In this recent article in the West Virginia University—Morgantown, WV Magazine, authors Stacey Elza and Claire Smathers shed light on new ways to fight cancer. They point out that while the “war on cancer” began under the Richard Nixon administration in the 1970s. And, that research has a long way to go. But, researchers at the West Virginia University Cancer Institute are making progress.

The Number 1 Enemy? Lung Cancer

According to West Virginia University Cancer Institute researcher Ivan Martinez, lung cancer accounts for more than 600,000 deaths in the US alone. These yearly numbers are according to 2020 statistics. It affects both males and females. Researchers consider it one of the most stubborn cancers in the world. Across the world, lung cancer is “the No. 1 killer in the world” among cancers.

Other Difficult Cancers

In addition to lung cancer, the WVU Cancer Institute is studying pancreatic and triple-negative breast cancers. They seek to determine how these cancers respond to treatment. New options include deep-diving all the way down to the molecular level—the very DNA and RNA of cancer cells. This is the cutting edge of research.

New Weapons, New Treatments

Their discoveries in how cancer cell RNA in lung cancer patients responds to radiation and other treatments opens doors to new ways of viewing and treating cancer. Messenger RNA has massively changed how vaccines for the SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19 train the body’s immune system. In the same way, RNA reactivity in cancer patients shows specific sensitivities to different treatments. This exciting recent knowledge helps the team develop better treatments for cancer patients. While it may not result in an immediate vaccine for all cancers, still, the boost to the immune system helps fight lung cancer in the trial patients.

In breast cancer patients, Sobha Kurian, an associate professor in the WVU Department of Medicine, pairs this research with currently established immunotherapy treatments to make them target cancer. Again, as a vaccine mechanism, Kurian and her colleagues believe the combination will make current treatments more potent.

The War Goes On

During each administration since Nixon declared war on cancer, the battle against this insidious disease progresses. In March 2021, President Biden shared his belief that “we’re on the cusp of some real breakthroughs across the board on cancer” when announcing the vision of his administration in this fight.

WVU is on the frontlines of the battle. To learn more, you can read the entire article here: An Old Fight with New Weapons.

If you want to be part of the fight, check out WVU Cancer Institute. If you’re in the cancer war already, we stand by you to help you find a home near to the battleground. Check out these homes near WVU Cancer Institute or other homes in Monongalia County.