Regardless of where you live, what your occupation is, or how much money you make, cancer has likely touched your life in some way. If you’ve never been diagnosed with cancer, you know someone who has battled this deadly disease.
According to the National Cancer Institute, an estimated 39.6 percent of people will develop cancer at some point in their lives. Thankfully, as a result of promising new treatments, the overall cancer death rate in America has dropped since the early 1990’s.
In a recent research study conducted at the Stanford University School of Medicine, an exciting new cancer vaccine eradicated tumors in an astounding 97 percent of mice tested in a laboratory.
The innovative vaccine works by activates T cells in tumors. When researches infiltrated small quantities of two immune-intensifying agents into physical tumors, virtually every sign of cancer was completely eliminated in an astonishing 87 of the 90 mice studied in the laboratory.
The Stanford Medicine News Center reported that the vaccine was even effective at destroying “distant, untreated metastases.”
Ronald Levy, MD, a professor of oncology, was the senior author of the study. He was amazed at the body wide effects of the two agents on the mice. Concerning the study, he said, “This approach bypasses the need to identify tumor-specific immune targets and doesn’t require wholesale activation of the immune system or customization of a patient’s immune cells.”
The study was published in Science Transitional Medicine on January 31, 2018. Researchers are optimistic the vaccine utilized in the laboratory will be available as a cancer therapy in the not so distant future. One agent used in the vaccine is already approved for use in humans. The other one has been studied in numerous clinical trials unrelated to the Stanford University of Medicine study. Approximately 15 patients suffering from low-grade lymphoma are currently being recruited for a clinical trial to test the two agent vaccine.
Additionally, researchers foresee the treatment having considerably fewer destructive side effects than current options such as chemotherapy.
If the trial is a success, Levy feels the treatment could be used on several different types of tumors. He hopes clinicians will eventually be able to administer the two agents into the solid tumors of patients before the surgical removal of the cancer. The distinguished researcher hopes the procedure can prevent recurrence caused from lingering cancer cells or unidentified metastases.
Levy believes the two agent vaccine might even be able to prevent the development of future tumors occurring due to genetic mutations. He said, “I don’t think there’s a limit to the type of tumor we could potentially treat, as long as it has been infiltrated by the immune system.”
Levy is a leader in the field of cancer immunotherapy. Studies conducted in his laboratory led to the development of rituximab, one of the first approved monoclonal antibodies used in humans to fight cancer. According to Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, PNAS, every lymphoma patient is currently administered rituximab either as a stand-alone therapy or in combination with other treatments.
Rituximab has proven effective at shrinking lymphoma tumors and keeping them under control. It is thought to have few side effects. Besides being utilized as a weapon against cancer, rituximab has also been approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. It’s being researched as a possible treatment option for other types of autoimmune diseases.
Cancer is a devastating disease that affects both the life of patients and those who love them. While cures for certain types of cancer are still unknown, researchers, such as Levy, are hard at work to discover them.
Besides traditional treatment methods, some cancer patients are embracing alternative treatment options. According to the Mayo Clinic, evidence is growing that alternative treatments might provide some benefit to cancer sufferers such as helping them cope with the symptoms caused by cancer and traditional cancer treatments.
Studies suggest acupuncture might be helpful in lessening the nausea resulting from chemotherapy. It may also relieve specific types of pain in people battling cancer. Acupuncture involves a practitioner administering small needles into your skin at precise points. Low-impact exercise might help those with cancer relieve fatigue, eradicate stress, and sleep more soundly. Several studies show working out might help people diagnosed with cancer live longer and enjoy a better quality of life. Aromatherapy is believed to be able to alleviate the nausea, pain, and stress some cancer patients experience.
If you or someone close to you is battling cancer, be sure to talk with a physician before trying any alternative treatment options. Some alternative treatment methods aren’t safe for people suffering from certain types of cancers or other health issues.
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