Overview of cancer
Cancer is a group of diseases characterized by unusual cell growth. These cells can invade different tissues of the body, leading to serious health problems. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Trusted Source, cancer is the second-leading cause of death in the United States behind heart disease.
Is there a cure for cancer? If so, how close are we? To answer these questions, it’s important to understand the difference between a cure and remission:
- A cure for cancer eliminates all traces of cancer from the body and ensures it won’t come back.
- Remission means there are few to no signs of cancer in the body.
- Complete remission means there aren’t any detectable signs or symptoms of cancer.
- Still, cancer cells can remain in the body, even after complete remission. This means cancer can come back. When this happens, it’s usually within the first five years trusted Source after treatment.
- Some doctors use the term “cured” when referring to cancer that doesn’t come back within five years. But cancer can still come back after five years, so it’s never truly cured.
- Currently, there’s no true cure for cancer. But recent advances in medicine and technology are helping move us closer than ever to a cure.
- Similarly, “cancer” is an umbrella term for more than 200 types, including cancers of the bladder, brain, breast, colon, eye, kidney, liver, lung, ovaries, and skin.
- When you have cancer, abnormal cells develop, divide, and destroy healthy tissue in your body. Some varieties grow slowly; Others spread quickly. Each type begins in a different part of your body and has its own classes, stages, and characteristics.
- Because every type of cancer is different, there is no one-size-fits-all cure. But sometimes, people are cured if they feel they are far from their cancer treatment. But it is not so easy.
Cured versus remission
For centuries, doctors have used the term “cure” to describe a completely lost medical condition that never returns. For example, if you have appendicitis and doctors remove your appendix, it will be cured.
In cancer language, “prevention” works differently.
Doctors can give you their best perspective based on statistics from large groups on whether or not your cancer will return. But no doctor can guarantee that it will be cured.
There are two reasons for this:
- Doctors still don’t know everything about the disease.
- Some cancer cells can be present somewhere in the body and grow, divide, and develop into a new tumor. So avoid telling doctors that you are cured.
- Instead of talking about “cures”, many medical professionals use the term “treatment.” If you receive treatment and your cancer does not return for the rest of your life, it will be cured.
- “Relief” is another keyword. It means that your cancer symptoms have disappeared. It is different from healing because the relief will never be the same throughout your life.
Treatments of a cure for cancer
There is no cure for cancer, but there are treatments that can cure it.
Most people are treated for cancer, live a lifetime, and die from other causes. Many others are treated for cancer and die from it, but the treatment gives them more time – years or even decades.
Common types of cancer treatments:
- Bone marrow transplant
- Hormonal therapy
- Targeted drug treatment
- Clinical trials
- Palliative care
Treatment plans are tailored to the type of cancer, how advanced it is, your general health, and your preferences.
Cancer immunotherapy is a type of treatment that helps the immune system fight cancer cells.
The immune system is made up of a wide variety of organs, cells, and tissues that help the body fight foreign invaders, such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites.
But cancer cells are not foreign invaders, so help is needed to identify the immune system. There are many ways to provide this help.
When you think of vaccines, you think of them in the context of preventing infections like measles, tetanus, and the flu. But some vaccines can help prevent or even treat certain types of cancer. For example, the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine protects against many types of HPV that can cause cervical cancer.
Researchers are working to develop a vaccine that can help the immune system fight cancer cells directly. These cells often have molecules on their surfaces that are not present in normal cells. Providing a vaccine that contains these molecules allows the immune system to better detect and destroy cancer cells. Currently, only one vaccine is approved for the treatment of cancer. This is called cipulecell-T. It is used to treat advanced prostate cancer that does not respond to other therapies.
This vaccine is unique because it is a personalized vaccine. Immune cells are removed from the body and sent to a laboratory where they can detect prostate cancer cells. They are then reinserted into your body, where the immune system finds and destroys cancer cells. Researchers are currently working to develop and test new vaccines to prevent and treat certain types of cancer.
T cell therapy
T cells are a type of immune cell. They destroy the foreign invaders that your immune system encounters. In T-cell therapy, these cells are removed and sent to a laboratory. Cells that respond best to cancer cells are isolated and grow to a larger size. These T cells are reinserted into your body.
A specific type of T-cell therapy is called CAR T-cell therapy. During treatment, T cells are removed and modified to bind the receptor to their surface. It helps better identify and destroy T cells when cancer cells reproduce themselves into your body.
CART cell therapy is currently used to treat a wide variety of cancers, including adult non-Hodgkin lymphoma and childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Clinical trials are underway to determine how T-cell therapies can treat other types of cancer.
Antibodies are proteins made by B cells, another type of immune cell. They are able to identify specific targets called antigens and adhere to them. After binding to an antibody-antigen, T cells can detect and destroy the antigen.
Monoclonal antibody therapy involves the production of large amounts of antibodies that detect antigens found on the surface of cancer cells. They are then implanted in the body, where they help detect and neutralize cancer cells.
Various monoclonal antibodies have been developed to treat cancer. Some examples:
- Alemtuzumab: This antibody binds to a specific protein in leukemic cells, targeting its destruction. It is used to treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
- Ibritumomab tiuxetan: The radioactive cell attaches itself to this antibody, allowing the antibody to deliver radiation directly to cancer cells when trapped. It is used to treat certain types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
- Ado-trastuzumab emtansine: To this antibody, a chemotherapy drug was added. Once the antibody attaches itself, it releases the anticancer drug into the cancer cells. It is used to treat certain types of breast cancer.
- Blinatumomab: It actually contains two different monoclonal antibodies. One attaches to cancer cells and the other to immune cells. It combines immune and cancer cells, allowing the immune system to attack cancer cells. It is used to treat acute lymphocytic leukemia.
Immunization checkpoint inhibitors
Immunostaining centre inhibitors increase the immune system’s response to cancer. The immune system is designed to attach itself to foreign invaders without destroying other cells in the body. Remember, cancer cells do not seem alien to the immune system.
In general, control molecules on the surface of cells prevent T cells from invading. Checkpoint inhibitors help T cells prevent these checkpoints, which in turn allow cancer cells to attack better.
Immunosuppressive centre inhibitors are used to treat a variety of cancers, including lung cancer and skin cancer. Here’s another look at immunotherapy, written by someone who has learned for two decades and tried different approaches.
Gene therapy is a way to treat disease by modifying or altering genes in the cells of the body. Genes contain code that produces a wide variety of proteins. Proteins, how cells grow, behave and interact with each other.
In cancer, genes are defective or damaged, causing some cells to grow out of control and form a tumor. The goal of cancer gene therapy is to treat the disease by replacing or modifying this damaged genetic information with a healthy code. Researchers are still studying many gene therapies in laboratories or clinical trials.
Genetic aggregation is the addition, deletion, or modification of genes. This is also known as genome editing. In cancer treatment, a new gene is introduced into cancer cells. It causes cancer cells to die or stop growing.
The research is still in its infancy, but it has shown promise. Until now, most of the research on genetic modification involves animals or isolated cells rather than human cells. But the research continues and continues to grow.
The CRISPR system is an example of genetic modification that is taking great care. This system allows researchers to target specific DNA sequences using a modified portion of the enzyme and nucleic acid. The enzyme deletes the DNA sequence, allowing it to be replaced by a custom sequence. One way is to use the “find and replace” function in a word processing program.
The first clinical trial protocol using CRISPR was recently reviewed. In a prospective clinical trial, researchers have proposed using CRISPR technology to modify T cells in people with advanced myeloma, melanoma, or sarcoma. Meet some researchers working to make genetic modification a reality.
Many types of viruses destroy their host cell as part of their life cycle. This makes viruses an attractive potential treatment for cancer. Virotherapy is the use of viruses to select for cancer cells. Viruses used in virotherapy are called oncolytic viruses. They are genetically modified to target and replicate only in cancer cells.
Experts believe that when the oncolytic virus kills a cancer cell, cancer-related antigens are released. Antibodies bind to these antigens and stimulate the immune system response.
While researchers are examining the use of several viruses for this type of treatment, only one has been approved so far. This is called T-VEC (Talimogen Laharparepvek). It is a modified herpes virus. It is used to treat melanoma skin cancer that cannot be removed by surgery.
The body naturally produces hormones that act as messengers for your body’s tissues and cells. This help regulate many functions of the body.
Hormone therapy involves the use of an antidote to prevent the production of hormones. Some cancers are sensitive to specific hormone levels. Changes in these levels affect the growth and survival of these cancer cells. Reducing or preventing the required amount of hormones can reduce the growth of these types of cancers.
Hormone therapy is sometimes used to treat breast cancer, prostate cancer, and cervical cancer.
Nanoparticles are very small structures. They are smaller than cells. Their size allows them to move throughout the body and interact with different cells and biological molecules.
Nanoparticles are good tools for treating cancer, especially as a means of delivering drugs to the tumor site. Helps cancer treatment be more effective while reducing side effects.
Although such nanoparticle therapy is still in development, many nanoparticle-based delivery systems have been approved from trusted sources for the treatment of various types of cancer. Other cancer treatments that use nanoparticle technology are currently in clinical trials.