Cancer in Africa is an emerging problem and in kenya its ranked as the third biggest cause of death after infectious cardiovascular diseases, accounting for 7% of overall mortality rate. The top 5 cancers in Kenya are Cervical cancer at 12.4%, breast cancer 11.8%, colorectal cancer 6.2%, chronic leukemia 5.4% and stomach cancer 5.2%. Every day, about 90 Kenyans die from cancer with many having been diagonised when the disease was already too advanced to treat.
Globally, cancer causes more deaths than HIV, TB and Malaria combined. Facilities in Kenya that offer cancer treatment are very few, the main one being Kenyatta National Hospital in the public sector. This puts lives of many cancer patients in Kenyans at risk as they struggle to get treatment using the three functional radiotherapy machines at KNH.The
However, there is great hope as a research conducted by scientists at Cardiff University in the Uk suggested a new study that they have discovered a new type of immune cell called T cell that can be used to treat a wide range of cancers compared to the currently available treatments.Although they said that the tests done are still at an early stage since its yet to be to be tested on living patients, the laboratory studies showed that the immune cells equipped with the new receptor were shoen to kill lung, skin, blood, colon, breast,prostate , ovarian, kidney and cervical cancers.
The tests conducted in the laboratory on mice and human cells suggested the world could be on the verge of replacing the current method of treating cancer. The immune system is the bodys natural defense against any kind of infection and the T Cells are essential as they are vital in in hosting an immune response against infection.They have receptors that allow them to “see” a chemical level.
While looking for unconventional and previously undiscovered ways the immune system naturally attacks the turmours, the scientists stumbled upon the T Cells that scan and the body to determine any threat and if there is any they eliminate it. In cancer immunotherapy the T Cells are removed, modified and returned into the blood of the patient to find and destroy the cancer cells. The most famous example is CAR T, a drug made by genetically engineering a patients T Cells to seek and destroy cancer.
In practical, blood is taken out of a patient, T Cells are filtered out, a harmless virus is introduced into the T cells to modify them to recognise and target the cancer cells. The modified cells are them duplicated and in vast quantities in the laboratory using the same process used to make CAR T therapies. The modified CAR T cells are then injected back into the patient. Well, lets hold our breath and wait for the results of the tests and hopefully we are able to eradicate this cancer monster.