The Miracle Drug That Could Kill All Kinds Of Cancers
Researchers have discovered a single drug that they think can shrink or completely cure all human tumors. When will this be available? Have we finally kicked cancer in the butt?
Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, the article explains a new treatment based on an antibody that blocks a "do not eat" signal normally seen on tumor cells, and helps persuade the immune system to destroy the cancer cells. Its been shown to shrink or cure human breast, ovary, colon, bladder, brain, liver and prostate tumors that have been transplanted into mice.
The treatment applied, will target and block a protein called CD47, which is a marker that tells the immune system to not kill healthy blood cells. Cancers use the same protein to avoid being destroyed by the body by also strategically blocking the protein. Because of this it is possible to use one antibody to kill all types of cancer tumors.
The technique has been applied to treating lymphomas and leukemias over the years but the latest research suggests it could be used on all types of cancers. According to Irving Weissman, one of the researchers:
"What we've shown is that CD47 isn't just important on leukemias and lymphomas. It's on every single human primary tumor that we tested... We showed that even after the tumor has taken hold, the antibody can either cure the tumor or slow its growth and prevent metastasis."
Sadly, it will be some time before such a drug makes it to clinical practice. The researchers have just received a $20 million grant to move the findings from mouse studies to human safety tests.