Are We Coming Closer to a Cure for Cancer?

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Are We Coming Closer to a Cure for Cancer?

Kate Herndon, Journalist Editing Board Member

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Let me start out by telling you, how big of a problem cancer is. Not only does it take the lives of 9 million people worldwide every year, but the disease cancer refers to the 100’s of types of cancer. The fact that there are so many kinds of cancer, means that it’s a lot harder to cure. When cancer enters the body, it forms a tumor. When the tumor forms, it starts infecting the tissue around the area. In some cases, the tumor can spread its cancerous cells through the bloodstream, and infect other parts of the body. That is where the danger comes in. The tumors can duplicate so quickly that they can be hard to catch before they start duplicating. When trying to treat the tumors, sometimes the tumors grow immune to the treatment making it even more difficult to cure cancer.

But is there a cure? At the moment, the most curable kinds of cancer are the kinds of cancer that are spotted right away. If you wait too long after the first sight of cancer, cancer can spread throughout the body and spread its cancerous cells throughout the body. Once cancer reaches a vital part of the body such as the brain or spinal cord, your body has pretty much been taken. Sometimes cancer can’t be removed but can be kept under control. That means constant repetition of treatments such as chemo (radiation therapy). Chemo is the most known treatment for keeping cancer under control, or in some cases, getting rid of the cancerous tumors. Other treatments include immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is a treatment that “boosts” your immune system. In many cases, the cancer cells trick your immune system into making more cancer cells to help the tumor, or sometimes cancer can hide from the immune system and the immune system can’t do anything to kill the cancer because it doesn’t even know the cancer exists.

Immunotherapy is a treatment used to help boost the immune system, and there are many ways scientists and doctors have figured out how to do this. One way is to give the patient drugs that simply help the immune system gain power and strengthen it, but that isn’t the only method. Another method is Cellular Immunotherapy. This method is done by taking cells out of the immune system and re-engineering them to fight cancer. Then, the cells are put back into the body in large amounts.

Checkpoint inhibitor is a method of using drugs. This method helps the immune system not get tricked by the cancer cells. In many scenarios, cancer tricks the immune system into making more harmful cancer cells, and it also helps the immune system recognize cancer so it can kill it. The drug teaches the immune system to target, then attack the pathways where cancer grows. Tumor cells can also send false systems to immune cell checkpoints so that the tumors look harmless.

Even though many cancers have treatments, that can slow down tumor growth, or in some cases eliminate tumors, there are still many kinds of cancer that can not be cured. The newest form of curing cancer is immunotherapy. It is very high tech and innovative. There is so much hope, that in the future, cancer will be fully curable. We have to take baby steps, and we are taking one step at a time.

Sources: cancercenter.com    forbes.com    immunotherapy.seattlecca.org