Healthy Healing: New Science in Cancer Treatments
The science behind new cancer treatments being used today could be life-changing for millions of people around the world. Some of the most promising methods developed recently include proton therapy, immunotherapy, and the different inhibitors going through clinical trials. Incorporating these newer methods with some of the more conventional treatments like chemotherapy have proven to be beneficial for many patients who’ve been recently diagnosed, as well as those suffering through the advanced stages of this disease.
Understanding Proton Therapy
This type of therapy uses beams of positively charged particles instead of x-rays as a treatment for cancer. At high levels of radiation, protons have enough energy to destroy the cancer cells completely. Oncologists use proton therapy as the sole treatment, or may use it in conjunction with immunotherapy, chemotherapy, surgery, or other conventional radiation treatments. Similar to standard the x-ray, proton therapy uses a machine to project an external beam to radiate through the skin that is painless for the cancer patient. Places like the Provision Center for Proton Therapy use a pencil beam for more accurate and precise treatments.
Immunotherapy, otherwise referred to as biologic therapy, is designed to help improve the body’s natural defense system to put patients in a better position to fight off cancer. Physicians help restore or improve how the patient’s immune system functions by using substances already within the body or those fabricated in a laboratory. Oncologists and researchers are currently working to develop new immunotherapies that either treat or slow down how the cancer progresses within the body. The field of cancer immunology may not be ready to treat all forms of cancer, but it has proven to be more effective than some of the traditional techniques used individually.
Understanding Cancer Cell Inhibitors
Many patients are now benefiting from cancer treatments that focus on blocking the proteasomes from functioning properly. These inhibitors are designed to help unwanted protein build up inside the cell, causing the cancer cells to die off. Angiogenesis inhibitors aid to prevent the growth of problematic blood cells, opposed to tumor cells. PolyADP ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibiting drugs are currently being used to help patients suffering from breast and ovarian cancer. A number of patients have participated in clinical trials with different inhibitors and actually had their cancer stabilize when the drugs were used alongside chemotherapy and other proven treatments.
There certainly is excitement building around a number of the new cancer treatments that have been developing in recent years. With some of these therapies, 90 percent of terminally ill patients have gone into remission. For many of the researchers involved, the real challenge is using the technology and genetically engineered cells to treat a number of different cancers or solid cancers already embedded within the tissue.