Too many people have lost a loved one to the battle against cancer and too many people today are affected by this terrible disease. Depending on the type of cancer, if caught at an early age, patience have a real chance to survive, but since it’s not one of those diseases that is manifested through pain or other symptoms, most patients see a doctor when it is too late. Fortunately, the progress in medical research get us one step closes to eradicating this disease for good. So, here are ten new cancer discoveries that get us closer to a cure.
1. Cancer is not hereditary
Several members of a family can have various forms of cancer, but without necessarily being hereditary cancers. The latter develop due to mutated genes inherited from one parent. But even if someone inherits such a gene, it does not mean that cancer will become a certainty in that person’s life, but it has an increased risk of developing the disease. Only 5-10% of cancers are hereditary and these include colorectal, prostate, breast and ovarian (here ten cancer symptoms in women you should watch out for).
2. Aspirin could prevent melanoma
For many people is not the apple a day which keeps the doctor away, but rather the aspirin, which may prove to be an even more efficient drug. Women who regularly used aspirin had a 21 percent lower risk of melanoma compared to those who didn’t use this pill, according to a study in the journal Cancer. However, make sure you talk to your doctor about it, because for certain people, aspirin can cause ulcers and internal bleeding.
3. Radiation therapy for uterine cancer has been linked with increased risk of bladder cancer later in life
In the United States, uterine cancer is the fourth most common form of cancer in women. In addition to surgery, 38% of patients have radiation therapy to decrease uterine cancer recurrence. Radiation therapy used to treat uterine cancer may increase a patient’s risk of developing bladder cancer, according to a recent study published in BJU International. The conclusions indicate the importance of monitoring patients for potential signs of bladder cancer to ensure early diagnosis and treatment.
4. Researchers have discovered a controlling mechanism for the development of myelodysplastic
Researchers at the Moffitt Cancer Center have discovered a control mechanism that can trigger the development of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS- approximately 12,000 new cases diagnosed each year), a group of blood cancers. This discovery could lead to the development of therapies capable of preventing the progression of these diseases.
“Our findings suggests small molecular drugs targeting the S100A9 and CD33 molecule’s signaling pathways can be developed to make myeloid-derived suppressor cells inactive,” says Sheng Wei, M.D., associate member of Moffitt’s Immunology Program. “Now we are collaborating with a pharmaceutical company to develop a phase I trial targeting this pathway on humanized monoclonal antibodies, which are mice antibodies that have been modified to be similar to human antibodies.”
5. A breathalyser device could detect very early signs of cancer
Dr. Rachel Airey and Emer Sheridan are the researchers at the University of Huddersfield working on developing a breathalyzer device that will be able to detect very early signs of the disease, making a cure much more likely. One of the incredible new cancer discoveries that get us closer to a cure and give hope to patients for earlier diagnosis. “The intention is that we will catch patients before they start getting the symptoms. Once lung cancer patients start experiencing symptoms it is often very advanced and has a very low cure rate”, says Dr. Rachel Airley.
6. Smoking changes our genes
We already know the dangers of smoking, but researchers from Uppsala University and Uppsala Clinical Research Center show that smoking alters several genes that can be associated with health problems for smokers, such as increased risk for cancer and diabetes. Specialist explain that we inherit our genes from our parents at birth, but environmental factors and lifestyle can alter the genetic material. “This means that the epigenetic modifications are likely not caused by substance in the tobacco, but by the hundreds of different elements that are formed when the tobacco is burnt”, says Åsa Johansson, researcher at IGP and Uppsala Clinical Research Center, who has led the study.
7. Additional drug shows promise for women with triple-negative breast cancer
Adding the chemotherapy drug carboplatin or the angiogenesis inhibitor Avastin to standard chemotherapy drugs brought an increase in the number of patients whose tumors shrank away completely, in a nationwide study of women with “triple-negative” breast cancer.
“Our findings suggest that carboplatin could be used either in addition to or instead of some of the drugs in the standard chemotherapy regimen for women with triple-negative breast cancer,” says the study’s senior author, Eric Winer, MD, chief of the division of Women’s Cancers in the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
8. A drug now used to treat a type of lymphoma has shown benefits in preclinical studies of inflammatory breast cancer
According to a researcher at Thomas Jefferson University’s Kimmel Cancer Center, the findings have led to development of a phase 1/2 clinical trial to test the agent, Romidepsin (Istodax), in combination with nab-paclitaxel (Abraxane) chemotherapy for advanced inflammatory breast cancer (IBC). “Because this kind of breast cancer is very difficult to treat, we hope this new combination of anticancer agents will change the outcome of this aggressive disease,” says the study’s senior investigator, Massimo Cristofanilli, M.D., F.A.C.P., Professor of Medical Oncology and Director of the Jefferson Breast Care Center.
9. Gene interaction could lead to novel cancer therapies
According to the research conducted by scientists at the Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center, the genes known as mda-7/IL-24 and SARI could potentially be harnessed to treat both primary and metastatic forms of brain, breast, colon, lung, ovary, prostate, skin and other cancers. The study was recently published in the online version of the journal Cancer Research.
10. Understanding cancer evolution
Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center studying the precancerous condition Barrett’s esophagus have discovered that cancer arises a few years after cells begin to undergo drastic mutations. This discovery could help researchers detect cells before becoming malignant and distinguish benign from dangerous pre-cancerous conditions.
New cancer discoveries that get us closer to a cure are a fact. The small, but steady steps, the constant research and various clinical trials conducted all over the world are bound to make cancer history. We are very close to finding a cure for cancer and hopefully, in the near future, we can eliminate cancer from the list of deadliest diseases.