Tuesday, March 10, 2009

One step closer to curing cancer ...

It's being reported that British scientists have found a way to deliver anti-cancer genes to cancer cells, effectively damaging or even destroying them altogether. This is all done via nanotechnology (you know, robots so small you need a powerful microscope to even see them).

The therapy has so far only been tried out on mice, but the aim is to test it in humans within two years.

If it works in people, it would provide a highly targeted mechanism for delivering cancer-fighting gene therapy.

This is fantastic news. It's the first truly promising anti-cancer treatment I've ever heard, personally (but then I'm not exactly in the loop or anything), and despite the understandable mind-boggling complexities and difficulties, it certainly sounds worthy of keeping an eye on it.

How it works: the anti-cancer genes are packaged in very small particles that are only taken up by cancer cells, leaving healthy normal cells totally untouched. Once taken up by the cancer cells, the genes force the cells to produce a protein that can kill the cancer cells. Due to the extreme precision and efficiency of this approach compared to traditional surgical operations, this can help many more cancer patients who otherwise would be helpless with tumors that are inoperable, being too close to high-risk areas such as the brainstem or lungs or whatever.

All I can do is wish them my very best luck. Breakthroughs and advances like this are the reason I love science in the first place – it's a discipline where advancement and progress is permanent and omnipresent, where results are real and quantifiable, and the benefits to us and the world, immeasurable.


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