May is cancer research month, and there are some truly fascinating and groundbreaking cancer studies happening all over the world. The following are several brief summaries of recent studies and research trends, and what they could mean for the future of cancer prevention and treatment.
The Liquid Biopsy
Many research institutions are now exploring the idea that cancer can be detected early through a simple blood test. Research from a recent Johns Hopkins study revealed that by testing specific proteins in the blood, as well as DNA called circulating tumor DNA, it would be possible to detect certain types of cancer even before the patient shows any symptoms. This concept is in its early stages, but with time and continued research this method has the potential to save many lives through early cancer detection.
To read more about the study and the concept of the liquid biopsy, check out this article from the American Cancer Society.
Continued research is being conducted on Radiosensitizers, a developing type of drug that is aimed to increase cancer sensitivity to radiation therapy treatment. Dr. Bo Xu, MD, PhD at Southern Research and his team have been working on developing this drug class for more than a decade with the hope of more effectively treat cancer. This research and future drug class will be helpful in treating tumors that do not get a large supply of oxygen. These tumors, called hypoxic tumors, are difficult to treat with radiation, which makes the development of radiosensitizers so important.
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