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Celebrating Last Year’s Advancements in Cancer Treatments
Advancements in Cancer Treatments

Happy New Year everyone! Before we put 2018 completely behind us, I thought I’d use my first blog post of 2019 to reflect on 2018 advancements in cancer treatments. We’ve made a lot of progress in the last 12 months and cancer registrars everywhere should be proud of the part they played in contributing to these advancements!


CAR T-Cell Immunotherapy | This type of immunotherapy uses T-Cells removed from a patient’s blood and reprograms them into fighter cells that find and attack cancer. These cells are genetically modified in a laboratory and then reintroduced into the patient’s blood stream. Given only once, this treatment is referred to as “living therapy” because these cells will continue to multiply within the body, giving extended protection against cancer. CAR T-Cell immunotherapy is promising in the treatment of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia, Non-Hodgkin lymphoma and multiple myeloma. Source: cancer.net

Immunotherapy for Lung Cancer | Immunotherapy is a mode of treatment that unleashes the power of a patient’s own immune system to target cancer cells. These work by either suppressing or stimulating the immune system. Examples include cancer vaccines and Bacillus Calmette-Guerin therapy used to treat bladder cancer. Science has long held the idea that the immune system could be used against rogue cancer cells that evade detection, by boosting the body’s own defense system. In 2008, immunotherapy was used to target just a few select cancers, but in 2018 the FDA approved this treatment method for 19 different cancers. Most recently, the introduction of immunotherapy has expanded treatment options in the fight against lung cancer. Sources: cancer.net, Understanding Immunotherapy 

Treatment of Triple-Negative Breast Cancer | Triple-negative breast cancer is an aggressive cancer that does not respond to hormone treatment or human epidermal growth receptor 2 therapy and is one form of breast cancer that is often not found until it has spread to other areas of the body. Treatment is currently limited to chemotherapy agents and outcomes are not as favorable as with other types of breast cancer, but 2018 research has identified mutated genes present in those at greater risk for triple negative breast cancer. This finding will enable physicians to identify women at greater risk for developing triple negative breast cancer and for those who have it, increase the options for treatment by focusing on targeted therapy specific to these cell mutations. Source: cancer.org 


Though 2018 was a great year for advancements in cancer treatments, there are exciting treatments waiting to be discovered on the horizon. One such treatment is the introduction of liquid biopsies which may someday provide a new diagnostic tool that can detect cancer cell DNA that has been shed into the bloodstream. Looking toward the future, liquid biopsy promises to analyze more than 70 genes for a variety of cancer types from a simple blood sample. Source: cancer.org

I hope these advancements have you as hopeful as I am for the future of cancer treatments. As someone who plays a small part in this important work, I am eager to see what 2019 has in store for all of us.

What do you think were the most exciting advancements in cancer treatments last year?

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