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Innovative Cancer Treatments

Cancer research is entering the 21st century with an almost sci-fi aura for us baby boomers.  The things that used to thrill us when watching sci-fi movies as youngsters, are now becoming a reality.  If we all live long enough, we may be able to experience treatments in cancer that will have the ability to make it a chronic disease (such as diabetes) or destroy it entirely.  I am personally very excited about some of these developments.  Keep your eyes on these projects:

» Nanotechnology is at the forefront of cancer research.  Miniature devices are being designed and created to enter the human body to seek out and destroy disease.  Researchers at Burnham Institute and U/C San Diego's Jacobs School of Engineering have developed hybrid organic/inorganic machines that home to cancerous tissues in live mice.  Researchers at the University of Stanford, US, have used single-walled carbon nanotubes and a laser to selectively destroy cancer cells. The modified nanotubes entered cancer cells and were heated by a near-infrared light beam, killing the cells.  Read More

» Vaccine Therapy is being used as a currative and preventive item. Cancer vaccines are medicines that belong to a class of substances known as biological response modifiers. Biological response modifiers work by stimulating or restoring the immune system’s ability to fight infections and disease. Read More Here.

» CCNE is making significant progress in developing and validating nanoparticles for optical molecular imaging using quantum dots that can predict and monitor therapy response in animal models. These discoveries should lead to new methods of testing drug efficacy in small animal cancer models, thereby accelerating the process of bringing improved drugs to the clinic.  Read more Here.

» Using a “chemical nose” array of nanoparticles and polymers, researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have developed a fundamentally new, more effective way to differentiate not only between healthy and cancerous cells but also between metastatic and nonmetastatic cancer cells. It is a tool that could revolutionize cancer detection and treatment.  Read More Here.

» For cancer drug developers, finding an agent that kills tumor cells is only part of the equation. The drug must also spare healthy cells. And – ideally – its effects will be reversible, to cut short any potentially dangerous side effects. University of Illinois researchers report that they have assembled a new cancer drug delivery system that, in cell culture, achieves all of the above. Read More Here.

» New insight into how human cells reproduce, published by cancer researchers at Michigan State University and the Van Andel Research Institute in Grand Rapids, could help scientists move closer to finding an “off switch” for cancer.  Read More Here

»  Brain cancer is among the deadliest of cancers. It's also one of the hardest to treat. Imaging results are often imprecise because brain cancers are extremely invasive. Researchers at the University of Washington have been able to illuminate brain tumors by injecting fluorescent nanoparticles into the bloodstream that safely cross the blood-brain barrier -- an almost impenetrable barrier that protects the brain from infection.  Read More Here.

»  Surgical biopsies is the current standard for diagnosing cancers.  A device that could provide up-to-the-minute information about what a tumor is doing—whether it is growing or shrinking, how it is responding to treatment - would be more beneficial. MIT researchers have developed a nano implantable device that can do just that.  Read More Here.

You can use these links to free online journals, if you would like to keep up on new events in cancer research:

BioMed Central - list of free journals accessible on their site (free registration required)

Nature Cancer Update - receive email updates your preferences or browse (free registration).

You may want to read these articles and news items on recent types of research:

Genetics Today - an explanation.

Nanotechnology - an explanation of the technology.