Globally, there was 14 million new diagnoses of cancer in 2012 and 8.2 million cancer deaths. Over the next two decades, researchers are expecting the number of worldwide new cancer diagnosis to grow to 22 million annually. This means that between 2012 and 2030 research is suggesting a 50% increase in worldwide cancer cases and a 60% increase in worldwide cancer deaths. It is estimated that 40% of individuals will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their life. Chances are your life will be changed in some way by the devastating impact of cancer at some point in your life.
Issues With Current Treatment Strategies
Lately, there have not been many therapies developed that have become more effective than the standard treatment of chemotherapy, radiation, and/or immunotherapy. Now there is hope for a more effective treatment option due to recent developments in cancer research in the United Kingdom. This new form of treatment holds promise to be more effective in treating cancer while having fewer side effects than standard treatments.
Potential New Treatment Being Developed
The new cancer treatment that was developed could effectively replace chemotherapy treatment according to scientists. The treatment, called Caspase-Independent Cell Death (CICD), has been shown to completely eradicate colorectal cancer cells grown in a lab. Although this treatment has only been shown effective for colorectal cancer, it is thought that the same technique could be used to treat many other forms of cancers and/or tumors.
Current therapies, most notably chemotherapy, radiation, and immunotherapy, focus on killing cancer cells through a process called apoptosis. Apoptosis happens when chemotherapy agents re-program the cancer cells causing them to die. This process is often ineffective in killing all the cancer cells and creates many unwanted side effects. Concerns have been raised about drug-resistance developing for chemotherapy agents, rendering them less and less effective. Standard therapies also run the risk of missing the intended target. When this happens the tumors and cancer cells are more likely to come back and can become more difficult to treat. Often times that can lead to damaging healthy cells as well. This means that with every treatment doctors have to do their best to find a balance between killing cancer cells to control the cancer and killing healthy cells to lessen side effects. Current therapies take a “shotgun” approach meaning that they kill everything in its path regardless if it’s good or bad. CICD could be more of a “laser” approach meaning it specifically targets the cancer cells, killing them and not harming the healthy cells in the body. This would be an enormous advancement in cancer treatment.
Activating The Body’s Immune System
Dr. Steven Tait, from the Institue of Cancer Sciences, thinks that using the CICD process has been more effective in experimental trials and that it might be more effective than chemotherapy. CICD not only kills the cancer cells but also helps to activate the body’s immune systems response which will help kill off cancer cells that previously were not detected by the body. The hope would be that the body’s immune system would kill off any cancer cells missed by initial therapy preventing the need for further treatment. Utilizing the body’s natural defense system could be much superior to using different medications or therapies. If the body’s immune system can kill the cancer it seems possible to conclude that it would cause less side effect than more cancer therapies.
When Will This Treatment Be Available?
Don’t go to your doctor just yet for this type of treatment. At this point in time, much more research needs to be developed to see if this treatment will be effective in treating cancer in humans. At this point, it hasn’t even been be trialed in humans. Further research is needed to confirm that this is truly an effective cancer treatment. After more research is conducted government agencies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will need to review the research and approve the medication. Countless people are awaiting a cure for cancer or at least for better treatment options. CICD holds brings a renewed hope for people affected by cancer. Hopefully, research on CICD will bring new treatment options, therapies, and knowledge on cancer.