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The State of Cancer and how close we are to curing it

One of the most dreadful diseases, which is a leading cause of death worldwide, is cancer. This disease can be characterized by a group of diseases and an unusual growth in various body regions. The cells in this abruptly grown region spreads and infect the other parts of the body too. Scientists and researchers have been focusing on exploring the most advanced and effective medical techniques to combat cancer. However, they are unsure about how far they have reached in their research.

Is cancer curable?

To formulate an answer to this question, one must understand the meaning of ‘cure’ and ‘remission’. Cancer is said to be cured when all its traces are eliminated from the body, and it is ensured that the disease won’t come back. It is said to be ‘remitted’ when there are no detectable signs of cancer symptoms. There are more than 200 types of cancers based on the tissue it affects. Each type of cancer is unique in terms of the region it affects and how it responds to the treatment. So, one cannot expect a single cure for any cancer. Several treatments are combined for a particular cancer patient to obtain the best results at Medanta and other multi specialty hospitals.

A few kinds of cancer like oral, cervical, colorectal and breast cancer have high cure rates via various treatments like chemotherapy, tumour surgery, hormonal therapy and radiotherapy. However, many other types of cancer are not completely cured by these techniques.

Where are we upto?

Recent researches have revealed that some cancers can be cured by empowering the immune system of the victim. However, the macrophages are incapable of eating up a few kinds of super-aggressive cancer cells. Therapeutic viruses are also a significant advancement in the field of medical science to treat cancer. Several other innovative vaccines like dendritic vaccines are used to arm the person’s dendrites with tumour-specific antigens that hunt and eradicate the concerned cancer cells. Currently, T-cell therapy is being used to treat non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Researchers are also conducting clinical trials to cure other types of cancers with this therapy.

Experts who work for Medanta and other renowned global healthcare units have developed a few monoclonal antibodies to treat cancer. Some of the monoclonal antibodies synthesized recently include Alemtuzumab, Ibritumomab tiuxetan, ado-trastuzumab emtansine and blinatumomab. Recent medical discoveries have also shown a pathway to treat lung and skin cancer through immune checkpoint inhibitors. Gene editing is a boon to the world community in terms of treating cancer that affects the cells’ genetic structure. Nanotechnology has ensured the treatment of cancer with nanoparticles with negligible side effects.

The research to realize different cancer treatment methods are going on at a fast pace with the technological expansion of medical sciences. However, a cure for a single cancer type may not work for the other one. Cancer treatment is still debatable though several promising studies are published in the media every day. Cancer may start a fight, but the victim has to finish it through confidence and power.

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