Cancer has been always more than just a health problem; for many, it was an automatic death sentence. The word Cancer causes fear and despair, to all the people who are touched by it. Many people also believe it to be the most common medical cause of death. Although that ignoble distinction goes to Ischaemic Heart Disease, that does not underscore the role of Cancer as a health problem, which claimed the life of approximately 9.6 million people in 2018.
However, all that has been mentioned above would change if the news that was first declared in January 2019, is indeed true. The news how scientists from Israel have finally been able to find a cure for cancer. This Israel cancer cure would wipe out cancer from the face of the world by 2020, the news reported. Before going into the details of that news, let us take a look at what is really at stake here?
In spite of all the publicity and widespread (mis?) information, very few people actually know what happens in cancer and this ignorance can many times cause tragedies, which could have been actually averted. The following lines would help clear some common misconceptions.
We all know that for the normal growth of an individual or even basic sustenance of life, a well-ordered planned cell division is very important. Unfortunately, sometimes things do not go according to plans and aberrations occur. Abnormal and uncontrolled division of cells, give rise to a spectrum of conditions, which in simple layman’s terms is called cancer.
This unregulated cell division can present in two different manners. In the first instance, the changes are localised in one place and distant organs are not involved. These benign tumours progress slowly and do not usually cause much concern or result in an individual’s death. In simple terms, it can be described as a localised fire. However, in some rare cases, if these tumours become massive in size, they can cause serious problems, by putting pressure on adjacent vital organs.
The second manifestation of unregulated cell division is Malignant tumours or Cancerous growth – the topic of this discussion. This variety progresses very fast and does not stay localised in one part of the body for long, finally spreading by bloodstream or lymphatic systems and involving distant organs, the typical features - which makes cancer very dangerous and gives rise to its typical devastating effects. In contrast to the previously described variety, this process resembles more like a volcano eruption.
Although the emotions associated with occurence of cancer, are usually same the world over; but this pathology presents itself across a big spectrum of symptoms and encompasses more than 100 different diseases. However, it can be categorised broadly into 4 different varieties, depending on the tissue or origin. These are – Cancer rising from cells that line the skin or the internal organs (Carcinoma), Cancer rising from connective tissue (Sarcoma), Cancer of blood cells (Leukaemia) and Cancer rising in the lymphatic system (Lymphomas).
The causes of cancer are many and hardly any harmful agent/practice has ever been excluded from its dreaded list of causative factors. Internal factors (genetic, racial, sexual predisposition), External environmental factors (exposure to radioactive elements or radiations), Work and Occupation factors (harmful dangerous chemicals exposure on job), Harmful lifestyle choices (smoking, alcoholism and other toxins), Biological agents (Helicobacter pylori, Hepatitis virus, Human papilloma virus and Epstein Barr virus) and even certain Medications, which compromises immune status, have been implicated.
A Particular news caused quite a ripple around the world when it was first reported in January 2019. The news reported that a team of scientist from Israel, has finally found a way to cure cancer and it would be ready for use by 2020. The so-called miracle cure – Mu Ta To, has been developed by – Accelerated Evolution Biotechnologies Ltd, a company established in the year 2000. It would be prudent to mention here that Mu Ta To, which stands for – multi target toxin, would use a combination of cancer targeting proteins and substance that will be poisonous only to the cancer cells, thereby destroying them without harming healthy tissues in any way.
Mu Ta To is expected to succeed where other cancer medications do not work, because of changing nature of cancer cell. However, Mu Ta To has been created, keeping in mind the changing nature of cancer cells & hence will work, where other medications fail. This new drug would be made available at a much cheaper cost than other medications used for the same purpose. The medications would have to be taken only for a few weeks and are expected to have very few side effects, compared to other cancer drugs, which can have severe adverse effects on the human body.
Within a very short span of the declaration of the good news from Israel, criticism also started to come from different parts of the globe. The chief medical officer of American Cancer Society – Len Lichtenfeld was also one of those, who were sceptic about the claim. While remaining optimistic about the future of cancer treatment, he found many flaws with the declaration.
It seems that details of the procedure have not yet been made available to any external scientific community for review & details regarding the procedure are still not available. Besides casting doubts regarding the methodology used for the experiment, he also remained sceptic regarding the practical application of experimental mouse procedure to actual human cancer patients, which would not be very easy.
Many other experts have also expressed their concern about the news and some declaring that these amounted to making false promises to the patients, raising impractical hopes. There are indeed valid reasons to take the latest development with a pinch of salt. Cancer relates to a conglomerate of different diseases, which in spite of their common pathogenesis, may behave in an entirely different manner from one another. So, a single regimen being effective for all types of cancers, that too without any collateral damage on healthy tissues, is very unlikely.
The news from January 2019, created quite a stir when it was first reported. Though the scientists of the company from Israel – Accelerated Evolution Biotechnologies Ltd, are quite optimistic and hopeful for the future, but experts around the world remain quite sceptical about the procedure. Previous experiences with false news, lack of detailed data about the research in question, concerns regarding the practicality of application in human subjects and maybe most importantly, such big declaration coming from the relatively unknown company has created quite a scepticism in the entire health community. Only time will tell if the claims made had a rational basis or not as the year 2020 is not that far away.
(Disclaimer – This article is certainly not an alternative to direct medical consultation for people who need it. This article has been presented in very simple language for people, to raise awareness in the society regarding cancer scare. Complex technical intricacies have been purposefully left out, which can be found in medical journals, for people who are interested. Finally, all the scientific details, in the majority of the research projects are never made public, till 100% success are achieved. Hopefully, the world will get some very important good news very soon.)