Imagine you are diagnosed with melanoma, a cancer that can be quite deadly and compared to classical treatments such as chemo therapy which has a poor record for curing the disease, your doctor can get you into a clinical trial that gives you a greater chance of survival with a new type of treatment.
Immunotherapy is all the rage in cancer treatment circles, since it offers renewed optimism for a successful cure of a particular cancer. Unfortunately, the promise of a cure sometimes comes with the side effect of the body attacking itself in ways researchers could not imagine.
While the public wants these drugs to be brought to market faster, the truth is that until we fully understand the risks of unleashing the immune system on the body, we should be very careful.
While the drug companies are hard at work looking to cash in on the next latest and greatest treatment, is there a commonality to all of this which would be a better approach to how we approach cancer? Does a true cure exist that is much less expensive than this complicated approach?
Check out this NY Times article.
Immune System, Unleashed by Cancer Therapies, Can Attack Organs
By MATT RICHTELDEC. 3, 2016
As Chuck Peal lay in a Waterbury, Conn., emergency room one Sunday in early September, doctors furiously tried to make sense of his symptoms. Mr. Peal, 61, appeared to be dying, and they were not sure why.
He slipped in and out of consciousness, his blood pressure plummeted, his potassium levels soared and his blood sugar spiked to 10 times the normal level. A doctor suspected a heart attack, but uncertainty left him urgently researching the situation on his phone.
This was not a heart attack. Mr. Peal”™s body was attacking itself, a severe reaction by his immune system that was a side effect of a seemingly miraculous cancer treatment aimed at saving his life.
In the seven weeks prior, doctors at Yale had combated Mr. Peal”™s melanoma with two of the most promising drugs in cancer treatment today. These medicines work by stimulating the immune system to attack cancer as ferociously as it does other threats, like viruses and bacteria.