The Fight Against Cancer
Message from the Editor: This article is undergoing final rounds of review. We would like to know your suggestions for the paper -- on research, writing, etc. We are including one of our reviewer's comments along with this paper. Share your suggestions in our new Forum.
All of us, one time or another in our lives will be affected by cancer. Approximately 39% of us will get cancer at some time in our lives, and unfortunately 20% of us will die from it. As the numbers grow and the cases increase, scientists are working overtime in order to find the cure to end this terrible epidemic. Only recently have scientists come up with major breakthroughs in cancer research where they have theorized possible cures of certain cancers in the future. As of now, these possible leads seem to be our most promising cures for generations to come.
Reviewer: Try not to use the words “us” and “one”. I don’t believe that you can call cancer an “epidemic”.
(1) The first cure has been the most recent breakthrough in cancer research - the use of radioactive nanoparticles. Researchers at the University of Missouri have found an effective way of locating and killing secondary tumors. Secondary tumors are the most dangerous form of tumors, researchers say. Michael Lewis, associate professor of oncology at the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, says targeting secondary tumors is very important in treating patients with ongoing cancers. According to Lewis, “Depending on the type of cancer, primary tumors usually are not the cause of death for cancer patients. If a cancer metastasizes, or spreads creating hard-to-find tumors, it often becomes fatal. Having a way to identify and shrink these secondary tumors is of utmost importance when fighting to save people with these diseases.” In doing many years of research, Lewis and his team has finally come up with nanoparticles made of the radioactive form of the element lutetium covered in gold shells and targeting agents.
(Credit: Michael Lewis/University of Missouri and Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital)
Reviewer: Have a figure number and caption.
This method of cancer treatment has already proven to be successful in mice and dogs living with cancer as it seeks out tumors without targeting healthy cells, providing radio imaging. Such an advancement in cancer research will help attach to lymphoma and other advanced stage cancers, without touching healthy cells. Being able to selectively attach to cancer cells will allow greater accuracy and efficiency when killing the tumors radioactively, resulting in a much safer radiation therapy.
Reviewer: You should provide a citation of the study that you are describing somewhere in this paragraph.
(2) Although most treatments for cancer are directed toward destroying tumors, Dean Felsher, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine, believes that reforming cancer cells can be a very promising way of curing different forms of cancer. Just one change in an aggressive liver tumor is enough to eliminate them in mice in four weeks. Liver cancer is formed by a type of cell called epithelial cells, the same ones as in breast and colon cancer. The same treatment that works for liver tumors could also be used to treat the other cancers with epithelial cells. The protein Myc is the most commonly mutated oncogenes in cancer cells and the protein that Felsher’s drugs specifically target. Myc acts as a conductor at the cellular level - it is only produced when it is time for the cell to divide, too much of the protein and the cell will divide abnormally. Felsher genetically altered the Myc gene in mice so that it kept producing the protein, until he turned the gene off. With the use of antibiotic doxycycline, he was able to deactivate the gene altogether. Although this did work as long as the antibiotic was in place, as soon as he removed it the gene was turned back on and the aggressive liver cancer returned in an average of twelve weeks.
Reviewer: Have a figure number and caption.
Researchers have found that turning the Myc gene on and off has transformed a cancer cell into a cell that appears to be normal. Although it looked normal, the cells still retained their ability to be cancerous as soon as the gene was turned on. This showed why cancer is often recurring in treatments like chemotherapy and other radiation therapies. The last question researchers asked was whether or not turning off the the Myc gene would cause the cell to die or return to its normal state. To test this, Felsher and his team created a liver tumor with a green beacon marker that would be able to be detected by a very sensitive camera. Once it was injected into mice, it gave them liver cancer, as expected. After giving the mice the doxycycline, the liver tumor was eliminated. However, the green label was easily visible even after the cell reverted back to normal. Aside from the color, the cells made the correct liver proteins and looked like a normal liver cell. The green label shows that instead of killing the cell, turning off the Myc gene alters the cell and keeps it intact.
Reviewer: This argument that you make is a little unclear. You need to explain this last part more. Earlier in the paragraph, you contradicted the argument you are stating in this portion. You stated, “Although it looked normal, the cells still retained their ability to be cancerous as soon as the gene was turned on.”Here, you are saying that turning off the Myc gene alters the cell though. You should provide a citation of the study that you are describing somewhere in this paragraph. You should provide a citation of the study that you are describing somewhere in this paragraph.
Comparison of the two methods: Overall, using radioactive particles to target and cure cancer is the more efficient way to treat patients. Although the use of turning on and off the Myc gene is promising for liver and colon tumors, the epithelial cells are not found in all cancers, making it useless for the more common cancers like lung and breast. Furthermore, the use of doxycycline only stopped and eliminated the liver tumor as long as the Myc gene was off. Even as the Myc gene was off, the green label shows how the cancerous nature of the cancer is still within the cell, and it has not disappeared completely. Once the doxycycline is removed from the cell, the Myc gene gets turned on and the cancer begins to take the cell over once again, proving that the tumor has not been killed altogether. The use of radioactive nanoparticles will be able to target all cancers with better precision when delivering medicine only to the cancer cells, leaving the healthy cells untouched. In addition, the uses for this technology are endless because any faulty cell in the body could be essentially targeted in order to destroy it and prevent it from reigning havoc in the body.
Adams, Amy. "Stanford Researchers Switch off Cancer Gene; Trick Cells to Self Desruct." Eurek Alert. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 July 2013. <http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2002-07/sumc-srs070102.php>.
"Switching off Gene Turns Cancer Cell Healthy in Mice." Stanford News. Stanford University, 13 Oct. 2004. Web. 30 July 2013. <http://news.stanford.edu/news/2004/october13/med-felsher-1013.html>.
Hurst, Nathan. "MU Researchers Develop Radioactive Nanoparticles That Target Cancer Cells." University of Missouri News Bureau. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 July 2013. <http://munews.missouri.edu/news-releases/2013/0521-mu-researchers-develop-radioactive-nanoparticles-that-target-cancer-cells/>.
"Lifetime Risk of Developing or Dying from Cancer." American Cancer Society. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 July 2013. <http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancerbasics/lifetime-probability-of-developing-or-dying-from-cancer>.