Tracking down an ancient, mysterious killer

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"Three months…you have three more months to live," said the doctor to Kellie Carey, one of the many who are given death sentences by cancer. It would be an understatement to say that cancer has been around for a while since it dates all the way back to 3000 B.C., but to this present day, there are still no known cures for it. Today, cancer continues its ruthless triumph as one of the leading causes of death worldwide, accounting for 7.6 million deaths in 2008 as reported by the World Health Organization. How do we stop this merciless villain in its track? Researchers and scientists have already been fighting in a long, strenuous battle in hopes of defeating cancer for good.

Every now and then there have been breakthroughs in cancer research. Referring back to Kellie Carey's case, she was diagnosed with lung cancer and was given three months to live in 2010. She remains alive today. What saved her life? Carey underwent trials that studied "precision medicine" which are drugs targeted for a pinpointed mutation in tumors — sort of like a dart heading for the bullseye. However these drugs are not a cure, they simply put a halt to the growth of the tumor and may trigger shrinkage of the tumor which sounds great, but the tumors can develop resistance and skyrocket right back. In everyday language, this gene therapy is like a  pause button — vulnerable to being played or even fast forwarded by the tumor. With modern technology that has enabled us to fly and swim across the world, to jump on the moon and to create weapons capable of destroying this entire planet, why are we still unable to develop a cure for something that has been around for more than 5013 years? What's hindering us from winning against cancer?

Join us in the battle. Researchers, scientists and biotechs from the industry will be gathering in Boston, MA later this year to discuss about stem cell, cell and gene therapies that could potentially cure diseases such as cancer.

Comments 1

  1. Ira S. Pastor

    Unfortunately, while “smart bomb” cancer drugs make exciting stories, the rapid resistance that develops in most cases is overlooked by the media – 40+ years of saturation with the somatic mutation concept in cancer has not gotten us very far when it comes to saving lives – when more of the research community wakes up to the fact that mutations may be purely permissive when it comes to the disease, and not causative, we will begin to make real progress – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2754594/ – and cancer has been around much longer than 5,300 years – all organisms get cancer – some (amphibians, planarians, plants etc.) just deal with it differently than we do – some researchers even say cancer technically goes back over a billion years to single cell organisms like Dictyostelium, which actually use the same pathways for multi-cellularity aggregation / disaggregation that our tumors use today for growth and metastasis – we still have a lot to learn from nature

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