The best way to fight off cancer might be to strengthen the body’s immune system and help it identify and kill tumors. This field of study is known as immunotherapy, and while it’s showing promise it can be quite expensive. Now, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have developed artificial nanoparticles that should be cheaper and easier to produce.
Cancer can be a tricky foe, so the best way to fight it might not be with a direct attack, but to cut off its supply lines. One such method, known as gas embolotherapy, involves creating tiny bubbles in the tumor blood vessels, which block the blood supply and starve the cancer out. Now, researchers from China and France have found that the technique could also deal a second blow as a drug delivery system.
At the cellular level, aging and cancer are two sides of the same coin. The mechanism that limits a cell’s lifespan can be slowed down, but that can turn them cancerous, as they divide unchecked.
Cancer is one of our most persistent enemies, but while we now have advanced immune systems to fight the good fight, how did early multicellular life manage to stave it off? A genetic “kill switch” seems to have been the original weapon of choice, and now researchers at Northwestern University believe they’ve discovered a way to trigger that mechanism. This knowledge could potentially pave the way to a therapy where cancer cells commit suicide, which would be impossible for cancer cells to adapt a resistance to.
The cure for cancer might have been inside us all along – our own immune system. The trick is to give it a boost to find and destroy those rogue cells, and that’s the focus of the field of immunotherapy. To that end, a new hydrogel has been developed that can be injected directly to the site of a tumor, where it stays to slowly release its payload of immunotherapy drugs for longer.
Wearable technology that can predict cancerous growths ‘several months’ before they form are just around the corner, according to one technology expert.
Nokia’s chief says the firm is working on a scanning device that will pick up on biomarkers that indicate the conditions needed for abnormal cell growth to happen.
A number of other medical innovations have also been envisaged that will make use of ultra-fast 5G mobile internet networks in the future.
That includes remote surgery conducted from across the world, as well as ambulances that are able to transmit data to a hospital ahead of its arrival.
Tiny magnetic beads coated in sugar could help doctors to check if a cancer has spread. Once injected into the patient, the beads can be detected using a handheld magnetic wand — similar to a metal detector — and are used to identify the lymph nodes nearest to the cancer.
The lymph nodes form part of the lymphatic system, which drains fluid from tissues all over the body back into the bloodstream. If cancerous cells get into this system, the disease can then spread to other parts of the body.
The key to determining if cancer has spread is identifying the sentinel node — the lymph node that is nearest the tumour.