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Latest Cancer-fighting Medical Tools

By Therealsupermum @TheRealSupermum

Latest Cancer-fighting Medical Tools

The cure for cancer is one of the most sought-after “holy grails” in the field of medicine, and though its discovery still remains on the horizon, today’s healthcare industry has recently developed a number of powerful tools to help combat this deadly disease more effectively than traditional screening methods and chemotherapy treatments.

New Preventative Measures

By using the latest advances in screening technology and genetic engineering, healthcare professionals will soon be able to treat cancers earlier and with fewer harmful side-effects. While the following treatments are still undergoing further research and testing, patients should expect to see these appear on the market within the near future.

New screening techniques for all types of cancer are frequently sought after by healthcare professionals because they need to discover a malignant tumor before it grows large enough to spread. Some types, such as lung cancer, are notoriously difficult to detect with traditional screening methods before it is too late, which is why advances in this technology will give patients a much greater chance of survival.

Fluorescent Dye as a Screening Method

One screening method currently in development comes from scientists at Purdue University, who have designed a fluorescent dye that significantly increases the visibility of malignant growths. When injected into the body, the dye attaches itself to the folic acid that several types of cancer (ovarian in particular) feed upon, enabling healthcare professionals to see tumors that are not naked to the human eye. Not only will the dye increase chances of early detection, but it will also allow surgeons to remove more cancerous tissue to reduce instances of recurrence.

Safer Cancer Treatment Drugs

Healthcare professionals also seek more effective tools to kill cancer, which is why research scientists are exploring a number of avenues that may lead to promising new cancer drugs and other treatments. Chemotherapy, while effective against many cancers, causes debilitating side effects because it damages healthy tissue. Finding a safer and more powerful treatment, then, remains the focus for cancer researchers.

One of the new cancer drugs expected to be on the market soon is Vemurafenib, which treats melanoma by targeting the genetic cell mutations found in nearly half of all patients with the disease. When tested on 675 patients with inoperable melanoma, the drug produced astonishing results when 84% of the subjects survived six months after treatment. Since melanoma is one of the most common types of cancer, this represents a great new hope for future patients.

Gene Therapy to Treat Chemotherapy-Resistant Cancers

In addition to these new cancer drugs, research scientists have also been working on a way to use the human immune system to fight against malignant cells. Some cancers, such as chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), are extremely difficult to treat because they do not respond to chemotherapy. Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania, however, are using gene therapy to program a patient’s T-cells to destroy the leukemia cells. Although the treatment produces severe flu-like symptoms, all three of the terminal patients in the study are currently doing well, which promises better odds than the half who survive due to bone marrow transplants.

While these latest cancer-fighting tools are not yet available on the market, they are producing promising results that all future healthcare workers, whether they are entering medical assistant training programs or are studying to become doctors, will be able to take advantage of when working with cancer patients.

Stephanie Crowder has been freelance writing for five years online. She’s been featured on education blogs for posts related to medical assisting programs and other health care degrees.

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