Cancer: ‘Immensely exciting’ novel treatment for developing tumours – nuclear
Gran ignored NHS checks only to be diagnosed with cancer
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In a bid to develop new treatments for cancer, a team of scientists has been looking into how radioactive material known as lead-212 could be used to fight cancer.
The researchers have developed a production process for the nuclear waste which means lead-212 could be used in a new cancer treatment referred to as targeted alpha therapy (TAT).
TAT has the ability to destroy cancer cells while minimising the damage to healthy tissue.
The hope is that this will enable doctors to be more precise with their treatment and help patients to recover quicker.
TAT isn’t the first time scientists have tried to use nuclear material to treat cancer.
The challenge has been finding a radioisotope with a half life long enough to survive production, but short enough so it doesn’t linger in the patient’s body, leading to more cancer.
Director of Health and Nuclear Medicine Nick Hanagan said his team were working “to scale the production route in order to remove the significant supply constraints”.
Meanwhile, Dr Jane Sosabowski of Queen Mary University said the research was “immensely exciting, offering a huge boost to the future of molecular radiotherapy treatment and personalised medicine in the UK”.
The UK is in a prime position to benefit from developments in the use of nuclear waste given the large supply of it in the country.
Should nuclear waste be successfully converted into treatments, there would be a bounty of potential medicinal material for the NHS to have at its disposal to treat patients.
The four most common types of cancer in the UK are lung, breast, bowel, and prostate cancer.
Cancer remains one of the country’s biggest killers behind dementia.
Bowel cancer in particular has been at the top of the news in recent weeks after campaigner Dame Deborah James announced she had entered end-of-ife care.
Dame James has been an unstoppable and inspirational force for good since her bowel cancer diagnosis in 2016.
Since then, she has raised millions of pounds for charity and worked to increase awareness of bowel cancer.
Such has been Dame James’ impact, the supermarket Marks and Spencer has announced it will add information about the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer onto its toilet roll packaging.
The main symptoms of bowel cancer are often noticed when individuals go to the toilet, one of the most noticeable is a change in bowel habit.
Other symptoms of bowel cancer include:
• Bleeding from the bottom
• Blood in poo
• Unexplained weight loss
• Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason
• A pain or lump in the abdomen.
Bowel Cancer UK add: “Most people with these symptoms don’t have bowel cancer. Other help problems can cause similar symptoms. If you have any of these, or if things just don’t feel right, go to see your GP.”
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