Some initiatives taken by medical scientists and even institutions are beginning to make significant progress in the cure for cancer.
At John Hopkins University, doctors are making spectacular advances in so far as treating advanced prostate cancer is concerned. At the University of Southampton, UK, the doctors are fighting cancer by strengthening the immune system. In Houston, Texas, a Dr. Burzynski is applying pill therapy, which is designed to replace the amino acids that he says are often missing in the blood cells of cancer patients.
While the three have not gone beyond clinical trials toward actual prescriptive cures, there are positive signs that breakthroughs are not far in coming.
For decades, men with advanced and spreading prostate cancer have been treated by cutting off the supply of testosterone or blocking its effects. In the recent experiments, however, doctors shocked the patient's tumor to death with huge amounts of testosterone.
According to Professor Sam Denmeade, from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, US, who led the study, the results are unexpected and exciting.
Other seriously ill men who are taking part in the same trial showed responses that astounded scientists. Their tumors shrunk, and the progress of their disease halted.
In the majority of the 47 participants, the levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a blood marker used to monitor prostate cancer, also dropped.
One individual whose PSA levels dropped to zero after three months showed no remaining trace of the disease after 22 cycles of treatment, said the researchers.
At the University of Southampton, which leads the UK in cancer immunology research, they are developing immunotherapy treatments that do not only destroy visible cancer cells but also seek out and eradicate hidden cancers in other parts of the body. Some cancer patients, who were previously given a few months to live, are now said to be cancer free.
Their clinical trials of drugs for advanced and terminal cancers, such as lung, skin (melanoma) and pancreatic cancers, and neuroblastoma, are reportedly showing remarkable results. Groundbreaking discoveries, such as vaccines, are moving out of the lab and reaching patients. As many as half of their patients with difficult-to-treat cancers have shown "significant improvements."
Doctors here believe that immunotherapy has the potential to treat 100 different types of cancer.
In the meantime, in Houston, Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski has started treating his patients with a drug called antineoplaston. This accordingly works as molecular switches, designed to replace the amino acids that are often missing in the blood cells of cancer patients, said the doctor.The drug, however, costs a patient $4,500 a month and has not been approved by the FDA.
Unlike the clinical trials in John Hopkins and Southampton University, his trials have not been as spectacular.