Scholarship winners Alanna Thornton and Carolyn Simbirdi describe the impacts cancer has had on...READ MORE
New Research Shows Light at the End of the Tunnel for Future Cancer Patients : An Experimental Drug May Help Fight Severe Forms of Cancer
Two things need to happen for this world to be a good one for those suffering from mesothelioma. One, asbestos needs to be banned worldwide so that exposure to the source of mesothelioma, asbestos, does not continue to be part of our building infrastructure. Two, there needs to be a cure for those who are sick.
While the anticipated "cancer cure" is not coming anytime soon, there is hope, and some experimental studies are showing significant progress.
Take, for instance, the new "cancer shield" drugs. While still in the experimental stage, these drugs work in tandem with the patient’s own immune system in some cancers, offering a form of treatment that may not only be effective, but also less destructive than chemotherapy and other harsh treatments and surgeries.
How does it work? For years we have known that cancer cells can, and often do, exist in every person for some time; however, not every person who has cancer cells in their body develops cancer. Instead, it comes down in part to the immune system and how well a person is able to battle their cancer cells before they grow and become dangerous. White blood cells are our heroes in this case, as they are our bodies’ good cells that help us fight off cancer.
But how can some people’s white blood cells fight off cancer cells before they become cancer? It does not only have to do with how healthy a person’s immune system is or how many white blood cells they have – or any other factor such as exposure to toxins like asbestos. Instead, it also has to do with the cancer cells themselves – because different cancer cells act differently in the body, each cancer having its own plan of attack.
In fact, while many health advocates today may claim that cancer is a modern disease – and it’s certainly true that cancer rates are growing alarmingly each decade – the truth is that almost as long as we have been around, so have cancer cells and cancers. And in the centuries that both humans and cancer has been around, we have not just gotten more toxic with our pollution and dangerous carcinogens. No, cancer has also gotten smarter.
But now doctors are starting to find out how.
Turns out many cancer cells are able to bypass our immune systems by playing hide and seek. Really: cancer cells use a shield to disguise themselves from our white blood cells, thereby avoiding our bodies’ natural ability to protect itself.
But we’re not having any of that. Thanks to this recent discovery, doctors and researchers are working to find ways to break the shield. What does that mean? One day typical cancer treatments for cancers such as lung cancers won’t involve cutting, burning or chemotherapy. Instead, they will involve giving our own immune systems a helping hand, breaking down the cancer cell’s shield so our white blood cells can fight back and rid our bodies of cancer once and for all.
This is exciting news for the future of cancer treatment. And while the treatment of every cancer is different, we hope that one day this breaking down of the cancer’s shield will help us fight cancers that have few treatment options such as mesothelioma.
The day is coming. It won’t be today, won’t be tomorrow – but one day there will be better and more effective treatment options for all kinds of cancers.
That’s goal #2 and we have faith that our country’s best doctors can get us there.
As for goal #1, our lawyers are working on that, too.