Scientists have discovered a way of making radiotherapy to becoming efficient in the oesophageal cancer care. The work involved the St. James Hospital, Trinity College Dublin, University of Hull and the Coombe Hospital. The study involved isolating and studying cancer stem cells.
The Irish-led group of researchers made a breakthrough which makes it easier to kill tumor cells as well as making radiotherapy effective to oesophageal cancer. The study was necessitated by the rise of oesophageal cancer cases in Ireland where about 390 of them are reported annually.
The disease is soaring worldwide, having risen by almost 600% in the past 30 years.
Components of the Study
Cancer stem cells were isolated and studied as they have the potential of self-renewing themselves and result in others that have tumors. The research showed that these stem cells are responsible for protecting the tumor as they aid cancer in resisting radiation as well as replenishing the tumor cells previously destroyed by treatment. Dr. Stephen Maher from the Trinity College Dublin (TCD) was the leader of this research effort.
Maher stated that going by the study findings, the stem cell populations ought to be destroyed to ensure that treatment for patients with oesophageal cancer is effective. These cells were thought to be hypothetical but now there is a way of identifying and isolating them. A synthetic miR-17 enables the cancer cells to be killed by radiation and if added to radiotherapy it will enhance its effectiveness.
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