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Cancer Update: Can Algae Help Cure Cancer?

Cells have a predetermined lifespan under normal conditions, which requires that they reproduce every few days, weeks or months to replace the cells that naturally self-destruct in a process known as apoptosis. However, cancer cells do not contain the genetic codes necessary for planned self-destruction to occur. They continue living, growing and reproducing at alarming rates and cause the development and spread of the disease throughout the body. To stave off the growth and spread of cancer cells, chemotherapy drugs are introduced into the cells, which can also harm the healthy cells nearby. Sacramento Home Care Assistance explains how the use of algae might increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy drugs on cancer without harming healthy cells.

Chemotherapy drugs are designed to interfere with this abnormal lifespan in addition to cancer cells’ ability to reproduce. Unfortunately, the medications also affect the processes of healthy cells, which cause the many unpleasant side effects that people with cancer endure. However, new research in the ongoing battle against cancer involves a new drug delivery system that spares healthy cells while specifically targeting malignancies.

Scientists in Australia, Germany and the United States learned that they could successfully load simple algae cells with chemotherapy medications, attach an antibody that would recognize specific malignant cells, and provide effective treatment without affecting surrounding cells.

The research teams used the shelled diatom known as Thalassiosira pseudonana, a type of algae that grows easily, quickly, and inexpensively using light-exposed water. They modified the skeletal shell in order to attach an array of antibodies that would target either B-cell lymphomas or neuroblastomas. The interior of the diatoms housed the appropriate chemotherapy drug. Once injected, the diatoms traveled to the cancer site, were absorbed by the malignancies and dissolved naturally, which released the medication at the desired location.

In trials the treatment method effectively annihilated up to 90 percent of the cancerous cells grown in petri dishes and in laboratory animals, which caused considerable tumor shrinkage. When the diatoms were injected into living, healthy subjects, the animals did not exhibit any signs of side effects. In addition to being a cost-effective delivery system, cancer patients could recover more quickly from the disease as normal body systems would remain unaffected.

While research continues in the fight against cancer, seniors with the disease are not without hope. Home Care Assistance is a leading provider of live-in and hourly home care Sacramento families can trust. Whether your loved one needs transportation to and from chemotherapy treatments, diligent medication reminders, or assistance around the house, you can rest assured your senior family member is in good hands with our highly trained caregivers. For more information regarding our care programs, call a knowledgeable Care Manager today at 916.706.0169 and schedule a no-obligation consultation.