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one can (never) cure cancer?
#3
I think most people know but to mention again I'm currently doing a PhD in nanomedicine/tissue engineering. I definitely think we take an optimistic look in OA but that's fine by me, after all it is science fiction and it's meant for enjoyment. With regards to the links I'm not impressed by sites that attempt to predict the future. It's not possible to do so with any real accuracy beyond the very near future so it's more of an exercise in wish fulfilment.

Regarding the video, I can't watch it at the moment as I am at work but it seems to be about DNA origami as a form of delivery mechanism for anti-cancer treatment. That is just one of many fields of research into different approaches to drug delivery currently going on. Professionally speaking I loathe the fact that it has been refereed to as nanobots. "Bot" implies something with robot-like capabilities i.e. environment sensing, planned behaviour, mobility and in some cases communication, energy storage/transfer etc. DNAbots and the like are complex nanoparticles for sure but they aren't robots. Naming them as such is misleading to the general public and simply provides an easy sensationalism for media outlets.

In terms of curing cancer there are plenty of advances that have helped improve survival rates over time. Hopefully this will continue and I'm optimistic about it. I'm not in cancer research but a few things that I think are quite interesting (if not promising) are:

- Drug delivery systems for conventional treatments. There are already examples of this on the market like doxorubicin. In this example a PEGylated liposome is used to increase the bioavailability of the chemotherapy agent, increasing it's lifetime and distribution in the patients body. There are scores, if not hundreds of different types of nano/microparticle delivery systems under investigation with the goal of increasing potency and reducing unwanted affects. Things like this could give rise to far better uses of current technology as well as provide treatments with more mild side effects.

- Theranostics. Tools that combine both early diagnosis with early treatment. The paper lists a few examples, a particularly cool concept I've seen presented is the use of micro-particles loaded with anti-cancer agents and a detector drug that are injected into breast tissue. The particles are designed to lie dormant and become leaky in the presence of factors over expressed by cancer cells. The anti-cancer drugs then slow down the cancer progression and the detector molecule circulates before being excreted in urine. The idea is that women could regularly check their urine in a very similar manner to a pregnancy test and if the detector molecule is present see a doctor.

- Cancer Immunotherapy. This is about as close as you're going to get for something that could qualify for the term "microbot" (if only in a very loose, still-makes-Rynn-angry manner). There are different experimental approaches but CI aims to treat cancer by programming immune cells to recognise a patients cancer. In some studies t-cells were taken from patients and genetically modified to recognise their cancer. The idea being to put these cells back into the patient and have them hunt out the cancer.

These are just three of many, many different experimental cancer treatments. Honestly it's one of the most well-funded areas of research in the world (which should show how complex a field it is). Whilst I'm not impressed with the future timeline site I do think it's chart is interesting, not for it's baseless extrapolation but because it highlights the fact that cancer treatment has been, and most likely will be, composed of incremental improvements over time. Whilst no one can predict the future it is extremely unlikely that a magic bullet will ever be found for cancer. There's not going to be a time where one treatment arrives on the scene and suddenly all is well. Rather a toolkit of diagnostics and treatments will develop that will push the survival rates up and treatment side effects down. I'm optimistic that at some point in my life time (50-60 years left hopefully) the majority of the cancers will be caught very early with cheap and easy routine check ups and will be dealt with using mild treatments with very high success rates.
OA Wish list:
  1. DNI
  2. Internal medical system
  3. A dormbot, because domestic chores suck!
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Messages In This Thread
one can (never) cure cancer? - by chris0033547 - 11-25-2014, 12:48 AM
RE: one can (never) cure cancer? - by Rynn - 11-25-2014, 03:26 AM
RE: one can (never) cure cancer? - by Rynn - 01-19-2015, 09:01 PM
RE: one can (never) cure cancer? - by Rynn - 01-19-2015, 10:37 PM
RE: one can (never) cure cancer? - by Rynn - 11-26-2014, 07:06 AM
RE: one can (never) cure cancer? - by Matterplay1 - 11-26-2014, 02:55 PM
RE: one can (never) cure cancer? - by iancampbell - 11-27-2014, 06:44 AM
RE: one can (never) cure cancer? - by Rynn - 11-28-2014, 08:57 AM
RE: one can (never) cure cancer? - by iancampbell - 11-28-2014, 09:59 AM
RE: one can (never) cure cancer? - by Rynn - 12-24-2014, 08:31 PM
RE: one can (never) cure cancer? - by Rynn - 01-04-2015, 01:07 AM
RE: one can (never) cure cancer? - by Rynn - 01-28-2015, 03:21 AM

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