Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Cancer... the tide is turning.

FTA: During the 15-year period, the cancer death rate among men dropped by 19.2 percent, mainly due to decreases in lung, prostate, and colon cancer deaths. In women, the cancer death rate fell by 11.4 percent, largely due to a drop in breast and colorectal cancer deaths.

OK, sure, a cure is still a long way off, but we've got to stop thinking about the cure for cancer as being one thing - a magic bullet - and accept that it's much more likely that we'll reduce the death rate to near zero over the course of the next couple of decades....

... or maybe we will find a magic bullet...

FTA: Scientists at Oxford University have tamed a virus so that it attacks and destroys cancer cells but does not harm healthy cells. They determined how to produce replication-competent viruses with key toxicities removed, providing a new platform for development of improved cancer treatments and better vaccines for a broad range of viral diseases.

FTA: Researchers in London have demonstrated the ability of adult stem cells from bone marrow (mesenchymal stem cells, or MSCs) to deliver a cancer-killing protein to tumors.

FTA: Therapeutic cancer vaccines received a potentially big boost this week when Seattle-based biotech company Dendreon announced that its Provenge vaccine prolonged the lives of prostate cancer patients. The success of this trial could pave the way for approval of the drug, which triggers the body's immune system to attack malignant prostate tumors.

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