• Shruti GOCHHWAL

New Experimental Cancer Treatments That Show Promise

Cancer is among the biggest challenges faced by healthcare professionals today. The World Health Organization states that cancer is the second leading cause of death in the world, causing an estimated 9.6 million deaths a year. This disease has more than 100 types, making it very difficult to come with treatment options.

There are various cancer treatments options available but they are highly dependent on early diagnosis of the disease. Scientists and researchers have been constantly looking for solutions and have come up with some very interesting approaches that could be very effective in battling cancer.

Here are some treatment approaches for cancer that have been developed recently:

Genetically Modified Virus Therapy Using Polio Virus

A picture of DNA structure

Genetic modification is being widely used in researching new treatments., Credits: Pixabay


This is an experimental treatment which has been developed by researchers at duke university. In genetically modified viruses, the goal is to remove the disease-causing component of the virus and use the deactivated virus to fight off other medical conditions. The newly formed virus directly acts on the tumour to neutralize it.

The poliovirus is attached with a component of cold-causing rhinovirus and the newly formed virus is known as the PVS-RIPO.  This virus attacks the cancer cells and kills them by infecting them. This unique mechanism also makes the body’s immune system attack the tumour because of the new infection. The intended target for this therapy is brain tumours. This treatment has immense potential for treating cancer.

Genetic modification has massive potential to develop targeted treatments for many forms of cancer as well as other diseases.

Gene Therapy

treatment approaches for cancer

Gene therapy makes chemotherapy effective., Credits: Wikimedia Commons


This is a form of treatment in which specialized enzymes are developed which are released directly into the tumours. These enzymes act on the tumours and make them reactive towards chemotherapeutic agents.

The principle of this therapy is to introduce genes which will have a suppressant action on the cancerous cells so that they can be inhibited with other agents. The current study is using thymidine kinase which is released directly into gliomas.

This introduction suppresses them to a point where they can be treated with Acyclovir.  Adenoviruses are used as vehicles for gene therapy.

This method is limited to one type of tumours at the moment but more research is being conducted to find more applications.

Hyperthermia or Heat Therapy

It is a new form of treatment which is currently being developed to treat cancer. The principle behind this treatment is to administer heat and use this heat to kill the cells present in a tumour. Many ancient systems of medicines used hypothermia to treat diseases in their time.

The goal of this therapy is to either use full-body or targetted heat administration which will act on the cellular proteins causing their denaturation. This will result in the killing of the cancer cells.

This therapy is currently in the experimental stage but many experts believe that we will have an application for this therapy ready to use very soon.

High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound

An illustration of a sound wave

HIFU uses targeted sound waves., Image Credits: Public Domain Pictures


A HIFU treatment uses a sonicator to focus sound waves at a tumour. These sound waves raise the temperature of the tumour and kill it. This form of treatment has been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration.

More research is needed to ensure that this treatment is developed for different types of cancers.  The non-invasive nature of this treatment makes it an exciting prospect. Currently, this form of treatment is being used in patients suffering from prostate cancer and bone cancer.

Immunotherapeutic Vaccines

A syringe and a vaccine - Cancer Treatments

Immunotherapeutic vaccines provide the body the tools it needs to fight cancer. Image Credits: Flickr


Immunotherapeutic Vaccines are specialised vaccines which trigger an immune response by the body. These vaccines are designed in a way that upon administration, it equips the immune system and helps it fight cancer. This approach allows for the use of specific vaccines for specific types of tumours.

Developing specific vaccines is a difficult task with major issues that have to be worked but the treatment has massive potential. One immunotherapeutic vaccine called Sipuleucel-T is currently available for the treatment of prostate cancer.

Takeaway

The research for finding new cancer treatments is moving in the right direction and at a rapid pace. The number of cases of cancer is very high in the world and these medical advancements are needed. The above-mentioned treatments give hope to patients that newer and more effective treatments will be available soon.

#CancerTreatments

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