Healthcare is a field where change is as common as the leaves falling off the trees in the fall. Society has come to give little interest in what exactly has changed in this field until it affects them or a loved one directly. However, I believe I have a topic and new information on treatment advancement for a particular subject that just may be worthy of attention.
I am pretty sure we have all seen movies, television shows, or even commercials where there is a dog or some wild animal foaming at the mouth, angrily, as some poor soul cowers in fear. Now, what if I told you that a treatment similar to one given to turn Cujo back into Fido could also turn that malignant mass growing steadily inside a body into a distant memory? That is right. Apparently, scientists have conducted and completed research using Rabies treatment into a powerful potential remedy for cancer.
Are you confused or in disbelief? Let us start with a few basics. One of the reasons why some people lose their battle with cancer is because their immune system cannot identify the cancer cells. The immune system is designed to protect the body from foreign and harmful cells. However, without being able to identify the source, the immune system is fighting a battle it cannot win. This can be compared to a blindfolded child swinging aimlessly at a piñata. Chances are you may get a lucky break and strike, but when dealing with life as well as cancer, the stakes are higher than expected. Researchers have actually found a way to use Vesicular Stomatitis Virus, or VSV, to not only kill cancer cells but dispose of the molecules which allow the deadly disease to hide from the immune system. Current research proves that VSV has been found to be highly effective in killing active tumor cells. Preventing cancer from growing and spreading is one of this method’s main advantages. By creating an environment for the immune system to effectively locate the damaged cells and defend the body, while attacking and eliminating the harmful cells levels the playing field.
The act of treating cancer with viruses, which is formally known as Oncolytic Virotherapy, was first introduced in the early 1900s. A woman had the unfortunate situation of having cervical cancer and being bitten by a rabid dog. After the rabies vaccine was administered her physician, it was discovered soon after that the tumor had disappeared. Although the cancer eventually came back fatally affecting her eight years later, a scientific discovery was born. Since then, many different advances have been made, and in this day and age, the healthcare field has never been better. Scientists have now taken VSV and developed an extremely pure form of the virus. After successfully creating this concoction, they were able to infuse the virus and merge it with the INF gene. The purpose of this was to allow the virus to slip into the cancerous tumor unnoticed and be able to destroy it rapidly by multiplying itself.
Science evolves every day, whether it is via baby steps or a major breakthrough, it is always a work in progress. It is my hope that one day we will be able to look at this life-threatening disease known as cancer as we look at a common cold–non-threatening and easy to treat. Until that day comes, a warm and heartfelt thank you to all those working towards the end of cancer.
Opinion and Blog by Abraham Davis
Edited by Leigh Haugh