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New Discoveries Could Lead To Better Cancer Treatment

Sep 13, 2008
Cancer is one of the costliest illnesses to befall a person. Treatment can be long and arduous with many side effects. Crucial time can be wasted on waiting lists and even when effective drugs are on the market, there is no guarantee that you will receive them because it all comes down to the budget of your local health authority, unless you have private health insurance that covers you.

There are many different types of cancer and they grow and progress in different ways and react differently in each patient and with each drug. That is why a breakthrough in one cancer treatment does not mean a breakthrough in all and is a constant source of research for scientists. However, there is good news for patients and private health insurance companies alike as it looks like a breakthrough for all is imminent.

US scientists now know that the enzyme called telomerase is what gives cancer cells their immortal quality. Cancer cells are simply normal cells that have become deformed over time to a point where they grow out of control leading to the development of tumours. Telomerase is a key factor in this change and one of the factors that can make tumours resistant to main stream cancer drugs.

Researchers are currently working on finding a drug that can switch of this enzyme and allow conventional treatments to do their stuff. Once a drug has been developed it will be followed by years of testing on animals and humans before it reaches cancer patients and will need to be approved by the appropriate medical authorities before any private health insurance company would pay for it. That said, it is always good to see progress in the right direction.

In the meantime, a whole host of universities and scientists in the US have conducted one of the largest studies into brain and pancreatic cancers and have also made promising findings. Professor Kenneth Kinzler was on the team and explained to the Daily Mail that what has been found amounts to dozens of broken, missing and overactive genes that are responsible for the lethal tumours.

Some of these genes had already been found to be prevalent in tumours before but the part they played was underestimated. It has now been found that they are much more important and the other defective genes are new discoveries. So now at least the scientists have something much more concrete to work with.

They are by no means complacent and encourage people to look out for their health, eat well and do regular physical checks themselves as well as with a doctor. It is also a good idea to ensure you have some sort of private health insurance that pays for any new drugs that are approved and ensures you have the best chance possible.
A complete cancer breakthrough, in any department, is still a long way off but is a goal scientists will continually strive to reach.

Around 4,500 brain tumours are diagnosed annually in the UK and the majority of those diagnosed will die within fourteen months. Pancreatic cancer affects 7,400 every year so if this research is all it's cracked up to be, then there truly is future hope that it will become a thing of the past.
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