Millions of dollars have gone into researching cancer prevention and cures, but even after all of the expense and effort, cancer treatment is still an uphill battle. Unfortunately, cancer is a complex set of diseases that originate from many parts of the body in different forms.
Kevin Dalby, Austin professor, has advanced the research surrounding cancer drug discovery and was recognized by the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) and the National Institutes of Health, who support his research. Here, Kevin Dalby addresses cancer's complexity by overviewing the disease's definition, treatment advancements and side effects, and the importance of funding ongoing studies.
In every lifetime, one out of every third person develops cancer, making the disease the most dangerous in developing countries. Cancer is considered an evolving illness. Rather than being a single disease, it is made up of a group of diseases. The cancer cells found in patients go through a multitude of molecular and genetic alterations that shift to make the cancer cells that scientists recognize and study today. The shifts cancer cells undergo tend to increase their aggression and lethality.
Existing treatments for cancer are successful for some, but they are ineffective for others, resulting in a win for cancer over the lives of many. The treatments available for cancer patients are not sufficient to ensure complete protection from the disease.
So why is cancer so hard to treat?
The answer becomes evident through cancer's complex characteristic evolution as well as its wide range of types. This disease is composed of more than one hundred different kinds of cancers. The cause of cancers also varies, resulting in no single one-stop treatment for all patients. All cancers respond to various therapies in unique ways.