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Category: World Pulse

Oncolytic virotherapy [3]

Oncolytic virotherapy [3]

Monotherapy with oncolytic viruses Current research on viruses indicates that malignant cell death can be caused by nearly every virus and in almost all types of tumours. The first of these studies was conducted at the end of the 1940s by Alice Moore who was the first scientist to prove that viruses had innate oncolytic properties. She did so by prescribing them to patients with a variety of different malignant tumours. In recent years, the range of studied viruses has…

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Chemotherapy [2]

Chemotherapy [2]

Chemotherapeutic agents Chemotherapeutic agents are drugs that basically affect a variety of cell cycle phases by completely or partially interrupting cell division or by destroying them. This is why they’re called cytotoxic (harmful or toxic to cells) drugs and the therapy itself, cytotoxic therapy or chemotherapy. At present several dozen chemotherapy treatments are available and every day thousands of people receive one of these therapies. Cytotoxic drugs can be used on their own (monotherapy) or in combination with other drugs…

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TNM Classification

TNM Classification

Most patients (but not all) will no doubt notice this collection of letters and additional letters or numbers in their lab results and health records. This is an international anatomically-based classification system for malignant tumours, which was devised by Pierre Denoix in the 1940s. The first TNM Classification was published in 1968 by the International Cancer Research Organization. Although doctors in Latvia are currently using the 7th edition of this classification system, the 8th edition was published on January 1,…

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Metastasis [3]

Metastasis [3]

The development of remote haematogenous metastases is the most dangerous manifestation of a tumour’s progression. However, despite extensive studies of metastases in different tissues and organs, the reasons why and how cancer cells enter the bloodstream and why metastases spread via the lymphatic or circulatory systems are still not fully understood. Why does a cancer cell feel the need to travel? What motivates it to do so? How does it choose its next home? Even in the second half of…

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Metastasis [2]

Metastasis [2]

In the majority of cases (nearly 90%), metastasis and the corruption of many organs and tissues by cancer cells is the cause of death for oncology patients. This is much more complicated than one or more nodules in the liver, lungs or brain. As a result of the metastasis, the way the body and many of its systems (metabolic and immune) function has been significantly altered. That’s also the reason why metastatic illnesses still can’t be as successfully treated as…

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Metastasis [1]

Metastasis [1]

Metastasis is the spread of tumorous cells to distant tissues and organs throughout the body. This process occurs in a number of ways – by growing directly through the natural boundaries of an organ and into a neighbouring organ or by spreading via natural cavities, via the lymphatic system or circulatory system. Opinions have changed over the years regarding this complicated process. In the beginning, cancer was believed to be a local process. As it advances, cells travel to the…

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What to look for? [Part 1]

What to look for? [Part 1]

People often ask me: “When considering cancer, what symptoms or complaints should I look for?” Unfortunately, there is no one concrete answer to this question. We currently know that there are around 200 different types of tumours, each with varying speeds of growth and progression, each with different reactions to treatment and each with a variety of prognoses. Therefore, I’ll concentrate on those complaints, which, in my experience, most people don’t usually consider significant health problems. Furthermore, this applies to…

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Quo vadis oncologia or how far to the moon?

Quo vadis oncologia or how far to the moon?

When talking about the future of oncology it’s impossible not to mention two significant historical events. On December 23, 1971, the National Cancer Act, which was signed into law by American president Richard Nixon, envisioned a multi-billion dollar “bypass budget” that was designed to forgo administrative procedures to ensure that money was spent more effectively to combat cancer and to create new methods to achieve and implement these programmes. 45 years have passed, yet people are still suffering and dying…

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How fast do tumours grow?

How fast do tumours grow?

It’s not uncommon for patients to ask me how long a malignant illness has been living their bodies and how fast it will continue to develop. Why haven’t they felt anything? Why were the test results normal? They haven’t missed any appointments with their doctor, but the diagnosis is negative – cancer! At any given moment, the number of cells, in the dividing or multiplying phase, in both tumour cells and normal tissue is quite small. If that wasn’t the…

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All that glitters is not gold.

All that glitters is not gold.

All that glitters is not gold. (National idiom) Dace Baltiņa Asoc.Prof., Dr.habil.med.        The sentiments that were stirred around the evidence-based methods in the cancer therapy and their efficiency motivated me to write this article. The most active persons, who expressed their opinions, were either anonymous bloggers or specialists from other walks of life who have never treated cancer patients. Interestingly, though, how lay people can sometimes put themselves in a capacity to know better than physicians, once…

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