Only about 50 % of adults survive cancer by undergoing radical (or alternative) treatments but this statistic in itself indicates why cancer is such a dreaded disease, and also partially reveal why it is so difficult to find an adequate (and more importantly, successful) treatment of the disease.
Even though the United States has spent over $ 200 billion over the last fifty years in cancer research, it has seen a mere 5 % decrease in the cancer death rate. One reason for the inability of research to produce results that could be used to treat cancer (in all its forms) as a whole, is because of the complex genetic pathways that each of its ‘variants’ seem to possess.
However, as discouraging as this may sound (not only to cancer patients but to the medical community), a recent development which involved the complete genomic sequencing of a brain cancer cell line (also known as the U87) performed by US scientists might provide further food for thought, and could thus enable researchers to take this to the next level based on their findings.
According to the report that was published in PLoS Genetics, the research took less than a month to be completed and cost just about $ 35,000 (as opposed to the aforementioned figures).What this could mean for patients with brain cancer is that better ways to monitor, test while also preventing overtreatment (with harmful side effects) could become a reality over the next few years.
In the words of the study’s senior author Dr. Stan Nelson, a professor of human genetics and director of the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Gene Expression Shared Resource, “This is very exciting because we, as scientists, can now move forward with revealing complete cancer genomes,”