Monday, April 1, 2013

The light at the end of the tunnel...


Sometimes the light is very small - very distant. But it is there. And it gets ever closer.

In this case, the light is a potential cure for cancer.

Scientists at Stanford Univerity have found a drug that has killed or shrunk every kind of cancer tumor it has been used against — a new anti-cancer weapon of remarkable potential
 
The drug blocks a protein, CD47, produced by cancer cells. The protein keeps one’s immune system from fighting cancer tumors. By disabling CD47 production, the new drug renders cancer cells vulnerable to the body’s natural immunity. 
 
Tests found that several kinds of human cancer cells transplanted into mice, including breast, ovary, colon, bladder, brain, liver, and prostate tumors were killed by the mice's immune systems.
 
“We showed that even after the tumor had taken hold, the antibody can either cure the tumor or slow its growth and prevent metastasis,” said Stanford University School of Medicine biologist Irving Weissman of in an interview with Science Magazine.
 
The research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may lead to clinical trials in humans as early as next year, according to a statement appearing on Stanford School of Medicine's website.
 
The new research is an outgrowth of earlier studies by Weissman which found that leukemia cells produce higher levels of CD47 than healthy cells, Science Magazine reported. In recent years, Weissman and colleagues discovered that blocking CD47 with an antibody cured some cases of lymphoma and leukemia in mice by stimulating the immune system to see the cancer cells as invaders.
 
But the new research goes further, Weissman said,.suggesting CD47 is important against every kind of tumor tested so far, 
 
This is spectacular news of a very small light that may eventually shine a bright new future for millions who are otherwise fated to suffer from cancer. For me, as a Fort Myers plastic surgeon, it can't happen fast enough.


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