The standard approach for chemotherapy is to apply the maximum tolerable dose of the drug or combination of drugs with the goal of eliminating the cancer tumor. But a group of researchers at Oregon State University, along with some scientists in the UK, have developed a different approach to cancer treatment, according to Science Daily. While the goal of achieving total remission of cancer remains the same, the intermediate step is to control the tumor, inhibiting its growth, and thus treating cancer as a chronic disease.
One example of how that approach works is to use two drugs used to treat ovarian cancer in tandem, paclitaxel, which attacks the cancer cells directly, and rapamycin, which inhibits the growth of cancer cells and the blood vessels that nourish them. The drugs are delivered at one-tenth to one-third of the maximum tolerable dosage using a nanoparticle delivery system that precisely hits the tumor and leaves the surrounding tissue unmolested.
The problem with standard chemotherapy is that it often has to be paused for the patient to recover from the side effects. The pause can allow the cancer time to reassert itself. The new method can be delivered continuously because the toxicity for the patient has been reduced to almost zero. It allows the patient’s natural ability to maintain health and assist in the fight against the cancer.
The research is promising and will likely be applicable to a variety of complicated and hard to treat cancers. It could constitute a new type of cancer treatment that will be easier for the patient to tolerate, as it will have fewer side effects.
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