Multiple Paths to Fighting Cancer in Future
There are several new advances in research against cancer: “Trojan Horse” method; protein and nanoparticles tag team; and breaking the blood-brain barrier. These approaches will be guiding the future of cancer treatment, preventions, and cures.
Researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology are borrowing from Greek Mythology for their Trojan Horse system. This method is a new drug delivery system that puts anti-cancer drugs directly into cancer cells, minimizing damage to nearby health cells. This will be most effective against ovarian, kidney, and uterine cancer.
The protein nanoparticles tag-team approach was found by scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The significant findings of this report is that Transferrin, the 4th most common protein in humans, when combined with nanoparticles will target B-cell lymphoma cells—without the need of chemotherapy—killing the non-Hodgkin’s form of cancer. “off-target” effects still need to be studied. But having a non-chemotherapy, non-radiation option in the future will improve the quality of life for these patients.
The most frustrating element of treating brain cancer has been the blood-brain barrier—a body’s natural defense against toxins and infections from entering the brain. Researchers at Rensselear Polytechnic Institute are looking for a way around that defense. This will aid physicians in treating brain tumors.
Right now, researchers are trying to find a “chemical wedge” to use to slip cancer-fighting drugs into the brain by combining computer simulations, in-vitro modeling, molecular modeling and micro array technology to create new short chains of amino acids call peptides. The new peptides will be used to create that wedge to allow cancer-fighting drugs into the brain, past the barrier. This treatment will be most beneficial for a cancer called malignant glioma which has no cure and cannot be removed surgically.
If researchers are successful at breaking the blood-brain barrier, other conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy and traumatic brain injury may be treated more effectively.
The American Cancer Society has re-launched its website, in the hopes that it will make it more user-friendly for patients. Cancer.org has many tools and features to help those with cancer, who have had cancer, or who care for someone with cancer. The website has health tools designed to give a person an action plan that they can then take their doctor for discussion.