Lung Cancer Cells – Epigenetic Treatment May Make Malignant Lung Cancer Cells Benign
With one of the lowest five year survival rates of all cancers and the highest total deaths annually of any cancer, it is not surprising that lung carcinoma has been a focus of research in cutting edge cancer treatment. What may be surprising is that an experimental treatment currently in its early clinical tests is showing signs of success in stopping some of the most malignant cancers in their tracks with fewer side effects than chemotherapy.
There are two types of lung carcinoma: small cell (SCLC) and non small cell (NSCLC). Neither can be considered a promising diagnoses, but of the two SCLC has the worst diagnosis. Generally, by the time it is found lung carcinoma cells have migrated to the lymphatic system and beyond, seeding the cancer throughout other organs in the body. Without treatment, small cell lung cancer patients can expect only a few months of life post diagnoses.
Due to the tendency of lung cancer to metastasize, chemotherapy is widely regarded as the only effective treatment because it can go where ever the cancer can go, as it is carried by the bloodstream. Epigenetic treatment is administered in a similar manner, the largest difference being the mechanics of its effectiveness. Chemotherapy is like a shotgun aimed at all fast-growing cells in a patient’s body. While cancer cells are highly susceptible to the effects of this systemic poison, so are hair cells, bone marrow cells, intestinal cells and other fast-growing cells within the body.
The new epigenetic trial is testing the equivalent of a cancer smart-bomb. Instead of destroying the cells, it turns off the cells that make it act like cancer, growing out of control, spreading, and stealing resources needed to build real organ cells.
So far, only thirty percent of patients are responding to the treatment, but those that are have experienced outstanding results in terms of longevity for their particular cancers. Some patients who had only months to live when they entered the program are on their second year of treatment. Their x-rays and other body scans show true remission of their cancer, with lesions disappearing from lungs and livers.
While there is still much work to do, this is micro-level treatment is the most promising for destroying lung cancer cells and secondary cancers from them.