There are hundreds, if not thousands, of types and subtypes of cancer in the world today. Although treatments exist for many of these cancer types, no treatment is one-hundred percent effective yet. Researchers and physicians are constantly in pursuit of new treatment options to better eradicate cancer cells in the body.
One of the latest innovations in medical research is biomaterials. Biomaterial science involves the engineering of various medications, internal body parts like heart valves and much more. Get to know how biomaterials can be a game-changer for cancer treatments so you can look out for these technologies as they advance.
Bone Marrow and Blood Rejections Prevention
When a person has leukemia or other forms of cancer in the blood, the individual often needs blood transfusions throughout their treatment. They may also need a bone marrow transplant to recover.
The bone marrow is the part of the body responsible for creating new blood cells. As such, when a person has leukemia, their bone marrow is often affected and generating damaged or unhealthy blood cells.
Bone marrow transplants can have a significant impact on preventing leukemia relapse, but the chance of rejection is extremely high even if a match is found at all. Biomaterials technologies could help remedy these issues.
One of the various uses of biomaterials technology is to create human cells in a lab. If, for example, a biomaterials manufacturer could take use the person’s own DNA to grow stem cells and bone marrow that match that person’s unique genetics, there would be no risk of rejection. Similarly, people with rare blood types would be able to get as much blood as necessary for transfusions.
Improved Immunotherapy Techniques
While chemotherapy and radiation therapy are currently the most common treatment options for cancer, immunotherapy is on the rise. This cancer treatment aims to harness the power of the patient’s own immune system to fight the development and spread of malignant cells.
The immune system needs to be trained to do this, though, as it will not naturally attack the body’s own cells, even if they are cancerous. Immunotherapy medications introduce t-cells into the body that provide a blueprint for attacking the specific types of cells causing the person’s cancer.
This requires a great deal of coordination in that the t-cells need to be compatible with the person’s body so that the immune system will properly respond to the signals being sent. Doctors also need to be able to isolate the specific genetics of the receivers on the cancer cells so that medications can be truly effective.
All of this means that the future of cancer treatment and recovery is highly individualized and will require medications tailored to the unique genetics of the patient and their type and subtype of cancer. Biomaterials technologies can help in the development and creation of these treatments.
Using real genetic material from patients themselves or donors to develop the immunotherapy drugs, biomaterials technology will speed up the process and allow for a wider variety of treatments to be available to patients.
Potential Cancer Vaccines
One of the areas of focus in cancer research is prevention and immunization. The idea is to stop the development of certain types of cancer before they develop rather than wait for a person to develop cancer before giving them treatments.
HPV vaccines which were made available to the public in 2006 were developed to help prevent one of the primary causes of cervical cancer in women. Biomaterials research and clinical trials can help to develop similar vaccines for diseases that cause cancer as well as cancer itself.
With these possibilities in mind, you can be sure that you are at the forefront of cancer research and treatment development.