According to the World Health Organization, cancer is the number one cause of death worldwide. Year after year, millions of people succumb to this deadly disease, regardless of gender, age or social status in life. Up until now, there is still no cure for cancer. Treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation remain costly, cause damaging side effects and offer no assurance. They not only target cancer cells but healthy ones as well.
Scientists from Scotland have recently discovered a cancer treatment believed to be more effective than current methods. This treatment is called I, which prompts the immune system to help destroy cancer cells. Results on lab-grown colorectal cancer cell models was successful in completely eradicating tumours and offered low-risk side effects. Can this finally be the cure to the world’s deadliest disease?
How CICD differs from other anti-cancer treatments
Most anti-cancer treatments like chemotherapy, radiation and immunotherapy use apoptosis, which is a process that activate proteins called caspases. It kills cells as a result but could not target and destroy all cancer cells, which often leads to relapses. According to Cancer Research UK’s Senior Science Information Officer Dr. Justine Alford, triggering apoptosis also makes the tumour harder to treat.
With CICD, Dr. Stephen Tait of the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute of Cancer Sciences believes it is not necessary to kill all cancer cells. He said: We elicited an immune response that then clears out the remaining tumour – in doing so eradicating the cancer.”
Although the new treatment sounds promising, the team admits further study and investigation are needed. Dr. Alford added: “Now scientists need to investigate this idea further and, if further studies confirm it is effective, develop ways to trigger this particular route of cell death in humans.” The research paper was published in Nature Cell Biology, majority funded by Cancer Research UK.
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