It’s surprising to think that the basis for a pioneering cancer treatment lies at the bottom of the ocean but a new breakthrough to provide assistance for cancer patients suggests just that.
When it comes to prostate cancer, the course of treatment is often much different than with other types of cancer. If doctors determine cancerous cells in the prostate are at high risk for spreading, they often will operate to remove the entire prostate gland; though it may be effective, it’s an operation that leaves the patient at risk for complications like impotence or incontinence. Otherwise, if doctors think the cancer is not likely to spread, patients are placed under surveillance. They’ll be monitored frequently to make sure the cancer hasn’t grown or changed, and, even though it may not, the process can be a mentally taxing one.
Now, scientists are also considering another option. Researchers at University College London have developed a drug made from bacteria found on the ocean floor. Such bacteria converts light into energy which, in this case, is used to attack cancer cells. The drug is injected directly into the bloodstream and then activated with a laser directed at the prostate.
Of 400 men enrolled in the study, the cancer progressed in 58 percent of those under surveillance, compared with 28 percent of men who underwent the new therapy. Scientists suggested that the therapy may offer the most assistance for cancer patients who are in the mid-level range of risk.
Though the treatment still has a long way to go before it gets full approval, these are promising results that could revamp the landscape for cancer patients.