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
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.