Survival rates for advanced cancer ‘could double within a decade’, scientists say Science and technology news
The survival of people with advanced cancer could double in a decade, say scientists involved in cutting-edge research.
People could end up living much longer and more patients could be cured, according to experts from the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) and the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust.
They learn more about what they call the “cancer ecosystem,” which includes the immune system and the molecules, cells, and structures that surround tumors and help them grow.
Scientists from ICR and Royal Marsden believe they can make significant advances in areas like destruction Cancer cells, boosts the body’s power to fight disease and prevents healthy cells from being tricked into helping cancer survive.
“We recognize the fact that a cancerous lump in a patient is much more than just a ball of cancerous cells,” said Kevin Harrington, professor at ICR and consultant at Royal Marsden.
“It’s a complex ecosystem, and there are elements within that ecosystem that lend themselves to more advanced forms of targeting that give us a variety of ways to heal more patients, with fewer side effects.”
Researchers will also look further into the microscopic fragments of cancer that are released into the bloodstream to capture the disease in its earliest stages.
dr Olivia Rossanese, director of drug research at the ICR, said that while more personalized treatments are already helping people live longer, some forms of the disease remain very difficult to treat.
“We plan to open up entirely new lines of attack against cancer so that we can overcome cancer’s deadly ability to grow and become resistant to treatments,” she said.
“We want to discover better targets in tumors and in the wider ecosystem that we can target with drugs.
“We are finding powerful new ways to completely eradicate cancer proteins and discovering smarter combination treatments that attack cancer on multiple fronts.”
“Together, this three-pronged approach can deliver smarter, gentler cancer treatments and offer patients longer lives with fewer side effects.”
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The ICR has launched a five-year research strategy that its boss, Professor Kristian Helin, says hopes to “unravel and disrupt the ecosystems of cancer.”
“Research has been an engine for remarkable improvements in treatments over the past few decades,” he said.
“But we think we can go further and eradicate some cancers by targeting the ecosystems needed for their growth or by shifting the balance in favor of the immune system.”
Among other research goals, the scientists also hope to use artificial intelligence (AI) to find new ways to combine drugs or adjust their dosages to stop or slow cancer growth.