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The Modern Approach to Fighting Cancer

Update Date: Jan 10, 2020 05:12 PM EST
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The Modern Approach to Fighting Cancer
(Photo : Unsplash)

The modern approach to fighting cancer is different from past methods in a lot of ways. Whereas the past approach focused on generalized universal care, the current method of fighting cancer emphasizes highly-personalized care that is unique at the individual level.

Though there are some one-size-fits-all treatment methods that are still being used, chemotherapy and surgery, for example, these methods are now being introduced to people with cancer and their families sooner because the modern approach to fighting cancer emphasizes early detection. Since these methods are being done sooner rather than later, their success rate for combating many cancers is increasing.

The Modern Approach to Fighting Cancer Could Make it Curable

As cancer researchers and doctors have developed a more personalized approach to cancer treatment, they have found that this treatment plan could be the most promising approach for cancer treatment. Specific techniques that involve the ability to isolate specific cells  along with single cell genomics can lead to cancer treatment discoveries.  This method of being able to classify cells at the single cell resolution can lead to the identification of rare cell types and the discovery of their unique traits. 

With single cell genomics playing such a prominent role in the modern approach to fighting cancer, new techniques to fight the disease are being developed. This helps bring the world closer to cancer being a curable disease.

New Techniques to Fighting Cancer

1. Personalized Vaccines

Genetic mutations are what cause cancer. They transform healthy cells into potentially fatal tumor cells. Unfortunately, since mutations are random, the mutations present in each individual tumor can be incredibly different from each other.

This means that a one-size-fits-all approach to fighting cancer by targeting the mutations that caused it won't work. Instead, an individualized approach is necessary to develop the correct personalized vaccine for each cancer patient and their specific unique cancer-causing genetic mutations. In short, each cancer patient gets a vaccine custom-made just for them.

2. Immunotherapy

To put it simply, the immune system is responsible for keeping the body safe. It attacks bacteria and viruses to help the body prevent or fight against illness. Immunotherapy is a cancer-fighting approach that focuses on guiding, strengthening, or reengineering one's immune system or immune T-cells to fight cancer cells.

There are many methods used to help the immune system fight cancer cells including using checkpoint inhibitors, creating monoclonal antibodies, and doing CAR T-cell therapy.

3. Robot-Assisted Surgery

As mentioned above, old methods of fighting cancer aren't completely removed from the modern approach to fighting cancer. Surgery is still one of the top cancer treatments used to combat cancer today. However, there is now an upgrade to this treatment method: robot-assisted surgery.

Robot-assisted surgery is an expensive treatment for fighting cancer, but it can be highly effective and it is currently used to fight against several types of cancer including bladder cancer, kidney cancer, prostate cancer, throat cancer, and more.

What makes this form of treatment an upgrade from surgeries of the past is that robotic arms are much more precise than surgeons' hands. This increased precision can reduce blood loss during the operation and reduce the amount of pain felt after it has been completed. This can mean a shorter hospital stay after the procedure.

One downside to this treatment method besides its price is that the surgeon doing the procedure must be highly skilled.

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