90% of cancer deaths are due to late-stage cancer that has metastasized. Now, a team of researchers believe they have found a way to kill spreading cancer cells and increase survival.
For country singer Wade Hayes, music is his life. But a few years ago, the music almost stopped when he was suffering from severe abdominal pain and bleeding.
“I had no idea what was happening. I thought I had ingested some glass or something.” Hayes said.
Wade then went to his doctor.
“Sure enough, I had a tumor. From what I was told about it, I guess the size of an orange in my large intestine.” Hayes said.
It was stage four colon cancer. Surgery got rid of the cancer, but it came back a year later.
“There is mounting evidence that any therapeutic interventions, whether it’s surgery, a needle biopsy, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, causes the release of cancer cells into the bloodstream.” said Michael King, PhD, Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Vanderbilt University.
Professor King and his team have found an approach to stop those cancer cells in their tracks, using blood samples from metastatic cancer patients. The team injected nanoparticles coated with proteins. These nanoparticles attach to white blood cells in the study. The viable cancer cells were cleared out within two hours of the injection.
“We believe that this could benefit patients who are even at a very late stage.” King said.
Like Wade, who before this study has been cancer free for over six years. Now he works to promote new research and he believes many more people like him might be able to survive despite grim odds.