New Wave of Cancer Treatment is Here

Rabies is a very special virus. In humans, the blood-brain barrier blocks most viruses and bacteria from being able to enter the central nervous system from the blood. Despite this barrier, rabies particles actually utilize the central nervous system as a way to spread the virus along interconnected networks of nerve cells.

rabies-virus
a computerization of a rabies virus particle

Although lethal cases of rabies have become exceedingly rare, the virus has once again come into relevance in the medical field. Recently, researchers from around the world have applied rabies’ unique abilities to the raging fight against brain cancer. Although preliminary, results have proved to be promising.

cancer-brain
A cross-section of a brain with advanced cancer

Researchers have successfully created small gold particles shaped like the virus, which can infiltrate the nervous system in the same way and head to sites of brain tumors. Once a laser is shined on the sites of these gold nano-particles, the particles heat up and kill surrounding cancer cells. The treatment proved to be effective in shrinking the tumors of mice injected with cancer.

The problem with most cancer treatments today is that they are extremely debilitating to the patient. Without a way to effectively target tumor cells, treatments kill healthy cells as much as cancer cells. An extensive list of the side effects of chemo can be found here. Because of this, many people with cancer choose to get no treatment instead of receiving chemotherapy simply because of its treacherous consequences.

The method through which these gold particles are able to get into the CNS is what sets this new treatment apart. The nano-particles can heat up and kill cancer cells in the immediate area without killing healthy cells farther away. Theoretically, this eliminates many of the side effects associated with modern cancer treatments.

This being said, the new method is largely unproven. It has yet to be used on any humans, and more tests on mice are required to hone the technique. Still, you should keep posted on this topic, as it represents hope for a new and better wave of treatments against cancer. As more information becomes available, I will continue to write about it and keep you up to date as a reader.

 

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One thought on “New Wave of Cancer Treatment is Here

  1. I am currently taking Intro to Cancer course and I have been very curious about cancer treatment. It’s true that cancer treatment can be tricky because as you mentioned it may destroy all cells rather than tumor cells particularly. This new method you talk about is very interesting. I really enjoyed this article. Great job!

    Like

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