The battle to find a cure for cancer is perhaps the most significant one in modern times. Countless lives have been lost to the dreaded disease and scientists from the world over continue to work hard to find a revolutionary treatment for it. In recent years, we’ve come across various studies and developments that show promise in this regard. However, an exciting new study promises to be the most groundbreaking one and offers hope for the future.
Israeli scientists from Tel Aviv University have recently claimed they’ve created a way to treat cancer in mice that is so accurate that it’s like using “tiny scissors” to target the cells. According to them, this new treatment is a “more elegant chemotherapy” that can precisely target cancerous cells.
The researchers used a technique that is based on DNA editing tools (known as CRISPR Cas-9) to successfully kill cancerous cells while leaving the healthy ones around it.
“This is the first study in the world to prove that the CRISPR genome editing system, which works by cutting DNA, can effectively be used to treat cancer in an animal,” says Professor Dan Peer, a cancer expert from Tel Aviv University.
The scientists added that the technology has already been used in mice with success and can be used on humans within the next two years if things go to plan.
The new treatment promises to extend the life expectancy of cancer patients
The study, which was published in the journal Science Advances, focused on two of the deadliest cancers - metastatic ovarian cancer and glioblastoma, which is an aggressive type of brain cancer.
The survival rate and life expectancy in glioblastoma are generally very low. However, the study claims that the injection against glioblastoma in the research led to “inhibited tumor growth by 50 percent” and “improved survival by 30 percent.” In an ovarian tumor, the injection “increased survival by 80 percent.”
“There are no side effects, and we believe that a cancer cell treated in this way will never become active again,” further explained, adding, “This technology can extend the life expectancy of cancer patients and we hope, one day, cure the disease.”
The scientists also say that if the CRISPR genome editing technology is used then within three treatments “we can destroy a tumor” as it can “physically cut the DNA in cancerous cells, and those cells will not survive.”
New hope for cancer survivors
The most significant parts of this study perhaps are the fact that it promises no side effects while also claiming to increase the life expectancy of the patient. Even more importantly, the study asserts that a cancer cell treated this way will never become active again. If the treatment does indeed become a reality, that can be a relief to many cancer patients.
In the study, it was found that mice with cancer who received the treatment had double the life expectancy of the control group. Moreover, their survival rate was 30 percent higher. The scientists now hope to adapt this treatment so it fits humans and even personalize and customize it according to each patient as a general injection or as an injection directly into the tumor.
That being said, it remains to be seen how successful this new proposed treatment proves to be and we would have to wait before banking our hopes on it. The researchers of the study themselves admit that this technology needs to be “further developed”. However, they stress that cancer cells can be killed smoothly using this method.
This new research does indeed look promising for now and if successful, it can open new avenues for cancer treatment and investigations in the future.
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