Why Isn’t There a Cure for Cancer?

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Did you know?

Everyone has cancer cells in their body—it’s only when the “c word” gets out of control that you’ve got a problem

  • Our Immune System Is Fighting of Cancer All of the Time
    • Cancer is not a single disease, but a family of related diseases
      • Cancerous cells divide without stopping & overwhelm the immune system
      • Damaged cells survive when they would normally die & leave the body
      • New cells continue to form where they are not needed
    • In the US alone cancer is the 2nd leading cause of death
      • 1 out of 2 men & 1 out of 3 women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime
      • In 2016
        • 7 million new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed
        • Roughly 595,690 people will die from cancer
      • Cancer is a genetic mutation dating back thousands of years
        • 7 Million years ago: Earliest evidence of cancer in human fossil record
          • Osteosarcoma bone cancer found in ancient human toe
        • 3000 BC: Early Egyptian historical reference to cancer
          • Egyptian scrolls state “There Is No Treatment” for breast cancer
        • 460-370 BC: Carcinoma
          • Hippocrates, Greek physician called “the Father of Medicine,” first mentions the term
        • Genetic precursors, harmful substances, & several viruses can increase the chances of having cancer
          • More than 100 known substances are carcinogenic
          • Viruses like Hepatitis, HPV, & HIV are linked to increasing the chances of some cancers
          • Less than 15% of all cancers are linked purely to heredity
            • There are over 100 different forms of cancerous diseases
          • Your diet takes a toll, too!
            • Research suggests a Western diet increases the chances of getting cancer
              • Only 25% of Chinese women get breast cancer compared to women in the US
            • “Food” for cancer cells
              • Diets high in processed food, saturated fat, red meat, & sugar act as “food” for cancer cells
            • Adding more vegetables, lean meats, & whole grains to your diet can boost your immune system and reduce your risk of cancer

In 2014 alone, $100 Billion was spent globally on cancer research

  • With all the Brilliant Minds Looking for a Cure—Why Haven’t We Found One Yet?
    • There is no single solution, drug, or therapy to the cancer conundrum
      • It’s nearly invisible to the immune system
        • Our immune system recognizes cancer cells as our own, so it doesn’t attack them
      • There isn’t an easy way to trigger cellular death
        • Different genes are responsible for different types of cancers, so each cancer requires different treatment
      • Our body is tricked into feeding cancer
        • Cancer cells contain mostly normal DNA, so blood vessels form to feed cancer tissue
      • Different cancers can form in the same part of the body
        • AKA, multiple types of breast cancer can form from breast cells
      • One type of cancer can affect multiple parts of the body
        • Called cellular metastasis
  • Advancements in DNA Research Mean We Are Entering The Golden Age of Cancer Treatment
    • One Day Detecting Cancer Will Be As Easy As Scanning A Barcode
      • New blood tests make early detection easier
        • Detect genetic mutation of proteins on the surface of blood cells
        • 5 mutations per million cells in healthy people
        • 50-100 mutations per million in cancer patients
        • Mutations signify the presence of cancer before symptoms occur

It’s kind of like how smoke signals the presence of a fire

  • Personalized Cancer Treatments Are Moving Toward Individual Cures & Away From General Treatments
    • Vaccines provoke the immune system to fight back
      • Viruses are reprogrammed to target & attach to cancer cells
      • Tricks the immune response into thinking a live virus is in the body
      • In early trials this effectively kills & removes dead cancer cells
    • Immunotherapy produces biological agents to mimic the body’s immune response
      • Biological agents that occur in the body are recreated in a laboratory
      • Injected at cancer cells to mimic the natural immune response
      • Directly affect cancer growth or help healthy cells control cancer cells
    • Targeted therapies attack the cellular mechanisms of the disease
      • Growth Signal Inhibitors: Block cellular ability to divide & multiply
      • Angiogenesis Inhibitors: Stop tumors from making new blood vessels they need to grow
        • Apoptosis Inducing Drugs: Encourage the natural process of cellular death

Doctors & scientists are working tirelessly to beat cancer—but it won’t happen tomorrow

Data Sources:

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