Monday, November 10, 2014– As people often complain about the conventional cancer treatment, scientists have been working to bring a better alternative. In fact, even health professionals admit that new therapeutic approaches, which can lead to better prognosis, are needed in treatment of cancer. Finally some researchers have come with a new therapeutic tool called Nanomedicine.
For years, conventionally, cancer treatment is mainly based on surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. But in recent years, promising innovations have emerged, among theminclude Nanomedicines, nano-sized capsules (billionth of a meter), which can be 70 times smaller than a red blood cell, and able to lead an active molecule to precise location of the tumor, thus sparing healthy body parts near the cancer. This new cancer treatment is really promising.
Precision, safety and effectiveness are the main goals of the researchers behind the Nanomedicines. Talking about this new therapeutic procedure, Professor Patrick Couvreur, a pioneer bio-pharmacist in the development of these tiny tablets, stated that “This avoids the often severe side effects observed in conventional chemotherapy, but also short-circuit resistance phenomena.” The world needed this new cancer treatment, some go further to say.
Ten nano-drugs are already on the market, most of which are used in oncology: Doxil or Caelyx (doxorubicin) Janssen Cilag, and Abraxane (paclitaxel), Celgene, two drugs used in the treatment of advanced breast cancer and ovarian cancer. In fact, a clinical phase 3 study is also underway in 40 European and American hospitals to evaluate the effect of doxorubicin in encapsulated form, a nano-drug, used in the treatment of liver cancer resistant to chemotherapy. According to preliminary results reported by Prof. Couvreur, 18 months patient survival would be double by using these new cancer drugs.
More Targeted Therapy less Invasive Treatments
With the constant improvement in the recent years in imaging techniques, cancer patients can also benefit from therapeutic procedures involving radiologists. According to Afshin Gangi, a specialist of interventional radiology in Strasbourg, the objective of this new cancer treatment is to “take the shortest path to the tumor” and destroy it as completely as possible, without necessarily resorting to conventional surgery.
Invasive surgery can now be replaced by thermal ablation techniques, making use of radio-frequency, laser, microwave, cryotherapy (using cold) or focused ultrasound in which the therapeuticenergy is focused on the target (the tumor) to destroy it with less damage to healthy tissue surrounding. Mainly used today in treatment of certain conditions of the kidney, liver and prostate, these techniques may also be used in the future to treat other abdominal organs as well as breast conditions, according to Dr. Gangi.
Another specialist, Dr. Albert Gelet, urologist at the University Hospital of Lyon, believe that the target treatment is a good alternative for moderately aggressive prostate cancers. It has been years that the standard treatment was total surgical removal of the prostate, leading to adverse effects:urinary incontinence, sexual disorders, and others. “With the focal therapy, it is easier to reduce urinary and sexual toxicity,” says the Doctor.
The other advantage of these new treatments is the fact they do not exclude possibility torecourse thereafter to conventional therapies – surgery and radiation – in case the cancer suddenly became more aggressive. According to Dr. Gelet, nearly 20% of prostate cancers could, in the future, be treated by these types of new cancer treatment.
Another innovation that could significantly improve the survival of some patients with cancer of the stomach or colon is to combine surgery with liquid chemotherapyin the abdominal cavity at a temperature of 42-43 °.
The technique is called CHIP (hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy), and has been used for several years in certain countries in Europe, such as France, on patients with metastases in the peritoneum, with a survival rate at 5 years of 16%. This is a good option comparing to 0% survival for patients who have not been treated with CHIP says Dr. Olivier Glehen.