A possible breakthrough in cancer treatment
Neurosurgeons from Duke University, a place where I once had the pleasure of studying, made a discovery that could safely be called a breakthrough. They now use this word in every other bit of medical news, in order to sensationalize it and attract the attention of the public, but in this case it seems justified.
It’s a relatively new method of combating the cells of malignant tumors. It turns out that if you modify the polio virus a certain way, it starts to provoke the immune system in such a way that it attacks the tumor.
This modified virus has a long scientific name that I won’t tire you with. The fact is that tests have been conducted since 2011 that indicate (so far preliminary) a new prospect in the fight against several types of cancer, including glioblastoma – the most frequent (15%) and aggressive form of brain tumor, whose origin in most cases is unknown.
The modified virus has already been tested on two types of tumor cells – melanoma and breast cancer.
Reacting to a specific protein, it attaches itself to the cells of tumors and attacks them. These attacks force the cells to manifest themselves in such a way that they become “visible” to the immune system.
The “awakened” immune system takes over and also attacks malignant cells. And this is not a short-term reaction, but a long immune response leading to a stop in tumor growth.
Thus, the modified virus has a dual role: it not only attacks the tumor, but also excites the cells of the immune system, which then provides a proper response to the aggressor.
Joke of the Week
“Hello, mom? Don’t worry, I’m in the hospital…”
“Joseph, you’ve been a doctor for 8 years. Please stop saying this every time you call!”