No one wants to hear the words “You have cancer.” Even though many excellent treatments have been produced over the past few decades, doctors are still struggling to cure this disease that can impact any part of the body. Researchers are constantly testing new ways to treat various types of cancer, some of which have had great success.
New Cancer Treatments That Could Change Medicine
Let’s take a look at some of the newest cancer treatments that researchers are talking about.
Could The Common Cold Beat Bladder Cancer?
A study that was published on July 4th, 2019 by the journal Clinical Cancer Research shows a common virus has been used to fight bladder cancer with good results. Per the study, researchers injected patients with non-muscle invasive bladder cancer with a strain of coxsackievirus.
Coxsackievirus is a virus that is known for causing hand, foot, and mouth disease, commonly seen in children.
The virus was placed into the bladder via a catheter, one week prior to surgical intervention. When the bladder tissue was examined after surgery, researchers saw that the virus left healthy cells alone but did attack the cancer cells. It is suspected that because the virus attacks the cancer cells, it also triggers the body’s immune system to attack those cells as well.
Researchers are also trying to determine what risks are associated with this treatment.
Can Bacteria Be Programmed To Fight Cancer?
Researchers based at Columbia Engineering and Columbia University Irving Medical Center have combined forces to try and create a new way to target and fight cancer cells. The team has recently published a study in Natural Medicine, regarding a strain of cancer-fighting bacteria.
The engineered bacteria strain is used to colonize solid tumors, making immunotherapy treatments easier. Think of this as a Trojan horse – the bacteria gets inside of the tumor and attacks from within.
The team had great success when treating mice with the bacteria, finding that the bacteria didn’t just stay in the tumor into which it was injected, but also spread to nearby tumors.
Safety and toxicology studies are ongoing to determine if this could be a viable treatment in humans.
Put the “CAR T” Before The Horse
In Oklahoma, doctors have been using a treatment called CAR T to treat adults with lymphoma and will soon begin to use the treatments in young adults and children.
A type of immunotherapy, the treatment takes place by injecting donated T cells with chimeric antigen receptor. This CAR then binds to cancer cells and activates the T cell. The T cell then attacks the cancer cells. The cells are fairly easy to administer – it’s like giving a patient a blood transfusion.
The treatment only needs to take place once – the T cells remain in the body and if the tumor regrows, the T cells attack.
Cancer Patients Should Continue To Hope
These are just a few of the hundreds of cancer treatments that are being studied and used across the country. It’s only a matter of time before cancer treatments will be easier to administer, have fewer side effects, and will routinely eradicate any sign of a tumor.