In the long-running battle against cancer, can humanity finally gain the upper hand?
Recent scientific and medical advances have added several new weapons to your arsenal, including personalized ones gene therapyartificial intelligence screening, a simple blood test, and a vaccine may soon be developed.
According to the World Health Organization, nearly 10 million people died from cancer in 2020, nearly one-sixth of the world’s total.
In advance of World Cancer Day on Saturday, here are some of the promising recent developments in the diagnosis and treatment of this disease.
Immunotherapy drugs that stimulate the immune system to track and kill cancer cellwas one of the biggest advances. cancer treatment in the last ten years.
Fewer severe side effects Immunotherapy has been more effective than chemotherapy in treating some types of cancer.
Prior to 2010, survival rates for patients with severe melanoma skin cancer were very low.
However, not all tumors respond to immunotherapy, and immunotherapy has its own side effects.
“Immunotherapy is just beginning,” said Bruno Quesnel, director of research at the French National Cancer Institute.
Pierre Santigny, an oncologist at the Léon-Bérard cancer center in France, said the different types of immunotherapy need to be combined “as intelligently as possible.”
“and immunotherapywe have raised the bar for cancer care, but we still need to take steps for all patients who are not benefiting from it,” he added.
CAR-T therapy involves harvesting T cells from an individual patient’s blood and modifying them in the laboratory.
Then the T cells that are part of it immune systemare injected into newly trained patients to target cancer cells.
Another technique, called allogeneic CAR-T, obtains cells from another healthy person.
So far, CAR-T therapy is mainly effective against some types of leukemia, and the process is still very expensive.
Computer programs using artificial intelligence (AI) have been shown to be able to distinguish between brains. breast cancer From routine scans that are more accurate than humans.
As AI research booms in various fields, we expect AI to play an increasingly important role in other ways of diagnosing cancer.
“thanks to artificial intelligencesaid Fabrice André, an oncologist at the Gustave Roussy Cancer Institute, France.
This means fewer side effects for patients and less strain on the healthcare system.
Liquid biopsy test
A liquid biopsy can detect cancer in your DNA from a simple blood test. This is easier and less invasive than traditional biopsy, which requires simple tissue.
Faster and easier tests will help doctors find and treat cancer before it spreads.
The new technique is now in use in the United States, but “there are still a lot of false positives,” Andre said.
Vaccines have long been available to prevent human papillomavirus (HPV), which causes cervical cancer, and hepatitis B, which causes liver cancer.
But after decades of unsuccessful cancer vaccine efforts, there are growing hopes that the mRNA technology developed for a COVID-19 vaccine could also lead to a breakthrough in cancer. .
The most promising is the development of vaccines that treat rather than prevent cancer.
In December, drug companies Moderna and Merck announced positive results from early trials of a personalized mRNA vaccine to treat skin cancer patients.
And last month, German pharmaceutical company BioNTech announced that 10,000 people in the UK will participate in an mRNA cancer trial. vaccination It is tailored to individual tumors.
Stephen Le Guille, head of the hospital group at France’s Curie Institute, said he was optimistic about the future. cancer process.
Ideally, “all of these approaches and novel therapies would be combined into an individualized plan for each patient,” he said.
“We have passed a milestone in our understanding of tumor cells,” he said.
“Cancer is still a challenge, but it’s progressing exponentially.”
© 2023 AFP
Quote: From Vaccines to AI: A New Weapon in the Fight Against Cancer (02/02/2023) Acquired 02/02/2023
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