May is an exciting month for advances in cancer treatment. Scientists have discovered a new protein in the lungs that may provide information to help treat secondary cancer tumors. Doctors have found a way to open the blood/brain barrier to treat brain cancers more effectively. Researchers have found a more cost effective and less invasive way to treat cancer with immunotherapy.
Cancer Breakthrough Could Stop Tumors Growing Back Years After Treatment
A breast cancer breakthrough could stop tumors growing back in the lungs years after treatment. An existing leukemia drug could help stop cells “reawakening” -preventing the deadly disease becoming incurable, the study on mice found reports The US Sun. Cancer cells can survive and remain dormant for many years. Scientists have been working to figure out what causes the cancer cells to wake up from that dormant state. They have discovered a protein (PDGF-C) in the lung that increases with age, causing the cancer cells to reawaken.
When cancer spreads to other organs or bones it cannot be cured. Preventing the spread of secondary cancer causes better patient outcomes. Researchers used a leukemia drug, Imatinib, to see how the drug affected tumor growth and how it affected the PDGF-C protein. The findings of this research showed the tumor growth as well as secondary tumor growth were reduced. This new knowledge can help researchers to help prevent secondary cancer development. Click here for more information.
Major Breakthrough as Cancer Patients Have Chemo for Brain Tumors for First Time
The “huge advance” in treatment temporarily opened the blood/brain barrier, which previously prevented drugs reaching the organ. Scientists at Northwestern University in Illinois were able to open it in a four-minute procedure, increasing concentrations of the drug in the brain by up to six times reports The US Sun. This new advance can lead to treatment for glioblastoma and other brain diseases.
Normally, the treatment for brain cancer involves brain surgery, but it is difficult to get all the tumor out due to the threadlike elements of the tumor itself. Most chemotherapy will not cross the blood/brain barrier, temozolomide is used to help slow the growth of brain tumors. Surgeons use a small device on the skull to send ultrasound waves to open a blood/brain barrier. During this time, stronger chemotherapy is injected to help treat the cancer. Further trials are being done to see if there is more improvement in patient outcomes. Click here for more information.
Fast and Cost-Effective New Therapy Harnesses Patients Blood Cells to Fight Tumors
Adaptive cell therapy (ACT) is a form of immunotherapy that uses the patients’ own immune cells from their tumors. This therapy is currently being used to treat melanoma. Northwestern University scientists have made a groundbreaking discovery: it is now possible to isolate tumor attacking cells from blood non-invasively, rather than from the tumors themselves reports SciTech Daily.
There are tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) circulating in the blood, not just found inside the tumors as once thought by scientists. Scientists have isolated the strongest tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes and replicated them. In mice, these tumor infiltrating lymphocytes were injected and killed the cancerous tumor. Scientists are now doing further clinical trials because of the positive results in mice testing. Click here for more information.
Dana Kaiser is a professional writer and a strong patient advocate, learning from experience during her 22-year career as a nurse.