Researchers have made impressive strides when it comes to treating cancer tumors, but until now, the treatments they have discovered only had results with some types of tumors, and not all of them. Researchers have announced that they have finally discovered a treatment that kills every single type of cancer tumor.
This extraordinary drug works to block the protein known as CD47. This protein is found in cancer tumors and essentially tells the immune system not to attack it. When the protein is blocked, the result is that the immune system goes to work to kill the cancer. In fact, this miracle drug has managed to kill every cancer tumor it has come into contact with.
Scientists discovered the treatment by watching how CD47 works in the healthy blood cells. They then discovered that cancer tumors have an extremely large amount of CD47 in them, and that’s why the immune system does not attack them. From these observations, researchers were able to produce an antibody that blocked the CD47 in the cancer cells and allowed the immune system to kill them.
It started with the discovery a few years ago that the antibody could be used to treat leukemia and different types of lymphomas, but it was only recently that researchers discovered the wide range of tumors that the antibody might be able to treat. The idea is that the survival rate of patients will depend on how much CD47 the tumors have in them.
According biologist Irving Weissman, of Stanford University School of Medicine, the researchers have shown that the antibody can either kill the tumor or slow it’s growth while preventing metastasis.
The treatment hasn’t hit the market yet as so far it has only been tested in mice, but the results were extremely promising. The treatment was tested on mice that had human ovary, breast, brain, bladder, and liver tumors implanted in them. In each of the mice that were tested, the antibody caused the immune system to attack the cancer tumor and either kill it or shrink it. The best results were on the breast cancer tumors, where the antibody completely eliminated all of them.
The treatment did have the side effect that normal healthy cells were temporarily attacked by the immune system along with the tumors, but the damage caused was minimal compared to the damage of the cancer tumors.
Weissman and his group have recently received $20 million so that they might begin to do safety tests in humans. While the antibody is still a bit away from being able to be dispensed as an official cancer treatment, the medical community couldn’t be more excited about the promise and implications that such a drug would have.