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Prostate Cancer Prevention: Out with the Old, and in with the New?

Posted Jan 01 2010 12:00am

For those who have suffered from prostate cancer or other illnesses this past year, the well-known New Year’s Day slogan rings true:”Out with the old, and in with the new!” 

On the surface this collective wish to discard whatever happened in the last 12 months is understandable. But it doesn’t apply to everything that occurred this past year. Even in reference to certain prostate cancer scientific developments and other health advances in 2009, this slogan does not always make sense.

Take for instance the report  at the end of this past year that “U.S. researchers have found an antibody that hunts down prostate cancer cells in mice and can destroy this killer disease even in an advanced stage….”  Even though this is a tale of mice, not men, this major breakthrough is not something we should readily dismiss.

This remarkable development offers prostate cancer patients and survivors tremendous hope. After all, the antibody called F77, after injected in mice, readily bonded with prostate cancer cells more than benign cells. This initiated the direct death of prostate cancer cells in about 97% of mice with early stage cancer and 85% of the time with mice that had advanced prostate cancer. 

Of course it remains to be seen if this recent discovery can be applied to human beings. The odds are slim, as only one in ten mice experiments is applicable to humans. But it’s a great start.

Even more promising is the development this past year of “super-sensitive nanosensors” which can detect cancer biomarkers in blood for the first time, - and here we’re talking about HUMAN blood.

Scientists have been talking for decades about finding a reliable biomarker for detecting cancers of all sorts, be they prostate, ovarian, breast or lung cancer. This new discovery in 2009 may eventually detect not only cancer but other serious illnesses like heart disease.

Where would we be in the new year if we said "Out with the old, in with the new” in every respect?  If we applied that to all events in 2009, cancer research during the new year would take a giant step backward.

There’s no denying that 2009 has been a tough year economically and medically in every way. But these and other improvements should make us a lot more hopeful about our prospects for honing medical diagnoses and enhancing the quality of patients’ lives

 Let’s hope we’ll see similar developments in 2010, offering further promise of scientific progress to ease the plight of a beleaguered humanity. Through past and future technological developments we have every reason to feel optimistic at this time. Only if we rely on the past can we continue to build for the future.




Posted on January 01, 2010 in Prevention | Permalink

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