Saturday, 2 Jul 2022

Cancer breakthrough: New treatment shown to ‘eradicate cancer in as little as six days’

GMB : Adela Roberts discusses her bowel cancer diagnosis

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Bowel cancer is considered to be one of the “most common” cancer types, with 43,000 new cases being recorded in the UK each year. Depending on its exact location, bowel cancer is also called colon or rectal cancer. New research has identified a promising treatment that could help target this condition. 

Considering your individual case, the usual bowel cancer treatment can range from chemotherapy to biological treatments.

The good news is that this type of cancer can be cured if the condition is detected early, the NHS explains.

However, new research from the Rice University could take cancer treatments even further.

Bioengineers have proved they can “eradicate advanced stage” bowel and ovarian cancer in “as little as six days”. 

Conducted on mice models, the treatment could be ready for human clinical trials later this year, according to the study.

The study used implantable drug factories, which are the size of a pinhead, to deliver high doses of interleukin-2.

Interleukin-2 describes a natural compound that helps to activate your white blood cells to fight cancer.

What’s more, these tiny factories can be implanted with “minimally invasive surgery”. 

Omid Veiseh, an assistant professor of bioengineering whose lab created the treatment, said: “We just administer once, but the drug factories keep making the dose every day, where it’s needed until the cancer is eliminated.

“Once we determined the correct dose – how many factories we needed – we were able to eradicate tumours in 100 percent of animals with ovarian cancer and in seven of eight animals with colorectal cancer.”

He added that human clinical trials could begin as early as this autumn.

One of the team’s main criteria was to help cancer patients “as quickly as possible”.

The research team chose only components that were proven safe for use in humans.

Plus, they’ve also demonstrated this safety further during multiple tests.

The researchers placed the beads beside tumours within the peritoneum, a lining that supports intestines, ovaries and other abdominal organs.

By choosing this location, the researchers managed to concentrate interleukin-2 within cancer tumours and limit its exposure elsewhere.

According to the study’s lead author Amanda Nash, the drug factories are able to trigger a “stronger” immune response than the other existing interleukin-2 treatments.

This is because the beads can deliver higher concentrations of the protein directly to tumours.

There’s more good news as she also believes the same approach could be used to target other cancers, including pancreas, liver, lungs and other organs.

The beads can be also loaded with different compound to tackle other types of cancer if needed.

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