Even when they tell us that we’re going to get better, we still all fear cancer.
In fact, those who have suffered from the disease say that the worst thing about it isn’t the treatment itself, but its side effects.
Therefore, the scientific community is looking for solutions to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy, but they must have the necessary effectiveness.
It’s not easy, especially in the case of lung cancer. However, very important progress is being made, like the developments we’ll talk about below.
However, first of all, we want to remind you of the consequences of receiving chemotherapy. Besides hair loss, which is the most well-known side effect, you can also experience:
- General malaise
- Acute pains
- Damage to other organs
This type of medication is so strong that it can harm organs that were healthy at first.
You must also take into account that there’s a cell battle going on in your body.
The evil cells must kill the good ones to survive and they concentrate all their power to do this. So, to kill the attackers, we’re forced to put healthy tissues at risk.
In this sense, scientists are looking for alternatives that reduce these drawbacks. The objective is clear: to improve the quality of life of cancer patients and survivors.
Immunotherapy: the key to reducing the side effects of chemotherapy in lung cancer patients
Knowing what we just told about good and bad cells, scientists thought that the best way to prevent side effects of chemotherapy was to strengthen the cells in good condition, instead of trying to kill the bad ones. This is called immunotherapy.
However, despite the achievements made in this area, the desired outcomes for lung cancer patients were not yet achieved.
As soon as this problem was seen, researchers studied how lung tumors behave to regrow after cancer treatment.
In the end, the investigators found that lung tumors developed barriers that prevented the drug from coming into contact with its target, while in other cases the immune system generated a kind of tolerance to it.
See also: The “Diet” to Detoxify Your Lungs
So the next question was clear. “How do we get the drug that minimizes the side effects of chemotherapy for lung cancer to dodge these obstacles?”
A team of oncologists at the Hospital 12 de Octubre in Madrid (Spain) was able to outline how to do this.
Cancer treatment no longer targets the immune system in general, but a more specific protein called PD1.
Dr. Gil Bazo, a specialist in medical oncology, explains that when this protein encounters another protein, PD-L1, and they merge with each other, the tumor doesn’t identify it as an enemy and leaves it alone.
And that’s how the drug, Pembrolizumab, which is raising so many hopes, came about.
However, it can’t be used in all cases. Its effectiveness depends on the presence of PD-L1. In order for the protein fusion to take place, its presence has to more than 51% when combining with the other protein.
The drug could control lung cancer
In other articles, we’ve talked about therapies that prolong life expectancy, even though they can’t completely destroy the tumor. The lives of these people will obviously not be asymptomatic, but the patients will live.
Also, at this point, it’s inevitable to think of conditions such as syphilis, tuberculosis, and asthma as all of them were once lethal incurable diseases. However, their status today is very different.
These and other similar conditions have disappeared or continue to be part of the sufferer’s life, but doesn’t prevent them from living fully.
Thus, in addition to alleviating the side effects of chemotherapy, the first steps are being taken towards controlling one of the most fatal tumors.
Lung cancer is very aggressive. Furthermore, its appearance is usually linked to very specific lifestyle habits that many people have a hard time quitting.
This makes it one of the most difficult types of cancer to treat and therefore one of the most deadly.
The approval of Pembrolizumab by the European Commission puts us at the starting line of an exciting journey. A race in which we, at last, have a chance of winning.
Living without giving up your dignity is always a victory.
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Aware of this, oncologists continue to focus their efforts on taking the next step. They know better than anyone that, in matters of medicine and science, the last word is never said.
In fact, we have reached this point today because scientists haven’t given up and because they haven’t accepted what is established as fixed.
Of course, they embody the best revolutionary spirit. A type of spirit that rebel when facing the “impossible”, to improve the lives of others.