Cancer and tumor treatments that do not involve surgery have been in practice for some time now. The regular non-surgical treatments involve chemotherapy, radiation therapy, Immunotherapy etc. Scientists in UK have a new method of treatment, the Caspase Independent Cell Death (CICD) which works more effectively against tumor cells and simultaneously improve immunity. This process of therapy eradicates the tumor cells entirely without a trace.
What are the existing treatments?
The traditional non-surgical methods of treatment involve processes like chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and Immunotherapy. These treatments work on the principles of tumor cell death called Apoptosis. Apoptosis is the process through which the chemicals injected into the patient activate proteins in the body called “caspases”, which leads to the death of tumor cells.
However, Apoptosis frequently fails to eliminate all cancer cells, which can lead to recurrence and other undesirable side effects due to the death of healthy cells. Although many cancer treatments operate by inducing Apoptosis, this strategy does not always work and can result in the tumor becoming more challenging to cure.
Chemotherapy is a medicinal treatment that uses strong chemicals to kill your body’s fast-growing cells. It most commonly treats cancer because cancer cells grow and proliferate significantly faster than the rest of the body’s cells. Chemotherapy medications come in a variety of forms. Chemotherapy medications treat a wide range of malignancies, either alone or in combination. It is an effective treatment for many types of cancer, but it also comes with a risk of adverse effects. Some chemotherapy side effects are minor and manageable, while others can be life-threatening.
Some common side effects of chemotherapy
- Hair loss
- Loss of appetite
- Mouth sores
- Easy bruising
Radiation therapy (also known as radiotherapy) is a cancer treatment that involves administering high doses of radiation to cancer cells in order to kill them and shrink tumors. It uses x-rays to look inside your body at low levels, such as in x-rays of your teeth or fractured bones.
By disrupting cancer cells’ DNA, radiation treatment kills or limits their growth. Cancer cells that have had their DNA damaged beyond repair will either cease proliferating or die. When damaged cells die, the body breaks them down and removes them.
Radiation therapy does not immediately kill cancer cells. It takes days or weeks of treatment before cancer cells’ DNA is broken enough to kill them. After that, cancer cells continue to die for weeks or months after radiation therapy is finished.
Common side effects of Radiation therapy:
- Hair loss
- Memory or concentration problems
- Nausea and vomiting
- Skin changes
- Blurry vision
- Tenderness in the area of treatment
Immunotherapy is a cancer treatment that boosts your immune system’s ability to fight cancer. Your immune system aids in the battle against infections and other disorders. It is made up of white blood cells as well as lymphatic organs and tissues. Immunotherapy is a sort of biological therapy that treats cancer by using compounds derived from live organisms.
The immune system recognises and destroys aberrant cells as part of its regular activity, which most likely prevents or slows the progression of many malignancies. Immune cells, for example, are sometimes seen in and surrounding tumors. TILs (tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes) are immune cells that infiltrate the tumor and indicate that the immune system is responding to it. People with TILs in their tumors have a better prognosis than those without them.
Common side effects of Immunotherapy
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Muscle or joint aches.
Caspase Independent Cell Death (CICD)
Scientists from the University of Glasgow were keen to create a better therapeutic approach that might kill cancer cells while also reducing unintended effects. Essentially, I’m looking for a way to kill cancer cells without causing Caspases to activate. As a result, CICD-based treatments were discovered.
Cancer cells die a “quiet” death when they are killed by standard treatments; that is, the immune system is not notified. When a Cancer cell dies in CICD, however, the immune system is informed by the release of chemicals known as ‘Inflammatory Proteins.’
The immune system can then attack all of the remaining tumor cells that escaped the first therapy-induced death by tracing these responses. Using lab-grown colorectal cancer cells, researchers from the University of Glasgow proved the benefits of CICD. These advantages, however, can be applied to a wide range of cancer types.
This new study implies that there may be a better technique to kill cancer cells that also activates the immune system as a side effect. Scientists must now study this theory further and, if future research confirms that it is successful, devise methods to cause this type of cell death in humans.