Biggest-ever breakthrough in pancreatic cancer, scientists claim this could lead to cure

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Those who suffer from pancreatic cancer may be in for some good news: scientists in the UK say that they are on the verge of the “biggest ever” breakthrough in the treatment of the deadly ailment.

Pancreatic cancer has been a deadly killer, bearing the worst prognosis of any common cancer, and having hardly any improvements to its treatment in 50 years of medical research. Now, that may be about to change, and sufferers of pancreatic cancer may have some relief on the horizon.

A new “two-in-one” treatment has been developed in the UK, which may cause a significant improvement in the prognosis for the disease, and if hopes for the treatment are fully realized, conceivably even lead to a cure, reported the Daily Mail.

One of the components of the “combined” treatment is immunotherapy, which involves using a drug to artificially stimulate the immune system to mount a more vigorous fight against the cancer. This drug is a “checkpoint inhibitor” which causes it to stop the proteins that are themselves blocking the immune system from attacking cancer cells. In a healthy adult, these inhibitors help prevent the immune system from becoming over-aggressive and attacking healthy cells, but in certain types of cancer, the stimulated immune system shows promising results.

The tumors caused by pancreatic cancer, however, have a thick outer shell that prevents the drug-boosted immune system from penetrating and attacking the cancer cells. This is where the second phase of the treatment comes in: a high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU), that targets the tumor with sound waves released at very specific frequencies.

Using the same destructive properties long known about in sonic vibrations keyed to specific frequencies, the treatment specifically targets the frequencies of components within the cancerous cells, causing them to vibrate and bounce with increasing force, until they finally bounce around with sufficient violence to penetrate the barrier, allowing the first drug to enter the cancerous cells and do its work.

This was used as a one-off treatment for mice, which showed a lifespan increase of over 40 percent. One researcher, Dr. Petros Mouratidis, stated that for humans this would probably lead to several months added to one’s lifespan. However, if the treatment is kept up as a continual therapy, life could be extended well past that point and possibly even lead to a cure if the treatment is able to continually neutralize the defenses of the cancerous cells.

If things continue to go well for the research-to-release pipeline, human clinical trials could be ready in two years, and it is possible that the full treatment would reportedly be ready for general public use in as soon as five years.


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