Are we about to be cured of cancer?

Palestine today – Gaza

Time 18:39

13 June 2022

Although cancers share a common mechanism that involves the rapid division of abnormal cells, several variables, from genes to where the disease occurs, help determine your chances of survival.

Thus, some forms – such as melanoma or testicular cancer – when detected early, have a 98-year survival rate of 98%.

For other species, the prognosis is darker. For pancreatic cancer – which is more difficult to detect, meaning it has more time to spread and resist treatment – the five-year survival rate is 7%, with 90% of patients dying within two years of diagnosis.

And yet, with so much worldwide spiritual power dedicated to waging war against this plague, there are signs that we are very close to a cure for cancer – or at least some form of it.

It was revealed this week that a groundbreaking vaccine developed by researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in the US could prevent pancreatic cancer from returning after surgery – raising hopes for treatment.

It comes in the same week as the most exciting cancer breakthrough, as it appears patients have already been cured.

Twelve patients with rectal cancer were reported to have “disappeared” after participating in a clinical trial with a drug called dostarlimab.

The drug comes as a form of immunotherapy – designed to stimulate the immune system to fight cancer. “This is the first time this has happened in the history of cancer,” said Dr. Luis Diaz, one of the lead writers, said.

Although the trial, which was also conducted by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, was small, it provoked much optimism, and there are now plans for those with other forms of the disease, including stomach, prostate and pancreatic cancer, around the waist. to try.

And this “personalized” treatment – especially in the field of immunotherapy – can give promising results in the fight against all forms of cancer.

Cancer is now treated with chemotherapy, radiotherapy and then surgery, which can have debilitating side effects.

But treatment is increasingly personalized as genetic or other abnormalities in a patient’s tumor are identified and then matched with treatments to specifically target them.

In the case of dostarlimab, the drug was only given to patients with tumors with a specific genetic makeup known as a maladaptation – lack of recovery.

These are mutations in genes that usually correct “errors” in cells by the immune system. However, a protein known as PD-1, which is produced in large quantities in some types of cancer, prevents the immune system from doing so. Dostarlimab prevents PD-1 from acting in this way, which means that immune cells can destroy the cancer.

In fact, a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine just this week revealed that an experimental treatment involving the alteration of the genes of immune cells appears to be the progression of advanced pancreatic cancer in a woman. stopped.

However, Gareth Evans, professor of medical genetics and cancer epidemiology at the University of Manchester, says targeted immunotherapy is only one of the “small victories” that could pave the way for a versatile treatment of cancer.

Another test could be a blood test to detect cancer early – before anyone experiences any symptoms.

This is the point of the Galleri blood test, developed by Grail, a California-based biotechnology company. It is designed to detect more than 50 types of cancers, including stomach, uterine and kidney cancers. This test is done by detecting pieces of DNA that are secreted by the tumor into the bloodstream. Then it is analyzed to find out where the cancer is.

In a study last year of people already diagnosed with cancer, the test accurately detected the disease in 51.5% of participants. It was also able to correctly predict the location of a crop 89% of the time. The test could be available in the UK as early as 2024, after the NHS launched its largest trial in the world in September 2021, with 140,000 participants.

However, testing this type is not without its challenges, as it relies on tumors that produce enough pieces of DNA to detect disease – and some cancers produce more genetic material than others.

Professor Evans says: “There is no magic bullet for cancer treatment. But the combination of personalized drug therapies, vaccines and preventative screening will help make a difference. There have been fewer victories and breakthroughs in the last five to 10 years than five to ten years ago. before that. The future, something Little by little, he gets better at in our fight against cancer. “

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