The end of the year is a time to reflect on the past twelve months, and for a private oncologist, this often involves looking at the ways in which technological and scientific advancement has allowed them to save more lives and will help them save even more in the years that follow.
One of the most vital parts of cancer research is in diagnosis, as the sooner a cancerous lump is found, the sooner a treatment plan can be developed and the more options for treatment a person has.
With this in mind, here are some of the biggest stories in the field of oncology and cancer research over the past year, and how they help keep people alive now and in the future.
Artificial Intelligence Can Predict Which Cancer Drugs Will Work
In April 2022, Professor Udai Banerji and his team at the Institute for Cancer Research developed a prototype AI-driven test that can find drug combinations likely to be effective to treat specific patients in less than 48 hours.
The AI system works by analysing protein data from a sample of the tumour and testing it against a library of different compounds and is both more accurate and significantly faster than the current testing methods used, at least in tests on individual cancer cells and lung cancer.
Not only can this be used to see which existing treatment would work best, but it can also find potential new treatments, allowing for personalised, highly targeted treatments.
Triple Combination Kills Head And Neck Tumours
Head and neck tumours are often difficult to treat, but a triple treatment involving immunotherapy, radiotherapy and a DNA repair inhibitor can be extremely effective at stopping the growth of head and neck tumours by activating white blood cells known as “natural killers” that eliminate cancer cells themselves.
In tests on laboratory mice, the combination treatment provided greater chances of survival than any single treatment, and some mice were cured entirely.