Hashtag: #DiaMundialcontraelCancer (World Day Against Cancer)
Along with 14 million cancer patients and in memory of 8.2 million people who died from the disease, humanity observed the 2015 #DiaMundialcontraelCancer or World Day Against Cancer asking the same unanswered question. Is there a complete cure for cancer?
While the number of new cases according to WHO will rise to about 70% in the next few years, a complete cure for cancer remains an elusive dream. The reason is that cancer, unlike other diseases, is actually a large group of diseases that rapidly spread from the affected part to other organs of the human body. Knowledge about the causes and prevention of cancer is wide but still, after so many years of exhaustive study, researchers are still all at sea and cannot offer a complete cure for cancer.
Early detection and treatment according to WHO increased the possibility of the cure, but with 8 million cancer-related deaths and estimated 70% rise in the number of new cancer cases over the next 2 years, these methods seems inadequate. The most probable reason is the fact that not all people, due to behavioral, economic, and other factors, is health conscious or be able to avail of cancer diagnostic services.
Alternatively, cancer prevention or avoidance of physical (ultraviolet and ionizing radiation), chemical (asbestos, smoke from tobacco, etc), and biological (viruses, bacteria, etc.) carcinogens has more potential, but modification and avoidance of risk factors is another problem because it depends on age, individual lifestyle or status in life. A cure for cancer, therefore, is the most appropriate solution in reducing fatalities of this dreadful and life-damaging disease.
The institution of higher education such as universities and colleges around the world has cancer research facilities that consistently attempt to develop anti-cancer drugs. In particular, the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center or UCCCC and University of Edinburgh UK Cancer Research Centre are very active in developing a treatment for cancer.
UCCCC in 2014 finally tested OTS964, an anti-cancer drug developed in almost a decade, in rats. Anti-cancer drugs developed by UCCC before can only suppress the growth of cancer cells but OTS964 effectively killed or eradicated T-lymphokine-activated killer cell, cancer cells believed responsible for tumor growth. UCCC is now preparing for phase 1 clinical trial for OTS964 and working to crack the code behind abnormal DNA sequence responsible for the reproduction of cancer cells and develop a drug for altered DNA.
Pediatric cancer is considered a medical success story, with survival rates soaring from 20 percent to 80 percent in recent decades. In contrast, survival for 15- to 39-year-olds with cancer took a disturbing dip between 1975-1997, which puzzled scientists for many years.
The new analysis adjusts for Kaposi’s sarcoma and lymphomas, which were a consequence of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States in the 1980s and 1990s, before the widespread availability of antiretroviral therapy.
Overall 5-year survival for all cancers among children and adolescents and young adults is now 80 percent.
Researchers in University of Edinburgh UK Cancer Research Center are now ready to begin clinical trials of panRAF inhibitors, a new class of drugs targeting Src family kinases in melanoma ( the deadliest form of skin cancer) patients with BRAF inhibitors-resistant tumors. The drug is capable of halting the growth of faulty protein responsible for boosting the growth of melanomas. By targeting multiple signaling biological pathways simultaneously, panRAF inhibitors can eliminate drug-resistant cancer cells and restore the effectiveness of other cancer treatments.
The development of these promising anti-cancer drugs and implementation of pioneering techniques in cancer treatment research suggest that academic researchers are years away from discovering the ultimate cure for cancer. However, since researchers already discovered the weak points of killer cancer cells and technology is rapidly advancing, it will be sooner than expected.