In 1971, President Richard Nixon turned the eyes of the nation to the importance of cancer research with the signing of the National Cancer Act. Here we are 43 years later, and it seems we may just be on the verge of a comprehensive cancer cure. Stanford University researchers have discovered a way to kill virtually every type of cancer cell, leaving many to declare that a miracle cancer drug is right around the corner.
The Battle Is On
Our healthy cells depend on a protein called CD47 to keep them from being preyed upon by the immune system. This protein acts as a “do not eat” signal so that healthy cells remain intact.
Unfortunately, the CD47 protein doesn’t pick sides, and is found in abundance in cancer cells, where it also acts as a shield against the immune system. The immune system bypasses harmful cancer cells, allowing them to proliferate unchecked.
Understanding the mechanisms of CD47, researchers set out to build an antibody that could block this protein, thereby allowing the immune system to destroy the cancer cells. Scientists have used this antibody to succesfully treat lymphomas and leukemias, but the most recent research indicates that the antibody’s effectiveness may just extend to all types of cancer.
Stanford University biologist Irving Weissman explained to Science Magazine:
“What we’ve shown is that CD47 isn’t just important on leukemias and lymphomas. It’s on every single human primary tumor that we tested… We showed that even after the tumor has taken hold, the antibody can either cure the tumor or slow its growth and prevent metastasis.”
Going to Market
Researchers tested on mice implanted with human breast, ovary, colon, prostate, bladder, and liver tumors, all of which responded to treatment. Thus far, side effects include the destruction of healthy cells alongside cancer cells. Remember, healthy cells contain CD47 too, and when this protein is blocked, the immune system doesn’t discriminate between good and bad.
The next step is to test this miracle cancer drug on humans. Researchers recently received a $20 million grant to test efficacy and safety. Underground Health Reporter will keep you posted on the findings!