The Future of Cancer Treatment
The future of cancer treatment is here and there is reason for excitement. Five major areas of treatment advances are giving new hope in the battle against cancer. Each one depends on the vital contributions of pathologists. Let’s look at each.
Personalized Medicine Knowing the unique genetic signature of a tumor, an effective therapy targeting a specific mutation can then be used. Lung and colon cancer therapy has been transformed by this understanding.
Immunotherapy Here the power of the immune system is harnessed. Using monoclonal antibodies, vaccines or nonspecific immunotherapies, the immune system can be boosted in its ability to recognize and destroy cancer.
Cell Based Therapies Immune cells are isolated, genetically re-engineered to attack the patient’s tumor then re-infused to the patient. This is already showing promising results in melanoma treatment.
Epigenetic Drugs Alterations in the proteins and machinery that support DNA (so called epigenetic modifications) have been shown to accelerate cancer growth. Drugs that target these epigenetic changes are being investigated as a new form of treatment.
Battling Metastases Cancer exerts its destructive toll through perhaps its most sinister ability…the ability to spread to other areas of the body (metastasize). We have developed a deep understanding of the molecular underpinnings of this deadly trait. In so doing, novel therapies designed to halt cancer’s spread are being developed.
Adapted from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center references.