Currently, the world as a whole must deal with so many problems. War, penury, and terminal illnesses are just some of the extreme ones. With so many new developments in technology, it is shocking that we still face numerous complications. A prevalent problem throughout the world is cancer. Unfortunately, it took the life of my god-father last summer, after a prolonged battle with a form of cancer, called Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. It is sad to say, but cancer is far too common and is the second leading cause of deaths in the United States. According to this article, only counting this year, roughly 564,000 Americans that were diagnosed with some form of cancer. This statistic made me wonder why we have not found a cure yet. If it is one of the most common killers in the United States, why is it taking so long to find a cure? Throughout history, many deadly diseases have been cured, but why has cancer failed to join that list?
According to this article, a vaccine is a type of medication that supplies immunity to a particular disease. Vaccination is created from a weakened or dead form of the organism that causes that disease. The weakened form of the disease will not cause any harm but will teach the body how to react if a living form of that organism every enters the body. Our bodies fight off foreign invaders by producing antibodies. These antibodies identify the intruders and attach themselves to fight them off. Now, one may be questioning how a weakened form of illness would help in the future. They work by providing the immune system a crash course. Basically, when our antibodies encounter a pathogen once, they will develop memory cells. These cells increase the response time of antibodies for the next time they face that particular organism, making it much harder for you to become ill from that organism. Vaccines are more or less the cure to specific pathogens.
Finding a cure for cancer is so complicated due to the uniqueness of cancer. Cancerous cells originate as normal healthy cells and then became cancerous. Because of this, our body has a hard time distinguishing healthy cells from the tainted ones. This confusion causes antibodies to attack our healthy cells along with the cancerous ones. With that being said, an experimental drug has been introduced that is believed to increase the survivability rate of those suffering from certain forms of cancer. This medication works by hindering the creation of new blood vessels in tumors, and in turn, cuts off necessary nutrients for the tumor to grow. Without tumors being able to grow, the cancerous cells can not contaminate any other cells, preventing cancer from spreading.
In an experimental study, a total of 1,253 patients with stage 4 lung cancer were selected to test the drug, called Ramucircumab. Every participant had previously been treated with chemotherapy, but their cancer was still progressing. The experimental study was conducted as a double-blind, placebo trial. Each subject was randomly assigned Ramucircumab, or a placebo. The researchers attempted to rid the experiment of third confounding variables by conducting this as the random trial, with a large sample size. The null hypothesis was that Ramucircumab would not have any affect on the survival rate of the patients. On the other hand, the alternative hypothesis was that the patients who received Ramucircumab would live longer and show signs of remission. Patients were evaluated before and after the experiment, and their results were compared to their initial assessments.
Experimental Group: Those who received Ramucircumab…
- Survived an average of 5-10 months.
- Went through a 4-5 month period in which their cancer did not worsen. This included after the trial was over (p<0·0001).
- Noticed a reduction in the size of tumors
Control Group: Those who received the placebo…
- Survived an average of 1-9 months.
- Went through a period of 0-3 months in which their cancer did not worsen. This included after the trial was over (p<0·0001).
- Rarely noticed a reduction in the size of tumors
The experimental group lived longer, suggesting that Ramucircumab increases the survival rate of cancer patients. This increase supports the alternative hypothesis that the drug is effective. Due to the large sample size, and the manner in which the study was conducted, the p value was less than 0.0001. This low value means that the results were more than likely not due to chance
By no means does this one trail prove that we can cure cancer, or prove anything for that matter; This study does prove we are getting close to the cure, and it displays signs that we can fight it. Cancer is a terrible illness and one of the biggest problems the world faces. With more and more trials, and experiments, I believe that cancer can one day be cured. Although we have not been given a treatment yet, scientists are developing medicine to help fight cancer, and are providing hope that there is a cure for cancer.