Cancer is a very large group of different diseases which causes heavy etiopathologies. In medical terminology this disease is known as malignant neoplasm. There are different ways for diagnosing a new cancer. Most types of this medical sickness are recognized because of the appearance of special symptoms. Usually diagnosis of cancer is done either with blood tests, CT scans, endoscopy or X-ray applications.
In the last thirty years science research results in disciplines like cellular or molecular biology. Both have led to innovative and striking treatments against cancer. Especially the sequencing of the human genome and the decoding of nearly 25.000 genes reveals several molecular mechanisms of developing cancer. Genetic mutations might occur at different levels in human cells. Changes in the nucleotide sequence of genomic DNA yield in observable mutations. Nowadays modern laboratory equipment and methods are able to detect these different mutations. On the other hand in the last decade researchers worked to identify several pathways of the development of cancer cells and to find new drugs. For instance they have identified a new protein involved in the processing of drug resistance.
Breast cancer – The development of a new therapy
It is known that in the United Kingdom nearly 46.000 women developed breast cancer each year. More than two thirds of breast tumors possess estrogen receptors. These breast tumors need estrogen for growing. They can be treated with anti-estrogen drugs. Unfortunately, lots of patients are resistant to this treatment. The researchers compared DNA sequences of humans and chimpanzees in a special gene. They found that substantial differences have evolved in the two species. Based on these results the scientists designed a new therapy for breast cancer. A mechanism which is called angiogenesis is a very useful tool. That described how vessels supply blood to the cancer cells. Cancer cell growth, the inhibition of estrogen receptors or the angiogenesis are targets for new drug design.
Because of the well-known molecular mechanisms in the last decade another way of cancer diagnosis and medication is developed. Some individuals show a very high risk to suffer from cancer. Carriers of mutations were revealed by genetic testing in modern labs. Subsequently a useful therapy with cemopreventation or preventative surgery can be applied to reduce the risk of those patients. Anti-estrogen drugs and genetic testing are very useful against breast cancer. They allow women with this disease to live much longer. The resistance of these drugs is a great problem and a question for further investigations.
Pic.: Mellimage – Fotolia