It is needless to mention that the tug-of-war between cancer and researchers has been growing stronger and stronger. On one side, cancer has positioned itself as a leading cause of death and on the other side, scientists have been working diligently to find out more effective cancer treatments. According to the American Cancer Society, there will be 1,735,350 estimated new diagnosed cancer cases and 609,640 cancer deaths in the United States during 2018. As a sequel to the tireless research initiatives of scientists, new treatment methodologies often spring up.
The latest one to join the cancer treatment discovery bandwagon is a team of scientists at the Genome Institute of Singapore who have recently claimed to discover a cancer treatment methodology involving negating the survival strategies adopted by a cancerous tumour.
They have revealed that in essence, cancer cells can constantly undergo evolution to overcome the treatments deployed. Elaborating further, the scientists said that in the traditional methods of cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy, the focus is on complete elimination of the cancer cells; and in response, the cells adopt survival tactics following the basic evolutionary principles, as per the laws of nature.
In their research, they found two survival tactics adopted by cancer cells against treatment. One, “playing dead”, by turning dormant; and two, by activating resistant genes that cause the spread of cancer from the primary site. Dr Ankush Sharma, a member of the research team, explained, “The cancer cells behave like chameleons, altering their gene expression and cell behaviour to overcome drug treatment”. In fact, cancer cells have historically shown to be active in finding alternative routes for evading treatment.
Apparently, the new finding could pave a way to develop processes to prevent or retard the spread of the disease. In this context, the scientists are hopeful of arriving at a solution that would at least delay the progression of the disease. And a comprehensive understanding of tumour evolution and the ability to predict the next evolutionary move of cancer cells can serve as the essential ingredients to develop an effective cancer therapy going forward, the researchers believe.