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Bone Cancer Breakthrough


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Bone cancer breakthrough was made thousands of years back. The Egyptians had discovered various forms of tumors and described them on papyrus as early as 1600 B.C. Discovery of fossilized human mummies with such tumors has confirmed the theories that bone cancer has been around for thousands of year. From Greeks like Hippocrates to Romans like Galen and Celsus, have all mentioned cancers of various forms. But the causes and understanding of bone cancer is still eluding mankind. A lot of risk factors have been identified but neither of these, point to a firm cause of bone cancer.

Bone cancer breakthroughs in current research for causes have shown that a wide variety of factors can increase your chances of acquiring bone cancer. The identified causes are as follows,

  • Trauma and repeated injury to the bone
  • Hereditary or family history of bone cancers
  • High exposure to radiating substances like ions of cobalt, nickel and carcinogens like tobacco
  • Genetic mutation in genes such as TP-53 genes
  • Physical inactivity, sudden increase in growth hormones
  • Cancers from other organs spreading to the bones

Breakthroughs in cause research have pointed out factors such as imbalance of osteoprotegerin protein and PRL-3 (phosphatase of regenerating liver-3) increase bone cancer chances. Apoptosis, chromosomes 11 and 22 translocation, Paget's disease and Li-Fraumeni syndrome are known to increase the risk of bone cancer.

Bone Cancer Breakthrough Bone cancer breakthrough in diagnosis: The breakthrough for bone cancer diagnosis came indirectly when X-rays were discovered by Wilhelm Roentgen. These are now used routinely to study bone structure and predict bone deformities or diseases. Nikola Tesla predicted rotating magnetic field which formed the basis of magnetic resonance imaging technique (MRI), which was latter invented by Edward Purcell and Felix Bloch. Raymond Damadian discovered difference in nuclear magnetic relaxation between healthy tissues and tumors. This helped in use of MRI for bone cancer diagnostics.

Rapid strides in computing technology aided the improvements in 2d and 3d imaging. As microscopes improved and introduction of electron microscopes occurred, cancer tests became easier. Miniaturization of video cameras and surgical devices like endoscopic tubes and needles along with fiber optics are a great breakthrough making bone biopsy possible. Breakthroughs in diagnostics have come through CT-Scans, Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan and then bone scans. Scientists are striving hard to find way to screen a person for bone cancer using his DNA and genetic profiling even before it occurs.

Bone cancer breakthrough in treatments: From Renaissance period to the eighteenth century scientists like Harvey, Aselli and Morgagni conducted more practical observations of the human body such as study of blood flow, blood vessels and lymphatic system. Claude Gendron, Jean Astruc and Bernard, all conducted further research, which helped mankind understand the way cancer spreads. John Hunter conducted autopsies to determine the effects of cancer. This led to conclusions, that surgery can be an effective way to remove the bone tumors.

Today surgery is carried out routinely to remove many forms of bone tumors. Advances in surgical technique have helped in simpler anesthetic procedures, smaller incisions anfile:///localbackup/Archana%20folder/cancer8/23-7-2012/bone-cancer/breakthrough.htmld easier pre and post operative care. Breakthrough in high intensity LASERs have enabled precise surgical removal of bone tumors.

Radiation therapy has come a long way ever since it was found to be effective in killing cells with DNA damage. Introduction of radio sensitizers have made it possible to concentrate radiation dosages. New techniques like conformal proton beam radiation therapy, Intra operative radiation therapy and stereotactic radiation therapy have vastly improved the survival rates of patients.

Chemotherapy was first started by use of nitrogen mustards, arsenic and folic acids. Since then chemotherapy is widely used to treat bone cancer. The introduction of drugs like antisense oligodeoxynucleotides, ifosfamid, etoposide, cisplatin, mesna, adriamycin, muramyl tri-peptite (MTP), methotrexate and leucovorin has helped combat bone cancer.

Advances in nanotechnology and targeted bone cancer therapy have helped deliver these drugs effective exactly at the spots. For example nebulised cisplatin is used to avoid over dosage and to deliver the drug directly at the tumor.

Breakthroughs have been made in post treatment areas such as treating the fractures due to bone cancer or surgical procedures. New materials have been introduced to replace natural bones with artificial bone. A lot of research is going to help improve the quality of life of bone cancer amputees by providing them technologically advanced artificial limbs.

Bone cancer breakthrough is certainly possible in the near future. Till then current generations must focus on early diagnosis and prevention of bone cancer.

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