Caner that begins in the skin or linings of organs
Sarcoma: cancer that begins in bones, cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels, or connective tissue
Leukemia: cancer that begins in blood forming tissue
Lymphoma and Myeloma: cancer that begins in the cells of immune system
Central nervous system cancers: these are cancers that begin in tissues of the brain and the spinal cord.
Treatment of Cancer over the years
Although the treatment of cancer has undergone tremendous progress due to significant understanding of the biological processes that lead to cancer, there are still many areas of cancer development that need to be comprehended.
As new information is revealed everyday, new medicinesand strategies are also being developed to modify the existing therapies.
New Miracle Drug For Skin Cancer
One such ground breaking research was reported in September about drugs to treat skin cancer and by extension treat other type as well.
Melanoma is one of the most aggressive cancers with a poor prognosis, and a high death rate, with patients dying within months of diagnosis. Less than 25% of those diagnosed survive for 12 months. The number of cases of melanoma is increasing with more and more people going for holidays in sunny climates.
Professor Peter Johnson, Chief Clinician, Cancer Research UK, is a leading expert in lymphoma, and is involved in developing new treatments for body’s immune system to attack tumors.
A report of research done under the leadership of Professor Johnson was published on 29th September in Daily Mail.
According to the report, Professor Johnson, and his team of researchers have found new combination of drugs to attack tumors, using the body’s natural defenses.
Combination Drugs: IPI and PD1
This new treatment involves combination of two drugs ipilimumab (ipi) and anti-PD1s, which breaks down cancer cell defenses. This combination of drugs can effectively “reboot” a patient’s immune system.
The treatment of using this combination of drugs is still in clinical trial, but the results which are available are quite promising.
The team of scientists at the Cancer Research UK hails the findings as amazing for skin cancer.
The research was presented at the European Cancer Congress Conference held at Amsterdam, during the last weekend of September, it was declared that one in six melanoma patients treated with this miraculous drug was already cured. According to Dr.Alexander Eggermont, from France, “if this success rate continues, there is a possibility to cure more than half of advanced skin cancer sufferers, who normally die after a few months of being diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer, in the next 5 to 10 years”. He further said that this bizarre prediction would have made the people laugh if made 5 years ago.
The Daily Express correspondent Ricky Senly reported that the scientists were amazed at the results and were using the word “cure” for the first time in context with cancer. The doctors are hoping to use the drug on other kinds of cancers too. Researchers described the results of the same drug’s trials on kidney and lung cancer patients as “very exciting”.
Dr James Larkin, of the Royal Marsden Hospital said that the drug is really big news, because the skin cancer melanoma has spread to other parts of the body, it is considered incurable and patients die within months. Therefore if the patient treated with ipi, is still alive, after 3 years, then it is likely that he is clinically cured.
His work on the combination of ipi with PD1 is showing spectacular results.
The ipi drug with a brand name of Yervoy will be soon available for mainstream usage, if and when the manufacturers reduce its price.
Author Bio: Sameer Gupta is a medical writer who writes well-researched, in-depth cancer articles which provide relevant information to help patients combat the deadly disease. Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) prides in providing the best cancer treatment solutions to patients who have endured to various cancer types.