Scientists narrow down on a cure for bone marrow cancer
By Brandon & Tom
Researchers in a Stanford University lab last week had a chance accident that could lead to a definitive cure. It originally started off as an experiment to see if they could help leukaemia cells survive outside the body on a culture plate.
“We were throwing everything at them to help them survive,” said Dr Ravi Majeti of Stanford University.
Majeti had noticed that the cancer cells had started to change shape and size, they had become something called a ‘Macrophage’, a powerful immune cell that can engulf cancer cells when certain proteins are present. Mejati hopes that these cells could be used to fight against cancer in the patient’s body, being trained like bloodhounds to track and destroy the source of the signals that cancer releases.
“Because the macrophage cells came from the cancer cells, they will already carry with them the chemical signals that will identify the cancer cells, making an immune attack against the cancer more likely,” Mejati said in a further statement.
This could potentially spell an end to leukaemia and open a passageway into the research of possible cures for other cancers. This accident may be as important as that of Alexander Fleming. Scientists are doubtful that this would lead to a cure-all for cancers but could eventually be the cornerstone of our knowledge on cures for cancer, and these Stanford researchers may very well lead the vanguard in this charge against this blight on humanity.
In response to the big questions surrounding this topic, one teacher, Mrs N Hanlon of All Saints’ Academy said that there were possible connotations for other types of cancer as “They can adapt them to do other things”. When asked if it could be as significant to science as penicillin she said “absolutely, as cancer is currently one of the biggest killers.” She also said that there were ethical implications for this as “it could be a costly procedure, excluding some of those who need it but can’t afford it”. The procedure, if it were costly, could create another class boundary.
Some are concerned that it poses a risk to the person’s body. They say that it is, in effect, weaponising the body against cancer, which may have possible consequences for those undergoing this treatment.
Do you have any opinions on this?