Cancer—a word that is powerful enough to strike fears in the brave hearts; a lethal disease that has snatched lives of countless loved ones across the world! Cancer is a synonym for death, at least that’s what most people believe. For several years, scientists, oncologists and researchers have relentlessly made efforts to unveil a permanent cure to cancer, but failed at it. After years of intensive research, a group of researchers from Johns Hopkins University found a cure that could slow down rapid division and propagation of cancer cells in our body.
Why is Cancer a Fatal Disorder?
We all know that cancer is caused by rapidly dividing cells that fail to exert control on their cell cycle. While exploring the division pattern of different cells, researchers from Johns Hopkins University discovered a new finding—
“The densely packed cancer cells secrete two proteins that signal other cells to keep away. Thus, the immune cells stay afar from the site of origin of cancer cells. After dividing for quite a time, the cells break off from their origin and float through lymph and blood vessels to other places inside the body. This is how tumors travel and establish themselves in other parts of the body”.
Why is this Finding Important?
As of now, we haven’t discovered any drugs that can prevent cancer from spreading elsewhere in the body (a process known as metastasis). Ms. Hasini Jayatilaka and her colleagues have developed a medication mix that can prevent cancer cells from transmitting messages to immune cells.
In an article published in journal ‘Nature Communications’, Ms. Jayatilaka wrote that it’s not the overall size of the primary tumor, but the tight connection between individual cells that causes cancerous cells to spread all over the body. If Senior author Denis Wirtz is to be believed, doctors and drug developers focus on making drugs that destroy the primary tumor at the site of origin. Contrary to this belief, we need to develop commercial drugs that can inhibit metastasis.
The prime focus of researchers is to produce a mixture that prevents various processes leading to metastasis at the site of origin. The new drug for cancer is a mixture of two existing powerful drugs—Reparaxin and Tocilizumab that prevents cancer cells from sending signals. The drug yielded positive results in animal models, but they’re yet to test it on human cancer patients. While Reparaxin is administered in breast cancer, Tocilizumab is used for curing ovarian cancer.
The researchers conducted this experiment on animals for eight long weeks. By the end of the experiment, the tumor didn’t reduce in size, but they successfully managed to prevent cells from spreading further. Now, they’re bent on finding ways to block the signaling pathway of cancer cells to reverse its ability to metastasize.
In any case, the new cure for cancer contributes to a promising future in cancer research. It’ll help future drug experts to develop new and different drugs for cancer.