Researchers are reporting that they have some new technology that they can use to reduce side effects while increasing the effectiveness of cancer treatments. They are attempting to deliver the cancer drugs (presumably chemotherapy drugs) directly to tumors, while not damaging normal tissue. Most traditional chemotherapy drugs are cytotoxic (damaging to normal cells as well as tumor cells).
One of the technologies that is to be used is that of nanoparticles. They are to be used to create carbon nanotubes (CNT’s) to deliver the drugs directly to the tumor. A CNT is very small, and would be used to deliver high concentrations of chemotherapeutic drugs into cancer cells, while avoiding exposure to normal cells. This would also allow the drug to be inside the tumor cells for a longer period of time than normal.
Another technology is called non-thermal irreversible electroportation (N-TIRE). It uses electrical fields on targeted tissue to permanently open pores in tumor cell membranes to cause them to die. The heat used in this procedure is not what kills the cell, but the damage done to the tumor cell’s membrane.
Researchers are reporting that the N-TIRE strategy is giving good results in preliminary studies. They say that N-TIRE can be used safely, but that caution has to be exercised when it is used in conjunction with other treatments due to toxicity concerns.
Carbon nanotubes are theoretically a promising cancer treatment, but that more research needs to be done. The use of CNT’s in conjunction with N-TIRE can be use to treat most cancers, but that it is limited because only 2-3 cm sites can be treated at any given time. Another concern is that this combination therapy would probably be used along with conventional treatments until its efficacy can be proven.
The problem I have with this is that it is, once again, an approach that is based on killing tumor cells instead of putting the body into balance. Any approach to cancer that does not address its cause will not be a long-term solution that will give a patient the best health. This approach presumes that the body is an inert battlefield, instead of being an integrated, complex, interdependent mechanism. This blind spot in cancer research and treatment will not give the best results. It may give temporary results, but as long as the root causes of the patient’s disease are not addressed, health problems will persist.