Out with the old for cancer treatment?

Today is #WorldCancerDay and it strikes me that it is great to see all of the developments in cancer treatments within the scientific community.

The way in which we develop medicines is changing, and now everywhere you look you see information about ‘personalised’ or ‘precision’ medicine.

One of the areas which is being hailed as a key disease group which will be positively impacted by this shift to precision medicine is cancer.

At the moment chemotherapy is the most commonly used treatment, however, as chemo is designed to kill all cells it comes into contact with, it not only affects the cancer cells but causes damage to the immune system and kills other cells. Through this ‘all or nothing’ way of doing things, cancer sufferers’ bodies are not strong enough to fight back against the cancer or fight off other infections and diseases.  

With new methods through more precision techniques, including nanotechnology, vaccines which target T-Cells and immunotherapy, there is a new hope that cancer treatments will be vastly improved. This will be done by understanding the genetic influences behind cancer development and finding ways to better target cancer cells during treatment and leaving healthy cells untouched.

A lot of these new ways of treating cancer are in their early stages and there is still a long way to go to commercialisation and ultimately making them available to patients. The key challenges are having a regulatory landscape that is up-to-date with the new technologies, developing the right end points for clinical trials, designing those clinical trials to culminate the right evidence needed for approvals and then getting market access throughout the different countries of the World. 

In October, the Cancer Innovation Congress will bring together all of the relevant stakeholders who are working on these new treatments to discuss these challenges, so that hurdles can be overcome and promising new therapies will make it to patients sooner.

For more information on the event in London, please visit http://bit.ly/CancerInnovation

Photo by samantha celera