The End of Chemotherapy?

One of my friends, her mom died from breast cancer, her tattoo is a remainder for her that her mom is still with her; for me is a remainder that there is other people suffering from chemotherapy and the effects. I always wonder if there is another way to treat cancer, is when my investigation begins.

When it comes to taming tumors, the strategy has always been fairly straightfoward. Remove the abnormal growth by any means, in the most effective way possible. The standar treatments used today has the same approach, surgery physically cuts out malignant lesions, chemotherapy agents dissolve them from within, and radiation seeks and destroys abnormally dividing cells. No one can deny that such methods work; deaths from cancer have dropped by around 20% in the U.S over the past 2 decades. But even though of the effectiveness of the method, these interventions can be just as brutal on the patient as they are on a tumor. Researchers were excited by some studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine that showed a new type of anticancer drug, which is entirely different way from chemotherapy, the patients tally up to an 83% survival rate after being treated for 2 years.

It is called ibrutinib, and it`s a potential breakthrough in treating chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) that could save patients from some effects of the chemotherapy. The experimental drug is being tested on tumors that target the body`s inmune system, such as CLL and mantle cell lymphoma (MCL).

Early work on animals showed that the experimental drug effectively shut down tumor cell division, so the researchers tested the compound on 85 CLL patients who had all tried and failed to respond to at least 2 other anticancer treatments. The patients were randomized to take on of two different doses of ibrutinib a day. Three pills of ibrutinib are taken once a day. After two years of treatment, 71% of this hard-t-treat group had responded with slower tumor growth, and at 26 months, 75% showed no additional progression of their cancer. At the end of the study period, 83% of the participants were still alive, and most of the patients only complained of diarrhea and fatigue.

“The most common thing I have heard patinets say is that it brings their disease under control and makes them feel how they did before their cancer. I have heard that at least a dozen times,” says study author Dr. John C. Byrd, the director of the division of hematology of The Ohio State Comprehensive Cancer Center.

So, could the ned of chemotherapy be near? the difference between carpet bombing and “smart bomb” strategies for leveling an enemy, targeted therapies are aimed at specific pathways that tumor cells use to thrive, blocking them in the same way that monkeying with a car`s ignition or its fuel intake, can keep it from running properly. The advantage of these precise strategies is that they leave healthy cells alon, which for patients means fewer side effects and complications.¬†For patients, these types of creative strategies could mean gentler, more tolerable cancer treatments and more years of living cancer-free.

The study was experimental and the results that suggests to be truth ( or a false positive, which would be really unfortunate but it can only be prove with more studies and more patients, and there is always chance) about the end of chemotherapy would be a great advance on the medicine area. Because there was only one variable tested, the Texas sharp shooter problem can be discarted. Wherever or not these drug works, I think we are on the right track to a most successfull and least painful treatment for cancer.

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