"Current Trends in Cancer Research" is a worthy example of a paper on cancer. Cancer is one disease which has so far defied all efforts to find a cure. Instead, cancer now involves so many types in different organs of the body such that medical researchers are stumped on what directions to take in the fight against cancer. However, medical science also is making determined but albeit slow progress towards ultimately finding a cure. Examples of advances in cancer research are many and the objective of this paper is to discuss some of the trends in cancer research which give a measure of hope to cancer victims.
There is the reason for this optimism as the cancerous process is now much better understood. An example is breast cancer. Medical technology has made its early detection easier and also more accurate. As we all know, new technologies combined with the use of sophisticated and more powerful computers have made detection and diagnosis a matter of course such that it is now almost taken for granted by most women. Large databases of cancer information often are now available to researchers worldwide which provide greater objectivity and consistency in the prognosis of cancer patients who often respond differently to treatment modalities. Most cancer research studies have been focused on breast cancer because of urgent advocacy by some women's groups.
Like any type of cancer, the way to defeat breast cancer is through early detection which vastly improves the prognosis of its victims and can even help to increase their survival rates. Because of these combined efforts, breast cancer is no longer a leading cause of women deaths worldwide; lung cancer is now the leading cause due to some lifestyle changes that women had undergone, such as more women smoking, drinking, the stress in the workplace and other factors like obesity and working in night shifts. Discussion Medical researchers are making steady progress in finding a cure for man's most dread and intractable diseases; there is the reason for optimism that a cure will eventually be found.
It is perhaps only a matter of time when a cure will finally be discovered. There are many courses of action or directions in which cancer research is going and some of the most promising are discussed below.
It must be noted that there is still a long way to go before a cure can be had and so one must not raise expectations so high so as not to get disappointed. Since cancer is basically a cellular process, researchers are attacking this disease via this modality. In other words, molecular biology holds the most promise because cancer is the cell division of our bodies basically gone awry. Scientists are closely looking at this tissue cell division that had gone wrong and now better understand how cancerous cells make their start.
Using breast cancer as an example, scientists now know that cancerous cells have a preference for some types of proteins and in women, the particular protein had now been identified as the HER2. Early research showed some promise that a monoclonal antibody that addresses this particular protein has slowed cancer growth considerably. The drug is known by its generic name as trastuzumab with the brand name of Herceptin. The drug works by its blocking action. There are other novels approaches being tried and one of these is nanomedicine.
This is equivalent to fighting cancer at the smallest or lowest levels of medicine that allows doctors to tailor-fit a cancer protocol treatment to a specific patient based on that patient's cancer profile. This treatment regimen is a much more precise method based not on the usual TNM staging system of determining cancers (tumour, node and metastasis) which is backward-looking or the historical approach but the newer forward-looking type of using the large computer databases that were mentioned earlier and used to precisely determine a likely outcome of the treatment. Nanomedicine is being used to detect cancer at its earliest stages (Cozzens, 2010, p.
74). Another promising approach is using genetic testing to check for mutations in human genomes. Cancer is basically a result of the wrong information used by the cell as provided by the DNA code and so scientists are using genetics to look for specific mutations in the breast cancer cells which are the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. The markers for these genes will easily indicate that a woman has a predisposition to breast cancer and so needs to take precautions to prevent it or have annual mammograms to detect cancer in its earliest stage and hence will increase the odds of successful treatment.
This approach believes cancer growth is the result of a DNA malfunction that tricks normal cells into uncontrolled growth to become cancerous. Detection of the two bad genes can be combined with detecting the presence of HER2 protein. An entirely different avenue is being pursued by other researchers who use targeted therapy by using new drugs which attack cancer cells only.
The specificity of these new drugs helps prevent killing normal cells while having an affinity for only those targeted cancer cells. The biological mechanism of these drugs is to inhibit the growth of cancerous cells by blocking certain proteins necessary for cancer to thrive. An example of this type of new drugs is the so-called anti-angiogenesis drugs which prevent the formation of new blood vessels that is a main characteristic pattern of cancerous growth. The idea is to choke off the cancer cells by preventing new blood vessels which supply blood to the tumour (Woude, 2008, p.
114). Conclusion The fight against cancer has taken off in many directions in the hope that one of these approaches can finally provide that elusive cure. However, it is equally important to prevent a culture of hype and avoid speculation that will inevitably lead to false hopes of cancer victims and their families. There are many approaches being pursued simultaneously but the ultimate objective is to keep focused and grounded on what is achievable (Ach, 2008, p.
189). It is the hope of humankind a dreaded disease like cancer can finally be wiped out like smallpox.
Ach, J. S. (2008). Nanobiotechnology, Nanomedicine and Human Enhancement. Berlin, Germany: LIT Verlag. 200 pp.
Cozzens, S. & Wetmore, J. M. (2010). Nanotechnology and the Challenges of Equity, Equality and Development. Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Springer. 380 pp.
Woude, G. F. (2008). Advances in Cancer Research, Vol. 100. London, UK: Academic Press. 252 pp.