Good news, we hope: a new approach to cancer

From The Guardian:

Scientists have opened up a new front in the war against cancer, aimed not so much at curing the disease as disarming it, so that it becomes a “manageable” condition. Just as bacteria can become resistant to antibiotics, cancers can mutate to become resistant to the drugs used to treat them, which is why when cancer metastasises (reappearing elsewhere in the body in an advanced form), it is so often fatal.

Conventional cancer treatments are based on a “shock and awe” principle of killing as many cancerous cells as possible. Researchers working at a new centre being built by the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) are focusing on developing new drugs that can be given alongside conventional treatments, and which are aimed not at killing the cancer, but at stopping its evolution into a resistant form. “What we’re really looking at here is a culture change – among cancer researchers and clinicians, and also among patients,” Professor Paul Workman, chief executive of the ICR, is quoted as saying. “We will always strive to cure cancer, but in advanced disease where that may not be possible, an evolutionary approach opens up the prospect of long- term control with a good quality of life.” 

My comment:  My father, grandfather and great-grandfather all died of cancer.  As someone who has had one serious cancer condition that involved surgery, and a second threatened one that was caught in time before it developed, I share with millions of others the fear experienced when the doctor talks about the subject.   If some of that fear is eliminated this will be good news for scores of patients.

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