Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Biological Therapies for a Biological Killer

"Too often Canadian discoveries have to leave our country in order to be clinically tested. But today with the announcement of the formation of BioCanRX we have the opportunity to take Canada's efforts to find cancer cures to a whole new level."
"For 50 years we have been treating people with chemotherapy and radiation therapy and it is not as good as it needs to be. Lots of people are cured but they have lots of side effects which are not very pleasant and may impair them for the rest of their lives."
"As a Canadian, I am very proud of the role our country has played and continues to play in the fight against cancer using biological therapeutic approaches."
"Biologically based cancer therapies hold the potential to be both curative and less toxic than many of our current treatment strategies. That in itself is very exciting. But what is really unique about this funding is it allows Canadian scientists to work together to develop several therapeutic strategies in parallel and then to test these both alone and in combination with each other with the goal of finding the most effective way to help our bodies' own defences fight cancer. In this case, the whole really is greater than the sum of its parts."
Dr. John Bell, scientific director, BioCanRX, national network
Dr. John bell
Dr. John Bell     | Photo Credit: P.Doyle, CP Images
Managing the health and future outcomes of Canadians diagnosed with cancer costs the Canadian economy roughly $20 billion annually. Recovery from cancer surgeries and allied protocols such as chemotherapy and radiation treatments is a long, slow progression to recouping health after cancer.
Dr. John Bell, newly named head of a new national research network for biologically based therapies thinks we can do better.

Dr. Bell is thinking of successful new therapies yet to be discovered that would have little to no side effects, capable of treating patients and having them recover from their ordeals far more quickly, to enable them to get on with their lives once again. Not only would these emerging new therapies reliant on biological bases, vastly improve quality of life, but they would have economic benefits as well.

Scientists around the globe are working on experimental biologically based therapies, and some of the results of their research are incredibly promising. A recent trial, pointed out Dr. Bell, involving immune therapy carried out in Germany performed the once-unbelievable; a patient's cancerous lung was transformed through that therapy to become once again, a perfectly normal lung, absent cancer.

Results such as this, says Dr. Bell, are "unbelievably dramatic. Our challenge is to make it happen all the time in all patients." Dr. Bell is also counting on the fact that Canada is home to scientists of internationally recognized calibre, who are busy developing potential therapies. In the process, a key challenge has been moving laboratory results into clinical therapies.

The network that Dr. Bell is set to lead is expected to usher the result of that work to patients, permitting scientists to work with one another in the creation of combinant therapies that appear the most promising as future cancer treatments. Dr. Bell is the scientist associated with the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, leading research into cancer-fighting viruses for over a decade.

Bio-therapeutics for Cancer Treatment (BioCanRX) has been initiated with a $25-million federal five-year investment, with an additional $35-million flowing from partners which include the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation, The Ottawa Hospital Foundation, the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, and other non-profits and industries.

The network is geared to bring researchers working on three primary areas of biotherapeutics for cancer treatments in touch with one another, with business and others working alongside to provide promising new cancer therapies to patients safely and quickly. Teams of social scientists are set to work with the researchers ensuring that those treatments will be affordable.

"We read in the newspapers every day of new promising drugs with price tags that make them beyond the reach of most of the population. We want our new therapies to be affordable to all Canadians", explained Dr. Bell. The therapies he makes allusion to include immune cell therapy to attack cancer, antibody therapy to prime the immune system in the fight, and oncolytic virus therapy to kill tumour cells and prime those anti-tumour immune responses.

The potential of these new therapies and their efficacy in sparing patients the dreaded side-effects of chemotherapy and radiation will conceivably lead some day in the near (dare we hope) future to a dramatic change in the medical-scientific battle against the pernicious affliction that is the disease many people refer to as 'the big C'.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

()() Follow @rheytah Tweet