Cancer researchers are considering a new way of dealing with the disease. Rather than eliminating all of the cancer cells present, researchers are looking at killing most of the cells and managing the rest. In essence, striking a balance in the body with the cells. Time Magazine has a great overview of the current work.
Not all cancer cells are the same. Some cells are killed by chemotherapy while others mutate and become resistant. However...
"[Researchers] investigated whether it would be possible to find the perfect balance of chemo that would kill off enough tumor cells but not be potent enough to encourage the resistant cells to come forward." - Alice Park, Time
Lab research demonstrated treating some cancer cells with low doses chemotherapy and slowly tapering off was better at reducing the tumor than aggressive doses with some sessions skipped.
The group that got the continuous but gradually lower dose of chemo showed the best response in terms of slowing tumor growth. In up to 80% of the animals, their tumors continued to shrink to the point where they eventually didn’t need any additional chemotherapy at all. In contrast, tumors in the animals that received the standard high dose aggressive chemotherapy and those that skipped doses didn’t see their tumors shrink at all. - Alice Park, Time
I do not wish to overly simplify a very complex topic. However, I think there is an important point to be made. The traditions behind acupuncture look to find balance in the body. Nothing is ever absolute. In the past, all cancer therapies sought to eliminate all cancer cells completely. The notion that perhaps a state of balance can be achieved with cancer cells is a very "traditional eastern medicine" thought.
This signals a revolutionary way of thinking about cancer treatment, and introduces the idea that if it’s not possible to completely eliminate a tumor, which is not always possible, the next best thing is to control it. - Alice Park, Time
It is possible this kind of thinking will greatly change the way cancer is treated. It is super exciting and encouarging to see!
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