Oncology: Pancreatic Cancer. Head/Neck Cancer
What’s your favorite cancer?
I bet it isn’t pancreatic cancer.
The request queue for cancer’s pretty short. But the least popular members of this rather unpopular group of diseases may be things like the oral cancers (head and neck), pancreatic, and lung cancer. Course I haven’t taken a survey, and I bet there’re plenty of others that aren’t big favorites either. But if you DO have the bad luck to have a tumor, you want it to be at an early stage and easy to get at.
The pancreas, when it goes bad, doesn’t send off early warnings and it isn’t easy to get at. Aesthetics aside, things would probably work out much better with the pancreas if it were located on your ear. Signs of disease would be easier to spot early and snipping off the bad thing would be an outpatient procedure.
Well Mark Howard (University of Kent, School of Bioscience) hasn’t figured out a way to rotate your pancreas to your ear but he seems to be onto something equally (some would say more) exciting than a pancreas hanging off of your right ear: cancer bullets.
Dr. Howard’s “thing” is the shape of certain amino acids (peptides). He was able to figure out how to optimize their ability to lock onto (bind with) cancer cells. Hook the amino acids to the right drugs, and you have a delivery system, a “cancer bullet”.
DOES IT WORK?
You WOULD ask!
MISTER ScienceAintSoBad’s beat is science and Mark Howard is, in every sense, a scientist. But this is early in the process. It’s a remarkable accomplishment and he gets himself a ScienceAintSoBadRating of 10 which, while not a Nobel Prize, isn’t pigeon crap, either. But that doesn’t mean this’ll permanently eradicate cancers. And, if it does, it remains to be seen if it will work for everyone. Those studies haven’t been done yet.
ScienceAintSoBadFingers are crossed.Image attribution: Artwork by Robert Jaster under a Creative Commons license.