Will there be a cure for cancer in the next 10 years?

Recently I have come across many articles stating that the cure for cancer has already been found and the pharmaceutical companies are hiding the cure so that they can prolong making their millions selling cancer treatments to those that need it. I have even come across accusations suggesting that cancer is caused by a small type of bacterium that infects the cell causing the cell to act irregular producing low amounts of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), also known as energy. Which is meant to easily be cured naturally with increasing vitamins, such as vitamin C, which is supposed to kill the bacteria. However, this is not the case at all; but, I will mention how some studies suggest that some foods can reduce our risk of developing cancer by reducing damage to our DNA.

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So, let’s try to address these issues. Now I know in some countries the pharmaceutical companies pretty much dominate the health care sector, which is evidently shown in the USA. When this occurs the pharmaceutical companies tend to have a massive influence on the drugs that are produced and the price they wish to sell their products on the market for. This leads to innocent people paying well over the odds for treatment they depend on to survive. So, in this scenario, I can understand why they people may come to terms with the idea that a cure for cancer may be hidden from the public.


But, let’s look at other countries and their health care sector, for example, the UK. Residents in the UK all have access to free health care under the National Health Service (NHS) and has been rendered one of the best health care services in the world. Due to the NHS being a free service they have to work around a tight budget and always find the cheapest medicine that can offer the same standard of treatment. So, if a cure for cancer has already been discovered, I am sure health care services like the NHS, who are not controlled by the pharmaceutical companies, would most certainly be using the cancer cure, as it would save the NHS millions, if not billions.

When focusing more on the development of cancer you tend to begin to find out why there will never be an overall cure for cancer. This is mostly due to the fact that each cancer needs to be treated different, mostly because it represents slight different aspects that respond differently to drugs. Therefore, each cancer needs to be studied and researched differently to understand why those types of cells have become cancerous.

Published in ‘Cell 2011’ an article was written called the ‘Hallmarks of Cancer: The Next Generation’, please click the link to further your reading.

This article helps explain the way cancer cells evolve certain characteristics that really gives them a boost by outcompeting the completion from the other cells around them. Furthermore, the issue usually occurs within the DNA leading to a mutation in important genes with an important function. The best way to describe it is by imagining that you have an on and off switch that tells the cell to replicate when it is on and to stop replicating when the switch is off.

To complicate this a little further, you have to rely on a machine to turn the switch on and a machine to turn the switch off. Now, just imagine that the machine that turns the switch off is not being made to a good standard because some of the instructions to make the machine is lost, and because of this it can’t turn the switch off.

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Now we have a problem if the machine turning the switch off can’t be made to function properly, or it just is not being made at all, then the cell will just keep on replicating. As these cells replicate more and more the cells begin to form a tumorous mass. But, know we are left with another issue, as the tumour gets bigger the cells to begin to develop certain characteristics that prevent the body’s immune system from destroying the cells. They can also develop more receptors that bind to growth hormone allowing them to replicate faster.

At this stage the cells are immune from undergoing apoptosis (cell suicide), they can’t be suppressed and because the tumour mass is made up of cells with different characteristics makes them extremely hard to treat with one drug. One drug may eliminate some cells allowing other cancer cells that are not affected by the drug to replicate further with less competition.  As the tumour develops further it begins to progress onto the angiogenesis stage, and starts producing blood vessels releasing cancer cells into the bloodstream leading to secondary cancers.
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As you can tell this is a very vague explanation of the development and progression of cancer, there are other ways which cancer can originate from like the on switch being broken that stops replicated proteins from being made. Plus, for a cell to become cancerous it is usually 5-6 genes that need become mutated. But it does show how it is important to understand what characters are present and what growth factors are supporting the tumour. However, as of yet, I have forgotten to mention one of the most important aspects to remember, that cancer cells are our cells. They have the same biological makeup as our other cells have, therefore any treatment or drugs that affect the survival of the cancer cells will also damage your healthy cell, which is strongly seen in chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Research is helping us to improve our understanding of cancer and many new methods are coming to rise that offer promising results within the future of cancer treatment.

Not too long ago I wrote an article about Immuno-therapy and its potential to cure certain cancers in the future. But this is only one type of future treatment; some areas are looking at epigenetics, and even growth hormones themselves.

Oh, and just to clarify the reason why some cancer cells produce a low amount of ATP, is because they don’t enter the Krebs cycle, they only carry out glycolysis, therefore, producing lactic acid as their main energy source, which is another characteristic that the cells can develop.


If you would like to further investigate this matter I have provided two review papers, please let us know what your thoughts are in the comments below.

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