Cancer, one of the leading causes of death. Despite its longstanding harassment of humankind, why hasn’t it been eradicated? Surely with all that technology is capable of, this disease should have disappeared along with the birth of a 3D printer. Unfortunately, cancer is not one disease but a term for diseases that exhibit the same mutated cells and therefore require many different strains of study.
- MasSpec – a device to detect early stages of cancer
Anyone can tell you the best chance of survival from cancer is early detection. The MasSpec pen, a small handheld device, is said to be able to detect cancerous tissue in 10 seconds. It works by releasing a drop of water which is then reabsorbed by the pen, and the device is plugged into a mass spectrometer, “a piece of kit that can measure the mass of thousands of chemicals every second”. This makes the pen and the kit a unit, and while the pen is quite affordable, the machine is much too expensive and bulky for it to be of practical use for every cancer patient. Scientists are trying to develop a smaller device which is not as costly.
- Keytruda – employing the body’s own immune system
Hailed as the “biggest breakthrough since chemotherapy”, Keytruda is an immunotherapy drug which stimulates the body’s immune system to fight against cancer cells. It has recently been approved for use and the first line of patients are those with metastatic lung cancer. While it might not be a standalone cure, it will potentially become a part of the holy trinity, otherwise known as the three pillars of cancer therapy which includes radiation, chemotherapy and surgery.
- Vaccines – preventative measures against the development of cancer
There are currently two known vaccines which are used commonly – HPV and Hepatitis B. Much like any other vaccine, these contain a strain of the virus and induce the production of its antibodies. These viruses are known to “cause or contribute to the development of cancer”. Another less known vaccine exists in Cuba for lung cancer and is in the midst of being made available in the States. However, due to clinical trials for the drug CimaVax, it has not been made public at this point.
- Smartphones – aiding research by running stimulations
A big part of cancer research is the amount of power and time poured into stimulations. By downloading an app, anyone can contribute to finding a cure for childhood cancer. Designed to be non-intrusive, it does not run when a smartphone’s battery is below 90% and only functions through wifi.
- Information – learning how to survive the disease
Too many people have succumbed to cancer due to alternative or holistic methods, without the proper understanding of what their disease is. While there are stories of patients recovering from cancer through non-proven methods, it would be unwise to do so without consulting with an oncologist. It is extremely important to comprehend the disease in order to combat it through informed decisions, much like the mesothelioma (mesothelioma is one of the most deadly forms of cancer) survivor from this resource.