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  • Writer's pictureSBE VIT

A Promising Development in Cancer Treatment!



Since the last decade cancer, has cost millions of lives and is in the list for the most fatal disease in the world. According to WHO Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, and is responsible for an estimated 9.6 million deaths in 2018. Globally, about 1 in 6 deaths is due to cancer. In 2018, cancer took more than seven lakh lives and around two million more who continue to live and suffer from the deadly disease in India. According to the estimates by the Indian Council Medical Research (ICMR), the death toll is expected to rise to 8.8 lakh by 2020.


Its life-threatening record has been so consistent primarily because of its rapid progression, secondly, a delayed diagnosis and lastly, because of the absence a full proof treatment or drug. Many countries have and are pumping a lot of money in the cancer research, and developed treatments like chemotherapy, drugs like Herceptin, Halaven etc, radio therapy, but all this had some side effects or were not specifically effective. Surgery is also an option but mostly metastasis rules out the scope for surgery. But scientists have come up with a drug which may be the savior.


A research team from Harry Perkins Institute led by Professor Ruth Ganss have recently invented a drug to stop blood vessels from forming a treatment resistant barrier around some cancers, now it is also discovered that the drug can be used to prevent the cancer from spreading. Primarily the drug was invented to overcome a problem in some cancers that grow a chaotic barrier of blood vessels in the tumor which prevents the body’s immune cells and treatments like chemotherapy entering the tumor. Along with it the drug also sets up a lymph-node structures within the cancer to draw in the individuals own immune system and enhance its capacity to shrink the cancer.


They have also discovered that by “normalizing” the blood vessels the drug also stops cancer spreading because it counteracts the cancer’s influence on blood vessels in other parts of the body.

We know that cancer spreads when the cancer cells enter into blood stream, settle and grow in other organ, they are able to pass through the blood vessel due to secretion of certain substances which causes leakage in the vessels. The primary tumor effectively communicates to the site where the metastasis is going to form, so when the floating cancer cells arrive, they find a nice cozy environment in which to grow.


The surprising thing was that this drug restored the leaky vessels which was responsible for metastasis of the cancer.

So from the patients point of view it is beneficial in both ways, like for a patient in future it will be possible to remove the primary tumor, then eventually using it to prevent cancer cells in the blood system from successfully adhering themselves to another organ and growing. Also if the cancer cells have already settled elsewhere or metastasized and started growing then the drug can also be used to increase the exposure of immune cells into the new tumor to help it shrink.


So, this drug not only enhances the exposure of the primary tumor to body’s immune system but also prevent metastasis.


Professor Ganss said “we now know we can interfere early and late in the cancer’s journey” Co-author Dr. Bo He said “So far we’ve successfully applied it to melanoma and lung cancer models in a metastatic setting, ”



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